DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 15, 2019
Erica H. MacDonald
, United States Attorney
Contact: Tasha Zerna

Federal Jury Convicts North Minneapolis Gang Member for His Role in Violent Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the conviction of HAKEEM MALIK DONTAE FLAX, a/k/a “Keem,” 32, for crimes related to violent gang activity, including conspiracy, distribution of heroin, and firearms violations. FLAX was found guilty following a four-day trial before Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in U.S. District Court in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Prior to trial, FLAX pleaded guilty to one count of felon in possession of ammunition. Co-defendants DOMONICK DESHAY WRIGHT, BRIAN FUNTANOUS MACK, and JAMES LAVELL BROWN each pleaded guilty to count of conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
“These individuals were engaged in gang warfare that resulted in shootings deaths of gang members on both sides of the conflict,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez. “Their actions posed a clear and present danger to Minneapolis communities through dangerous drug trafficking and public shootings. This conviction is a victory for North Minneapolis.”
“Hakeem Flax and his associates caused a significant amount of violence in furtherance of their drug distribution activities,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kirk Howard. “Getting this group off the streets is a huge win for North Minneapolis, which has been plagued by violence. There is more work to be done there, but this verdict is a step in the right direction toward making that community safer for residents.”
As proven at trial, FLAX and his co-defendants maintained active membership in the 1-9 Block Dipset Gang with the purpose of making money for the gang through criminal acts, including distribution of heroin. As part of the gang’s heroin distribution scheme, FLAX and other members of the gang possessed, used and carried firearms in order to protect themselves from rival gang members and maintain their drug distribution territory.
As proven at trial, members of the 1-9 Block Dipset Gang were involved in a violent gang war with rival North Minneapolis gangs, including the Tre Tre Crips and the Young-N-Thuggin gangs, which resulted in the shooting deaths of gang members on both sides of the conflict. Disputes over gang territories and retaliation for prior acts of violence also contributed to the gun violence. As an example, on August 5, 2017, FLAX shot and killed a member of the rival Tre Tre Crips gang in a parking lot outside of a North Minneapolis restaurant.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Minneapolis Police Department. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, an initiative that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez.
Defendant Information:
Vadnais Heights, Minn.
Conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 1 count
Conspiracy to distribute heroin, 1 count
Discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 1 count
Felon in possession of ammunition, 1 count
St. Paul Field Division