Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bloods Street Gang Members and Associates Arrested Following the Return of a 134-Count Federal RICO Indictment

COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles and Special Agent in Charge David A. Thomas of the Federal Bureau of Investigation stated a number of individuals were arrested yesterday after the return of a 134-count indictment charging members and associates of the United Blood Nation (UBN, also called the Bloods Street Gang) with various violations of federal law, including racketeering conspiracy (RICO-18 U.S.C. §1962) and with numerous other crimes. The sealed indictment also charges various defendants with: (1) violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR-18 U.S.C §1959); (2) narcotics violations (21 U.S.C. §§ 841, 843, 846 and 860); (3) robberies affecting interstate commerce in violation of the Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. §1951); (4) federal firearms violations (18 U.S.C. §§ 922 and 924; (5) interstate prostitution and sex trafficking (18 U.S.C. §§ 1951, 1591, 2421 and 2422); (6) using interstate facilities to file false income tax returns (wire fraud; 18 U.S.C. §1343 and 1349); and (7) making false statements to federal agencies (18 U.S.C. §1001).

The sealed indictment was returned on June 18, 2012, and was unsealed this morning following the arrests of approximately 23 defendants in the Columbia area and the arrest of lead defendant David Andrea Jenkins in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Defendants were already in state custody based on charges related to count one. Nine defendants are currently fugitives. Jenkins is a native of Columbia, South Carolina, who now lives in Huntington Beach, California. All of the other defendants are residents and/or natives of the Columbia area. The 35 defendants charged in count one of the indictment (the racketeering count) are:

David Andrea Jenkins, a/k/a Arma G, a/k/a Dread; Titus Will Bowman, a/k/a TI; Torrean Antwon Sims, a/k/a Slim, a/k/a Arsonist; Andre Jamel Cummings, a/k/a Dre; Craig Xaiver Alston, a/k/a CK; Darrell Antonio Alston, a/k/a Hell Rell; Nicholas Jason Wright, a/k/a Tater Head; Stewart Jamaul Stroman, a/k/a Stew; Brandon DeShawn Hawkins, Sr., a/k/a Shotgun, a/k/a Gun; Steven Benjamin Bradley, a/k/a Red Boy; Nathaniel Jamal Farmer, a/k/a Gucci; Davante Henry Christopher Lane, a/k/a Lil D; Tashanda Nicole Parker, a/k/a Big Mama, a/k/a Big Mama Blood; Jarius Octavis Jones, a/k/a Buck; Bernard Kentrell Breeland, Jr., a/k/a Bneezy; Calvin James Hall, a/k/a Kebo; Kenneth Ray Cottoy, a/k/a Fish, a/k/a Koppo, a/k/a Kapone; Edmond Levy, Jr., a/k/a Southside; Alex Russell Anderson, a/k/a Black; Antwain Emanuel Brisbon, a/k/a Tweeze, a/k/a Twan G; Shantane Simmons, a/k/a Shantane L. Craft; Odell Martin, Jr., a/k/a Teazy; Karish Mali Brown, a/k/a KB; James E. London, a/k/a Prince, a/k/a Rockaroni; Michael Antonio Taylor, a/k/a Puncho; Shonta Marie Harrison, a/k/a Ta; Tameka Danielle Smith, a/k/a Meka; Christen Michelle Spencer; Joshua Alexander Kitt, a/k/a Metro; Tyrone Lewis, a/k/a Ty Ty; Michael Oshay Long, a/k/a Killer; Frank Henderson, III; Hassaan R. Brown, a/k/a Hossy; Degregory Reaves, a/k/a Junior; and Dameon Antonio Burgess.

A number of the defendants named above are also charged in substantive counts. Two other defendants, Daion Bowers and Rhonda Baker, are charged only in wire fraud counts. The final defendant, Tevin Ramsey, is charged in count two only, a VICAR count also naming Darrell Alston. Count one, the racketeering conspiracy count, alleges that the racketeering activity included drug dealing, murder, kidnapping, robbery, interstate prostitution, and the filing of false tax returns through the Internet.

The arrest warrants were served along with the execution of six search warrants in South Carolina and California. During these searches, law enforcement agents seized drugs and U.S. currency and also seized approximately six firearms, including one assault rifle and at least one bulletproof vest. These arrests follow a two-year interagency Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation targeting the Bloods Street Gang and their drug suppliers. In 2011, approximately 30 defendants in the drug supply chain were charged in federal court after they were intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps. Most of the defendants charged in this initial phase have entered guilty pleas and are cooperating; one defendant (Daryl Washington) was convicted by a jury on June 26, 2012, of various federal drug and firearms offenses. Washington faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years without parole, and he will be sentenced by United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. in approximately 90 days. The investigation (which is continuing) involved a number of different investigative techniques, including, but not limited to, court-authorized wiretaps, undercover operations, surveillance, witness debriefings, and a review of financial records. The primary agencies participating in the investigation and today’s operation were the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI); State Law Enforcement Division (SLED); Columbia Police Department (CPD); and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD); assisted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Lexington County Sheriff’s Department (LCSD); and the United States Marshals’ Service (USMS).

Gang investigations are a national priority for the FBI and the UBN operates throughout the United States, so agents involved in this investigation have worked closely with their counterparts in other federal districts. Agents and prosecutors from South Carolina have hosted meetings with agents and prosecutors from other districts to share information and to discuss targeting strategies. This investigation involved close coordination with a Charlotte, North Carolina investigation targeting the UBN, and approximately 28 Bloods members and affiliates were charged with racketeering conspiracy and other offenses in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina in May 2012. Two of the defendants charged in the Charlotte case, New York natives Daryl Wilkinson, a/k/a “OG Powerful,” and Samantha Williams, a/k/a “Lady Sam,” are named as unindicted co-conspirators in count one of the South Carolina indictment.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles commended the inter-agency cooperation by saying, “Today’s arrests and seizures are an important step in our ongoing fight against criminal gangs like the Bloods who operate in South and North Carolina. The indictment in this case alleges that the Bloods Street Gang is involved in a number of serious crimes which pose real problems for people who live in communities plagued by gang violence. The OCDETF program brings different agencies and expertises together to combat complex criminal enterprises, and this investigation is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished through a close partnership among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in South Carolina and beyond. I would like to thank United States Attorney Anne Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina and all of the agents, officers, and prosecutors involved in the Charlotte prosecution for their outstanding work and their cooperation with this prosecution.”

Special Agent in Charge David Thomas stated, “People should not have to live in fear of gang members and the violence they perpetrate. The FBI and its task force partners will be relentless in dismantling criminal enterprises throughout South Carolina.”

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott stated, “This is an example of the continued effort between the Sheriff’s Department and our federal and state partners. We have focused on violent gangs in our communities through education, awareness, and aggressive enforcement of the law—creating partnerships that are improving our quality of life. While we have made a lot of progress, we will continue the fight to make our neighborhoods safer for our children.”

The Columbia Police Department also assisted in the investigation and arrests. Chief Randy Scott stated, “The Columbia Police Department continues to foster its relationship with the FBI’s Violent Gang Task Force. Such a partnership improves the quality of life for Columbia citizens. We don’t want residents to be fearful. We need them to be proactive and report criminal activity. In this recent operation, officers identified the source of gang and narcotics violence in order to get suspected criminals and weapons off of the streets. The cycle of violence must end.”

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys JD Rowell, William Witherspoon, and Mark C. Moore.

The United States Attorney stated that all charges in this indictment are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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