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114 people charged in multiagency effort to cut violent street, motorcycle gangs in Detroit

Local, state and federal agencies cooperated to charge 114 people of crimes connected with violent street and motorcycle gangs in Detroit the past year, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced Friday.

Largely “worst of the worst offenders,” many of the people targeted through the investigations had violent histories, and citizens’ tips initiated many of the cases, McQuade said at a news conference at her office.

Among people charged in the cases were members of the Bounty Hunter Bloods, the Almighty Vice Lord Nation and the Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club.

Officials announced the Detroit One coalition at year ago, and McQuade in describing progress cited a 15 percent reduction in Detroit homicides, from 386 in 2012 to 336 in 2013. She said a similar previous effort in Washington, D.C., also coincided with a decline in homicides.

Charges were filed last month in a case against the motorcycle club; after the leader was murdered, the group was planning a revenge shooting when agents made arrests, preventing more violence, McQuade said.

“When we started a year ago, we were going after single offenders,” she said. “But the long-term goal of agencies like the FBI and ATF was to use those individual offenders to build these more serious-impact cases, and we’re seeing the fruits of their labor today.”

In a recent Detroit One case, an indictment unsealed Thursday alleges how the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang was connected to a number of murders, drive-by shootings, carjackings, armed robberies, arson and drug trafficking, according to a news release.

Social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook were used to bring evidence to the case, which involved nine men in their 20s. Their indictment describes in detail the history of the gang and connections with others on the east and west coasts of the United States.

People indicted in that case included Ramiah Jefferson, 26; Drakkar Beral Cunningham, 25; Evan Alexander Johnson, 24; Mario Pillip Garnes, 28; Alexander Deshawn George, 20; Everette Ramon George, 21; Marcus Andre Harvey, 23; Gerald Deshawn Turner, 25; and David Lamar Gay, 22.

The gang operates mainly between Joy Road to the south and 7 Mile Road to the north, between Telegraph Road and Greenfield Road, according to the news release.

Because of limited local resources, federal agencies used criminal conspiracy and racketeering among charges to commit federal resources to prosecutions, McQuade said. Seven federal agencies and two agencies are involved with the coalition as well as Detroit Police Department, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

Community organizations such as Arise Detroit also work with the agencies, helping to “overcome the ‘no-snitch’ mentality,” according to the news release. Luther Keith, Arise Detroit’s executive director, said Friday that there’s more work ahead getting people to go beyond complaining about street violence and work toward change.

“Outrage does not stop criminals,” he said. “People, plans and actions stop criminals.”

He said there was one case where a woman tried to set up a neighborhood club to watch for local crime but found that people wouldn’t join, for fear of retribution from criminals.

McQuade said Crime Stoppers has been especially helpful. The tips line at 1-800-SPEAK-UP offers anonymity and cash rewards for tips leading to solved crimes.

The coalition’s first year has brought charges against 114 people; with 63 in state court and 57 in federal court, including six people who were charged in both.

To date, there’ve been 38 state-level convictions and 12 federal-level convictions