WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A federal grand jury in Nashville, Tenn., has indicted 26 members and associates of the violent gang known as the Bloods, for various charges, including conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence, and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, cocaine, hydromorphone and marijuana. The indictment was announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Jerry E. Martin and Deputy Director Kenneth Melson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The indictment was returned under seal last week and unsealed Wednesday upon the arrests of the defendants.
"The Department of Justice is committed to protecting our nation's communities from the violent and dangerous crimes alleged in this indictment," said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. "We will continue to use all resources and tools at our disposal to disrupt and dismantle gangs wherever they exist and we will be aggressive in bringing to justice the members of these violent organizations."
"We believe the individuals named in the indictment have been responsible for multiple attempted murder conspiracies and numerous violent crimes in the Nashville area," stated U.S. Attorney Martin. "We have also alleged that many of these individuals were involved in substantial narcotics distribution. These arrests are merely the next logical step in the on-going investigation. I am confident that as we continue to unpackage and piece together the illegal activity of these individuals, our community will be a safer place as we prepare to present our cases against these individuals and insure they are removed from our community for a long period of time."
"The message today is clear for violent criminals: you have nowhere to hide," said ATF Deputy Director Kenneth Melson. "The gang members arrested during this operation have allegedly victimized families in the Nashville area for too long. This round up will give grandparents, parents and their children piece of mind and a safer place to call home, as we send a message to criminals that ATF will not tolerate acts of violence in our communities."
"This indictment is the result of the hard work of our law enforcement community, particularly members of our Gang Unit who discovered that several seized firearms were involved in a number of shootings that were ultimately linked to the Bloods gang," Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said. "The indictment accuses these individuals of very violent crimes that are most deserving of the full attention of our police department, the ATF, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the District Attorney's office."
Multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agents, executed arrest and search warrants yesterday morning in connection with the indictment. Twenty-one defendants have been arrested and 15 made their initial appearance yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Clifton Knowles.
According to the indictment, the defendants were members and associates of the Bloods, a violent street gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1970s, and ultimately migrated to cities throughout the United States, including Nashville. The Bloods gang has a hierarchal structure and a long-term and often lethal rivalry with the Crips gang.
The indictment charges that from in and around 2006 until June 2010, Bloods gang members conspired to commit crimes including attempted murders and murders, robberies, narcotics trafficking, bribery and extortion. The indictment alleges that the Bloods gang members met regularly to plan and agree upon the commission of crimes; maintained and circulated a collection of firearms for use in criminal activity by Bloods members; distributed controlled substances including cocaine, cocaine base, marijuana and hydromorphone and used the proceeds to of those drug transactions to help finance the gang's illegal activities. The indictment also alleges that Bloods gang members committed acts of attempted murder and murder and other acts of violence against rival gang members and others.
For example, the indictment alleges that on March 30, 2010, Bloods gang members attempted to murder Kenny Ellis, a rival gang member. Specifically, Lonnie Newsome, who was in a vehicle with other Bloods gang members, allegedly told Alonzo McLaurine, who was in a vehicle with Aaron Gooch to shoot Ellis. Shortly thereafter, Bloods gang member Aaron Gooch exited the vehicle and shot Kenny Ellis with a firearm.
Gang members also allegedly committed numerous other shootings. The indictment also alleges that Lonnie Newsome, Jermaine Coward, Alexander McDonald, Torey Cohen Boseman, Jeffrey Albea and Anthony Brooks conspired to murder any and all suspected Crips gang members in and around Nashville.
The indictment also alleges that, Lonnie Newsome's father, Lonnie Greenlee, co-founder of the Galaxy Star Drug Awareness and Gang Prevention Center located in Nashville, allowed Bloods gang members to use the facility to conduct gang meetings. In addition, Lonnie Greenlee and a Galaxy Star employee Rodney Britton provided numerous Bloods gang members with fraudulent documentation of court-ordered community service hours in exchange for money.
The indictment charges the following defendants with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the Bloods:
- Lonnie Newsome, aka "Big Lonnie," age 24;
- Ricky Williams, aka "Big Rick," age 24;
- William Bartlett, aka "FaceMob," age 27;
- Tim Allen, aka "Lil Tim," age 20;
- Anthony Brooks, aka "A.B.," age 23;
- Anthony Lampkins, aka "Doo Daddy," age 21;
- Antonio Washington, aka "T.O.," age 21;
- Kerry Pettus, aka "Lil Kerry," age 21;
- Joedon Bradley, aka "Jo Jo," age 22;
- Deshaune Jones, aka "Mexico," age 21;
- Donald Dowell, aka "D-Dow," age 23;
- Alonzo McLaurine, aka "Zo," age 20;
- Aaron Gooch, aka "A-Ron," age 21;
- Jermaine Tate, aka "Maine Maine," age 21;
- Shayne Gibson, aka "Alief," age 18;
- Alexander McDonald, aka "Dominique," age 20;
- Jermaine Coward, aka "Maine Maine," age 19;
- Jeffrey Albea, aka "Lil Jeff," age 18;
- Torey Cohen Boseman, aka "Torey," age 24;
- Karlos Taylor, aka "Los," age 19;
- Anthony Campbell, aka "Dante," age 20;
- James House, aka "Bam," age 37;
- Rodney Britton, age 22; and
- Lonnie Greenlee, age 51.
Additionally, the indictment charges Brandon Prince, age 21, and Shawn Howell, age 23, with misprision of a felony, for their failure to notify law enforcement officials of the March 30, 2010, attempted murder of a rival gang member.
The case was investigated by the ATF; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; the Gallatin Police Department; and assisted by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Davidson County District Attorney's Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly D. Young and Trial Attorney Cody L. Skipper of the Criminal Division's Gang Unit.
An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants have the right to a trial at which the government would have to bear the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice