Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Bloods Gang Members Sentenced To Life In Prison For Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Murder And Other Crimes

 CHARLOTTE, N.C. Five members of the United Blood Nation (UBN or Bloods) street gang were sentenced in Charlotte, North Carolina, after standing trial on federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy and other charges.  These defendants’ sentences are the culmination of a prosecution that charged 83 UBN gang members in the Western District of North Carolina with RICO conspiracy and other crimes. 

U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced three defendants to terms of life imprisonment.  A jury previously convicted those defendants, Dricko Dashon Huskey, aka Drizzy, 28, of Shelby, North Carolina, Renaire Roshique Lewis Jr., aka Banz, 26, of Shelby, North Carolina, and Jonathan Wray, aka Jon Jon/Yungin, 29, of Lawndale, North Carolina, of racketeering conspiracy, finding that each defendant personally committed murder.  The jury also convicted Lewis of murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, attempted Hobbs Act robbery, and two counts of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, one of which resulted in death. 

Judge Whitney also sentenced Alandus Montrell Smith, aka Kadafia, 30, of Shelby, North Carolina, and Bradley Beauchamp, aka Bizzie, 32, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Smith was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release based on his jury convictions for RICO conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Beauchamp was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison followed by two years of supervised release based on his convictions during a bench trial for RICO conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.

“Members of the United Bloods Nation gang left a trail of destruction across North Carolina, committing multiple murders, robberies, and other crimes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “The significant sentences imposed today demonstrate the Department’s commitment to thwarting gang violence and reinforce the severe consequences awaiting those who jeopardize the safety of our communities.”

“The Bloods are a violent gang that poses a serious threat to the safety and stability of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina.  “This case is an outstanding example of what federal, state, and local law enforcement can accomplish when we strike back at gangs and dismantle gang networks that spread violence in our cities and fear in our neighborhoods.”

“Murders, assaults, robberies, these ruthless gang members committed crime after crime with no regard for anyone not part of the UBN,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Wells of the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office.  “These hefty federal prison sentences are the final step to secure justice for every innocent person impacted by their violent actions.”

According to evidence presented at the October 2019 trial, Lewis and four other UBN members drove from Cleveland County, North Carolina, to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in order to rob an 18‑year‑old victim of marijuana and money.  Lewis and another UBN member then shot and killed the victim and attempted to murder the victim’s friend, who survived a gunshot wound to his arm.   The evidence presented at trial also established that Wray shot and killed a member of the Crips, a rival gang, at a party with other Bloods in Shelby, North Carolina.  Evidence at trial further proved that Huskey murdered an unarmed man during an argument by shooting the victim multiple times and continuing to shoot while the victim was on the ground.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the UBN is a violent criminal street gang operating throughout the east coast of the United States since it was founded as a prison gang in 1993.  UBN members are often identified by their use of the color red and by common tattoos or burn marks.  The UBN has a militaristic structure, with positions of Godfather, High, Low, Five-Star to One‑Star Generals, and soldiers.  UBN members use distinct hand signs and written codes, which are used to identify other members and rival gang members, as well as to try to thwart law enforcement efforts against them.

Members of the UBN are expected to conduct themselves and their illegal activity according to rules and regulations set by their leaders.  Prominent among these is a requirement to pay monthly dues to the organization, often in the amounts of $31 or $93.  UBN gang dues are derived from illegal activity performed by subordinate UBN members including narcotics trafficking, robberies, and wire fraud, among other forms of illegal racketeering activity.

In May 2017, 83 UBN gang members were indicted in the Western District of North Carolina for RICO conspiracy and other crimes.  In all, 82 defendants have now been sentenced as a result of this investigation, with one defendant awaiting resentencing and one fugitive believed to be living overseas remaining.  In May 2018, a jury convicted three top leaders of the UBN of racketeering conspiracy.  In July 2019, Beauchamp was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy at a bench trial.  And in October 2019, a jury convicted Huskey, Lewis, Wray, and Smith of racketeering conspiracy and other charges as described above.  All other defendants pleaded guilty to their crimes before trial.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office; the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; the Shelby Police Department; the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office; the Gastonia Police Department; the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office; the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice; North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles; Scotland Neck Police Department; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office; the U.S. Federal Probation; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the IRS Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; and the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Office of Special Investigations.  Trial Attorney Beth Lipman of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Warren and Christopher Hess for the Western District of North Carolina are prosecuting the case.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program.  OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

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