U.S. Attorney, FBI talk about gang indictments
A massive federal crackdown on gang operations in four states led to the arrest Thursday morning of dozens of alleged members of United Blood Nation, an organized crime group with ties across Charlotte and along the East Coast, a new indictment says.
In all, 83 people were named in the federal indictments, including nearly 30 who were already incarcerated for other crimes. Ten of the suspects remained at large Thursday, including nine members of the Trey Gangsters, an arm of the United Blood Nation.
Six hundred officers participated in the sweep, officials said.
Charges outlined in a sweeping 162-page indictment connected a web of seemingly unrelated crimes in the Charlotte region that go back at least to 2015, including multiple murders, racketeering, firearms trafficking, robbery and bank fraud. Gang members are tied to at least seven killings and multiple shootings.
The reach of the gang extended from small North Carolina towns like Concord and Shelby into prisons of multiple states. In one 2016 example, UBN members smuggled cell phones, narcotics, marijuana and razor blades into the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, federal authorities say.
The indictment also details gang efforts to traffic heroin, cocaine, narcotics and firearms.
The FBI, joined by state and local law enforcement agents, began rounding up the suspected gang members early Thursday, and vans filled with the prisoners began arriving at the federal courthouse in Charlotte before 10 a.m.
Seventy-three of those named in the indictments were in North Carolina, with smaller groups rounded up in South Carolina, New York and Florida.
FBI officials said 25 were arrested in Charlotte, 14 in Cleveland County, four in Anson County, one in Gaston County and five were found in eastern North Carolina. In South Carolina, two were arrested in Myrtle Beach and one in Columbia.
Two dozen of the 83 people were already incarcerated in North Carolina and three are incarcerated in New York.
United Blood Nation, an East Coast offshoot of the better-known Bloods gangs of California, is well known around Charlotte and a frequent target of law enforcement.
It also cites a series of crimes committed in Florida, including Pensacola, Pace and Gulf Breeze.
The Shelby Star reported Thursday that 26 of the people captured in the roundup were from Cleveland County, and that a large police presence was focused on the Patterson Springs community, south of Shelby.
A 2015 indictment named 12 Charlotte members in connection with three murders, including the October 2014 killings of Doug and Debbie London, who were shot down in their home to keep them from testifying against the UBN members who tried to rob their mattress store.
Now a new list of defendants, with gang names ranging from “Hardbody,” “Lady Rude,” “Kutthroat” and “Lady Gunz” have been accused of a total of 20 crimes in Charlotte, Gastonia, Concord and Shelby, six North Carolina counties in all.
The indictment also alleges illegal activity as far away as the Florida panhandle and the New York prison system. Other crimes are noted without mention of locations. In other sections of the indictment, purported gang members are accused of passing bad checks or using phony credit cards involvings tens of thousands of dollars in transactions.
But there is also page after page of violence:
▪ The indictment accuses Shamon “Rugie” Goins of murder in the May 16, 2010 murder of Devon Clement.
▪ Four other men named in the indictment are linked to the Nov. 27, 2015 killing of Chris Odoms in Cleveland County.
▪ Two other defendants are accused of the Jan. 26, 2016 murder of Jimmy Ray Daniels in Halifax County, and the wounding of two others.
▪ Gang members are also charged with the Feb. 19, 2016 of Cheeontah Howard at a Gastonia motel.
▪ The indictment links five gang members to the July, 2016 killing of Malik Brown in Chapel Hill.
▪ Another gang member is accused of the April 2016 killing of Donnell Murray in Shelby.
Among the details included in federal documents is the fact that the gang, founded in the early 70s, has a military-like set up, with each member having a rank, and an authority centralized in New York and the New York prison system.
The gang has rules of conduct, codes and colors of communication, and membership requirements that include something called a “beat in,” during which perspective members are beaten by the gang for 31 seconds.
The Bloods also have a long-term and often lethal rivalry with another dangerous gang, the Crips.