For Immediate Release
Forty Members and Associates of Violent Street Gang Indicted
DETROIT - Forty members and associates of a violent, armed, street gang were charged today on an indictment charging violations of Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (ViCAR), and various drug and firearms offenses, announced Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin. Thirty-eight individuals are in custody.
The forty individuals are members and associates of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation (AVLN), a national gang founded in Chicago, Illinois. There are various “branches” within the AVLN, which are expected to assist one another, collaborate with one another on criminal activities, and answer to the gang’s leaders in Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan. Some of these: branches” include the Travelling Vice Lords (“TVL”), Insane Vice Lords (“IVL”), and the Mafia Insane Vice Lords (“MIVLs”), Cicero Insane Vice Lords (“CIVLs”), and Conservative Vice Lords (“CVLs”). This indictment is the result of ATF’s ongoing investigation focusing on the criminal activities of the AVLN and focuses on leaders and members of those five branches in Michigan and Chicago.
According to the indictment, AVLN and its members are alleged to be involved in a range of criminal activity including, but not limited to, narcotics trafficking involving fentanyl, cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, ecstasy/MDMA, methamphetamine, prescription pills, and marijuana. AVLN members have connections to drug suppliers and utilize an interstate network to facilitate drug trafficking, including obtaining narcotics from Chicago and trafficking drugs out of state. Members are alleged to carry, possess, and use firearms to protect their drug trafficking. It is further alleged that AVLN leaders also order members to participate in violence which includes assault with intent to murder, robbery and extortion. AVLN members are alleged to participate in retaliations against rival gangs or AVLN members who have cooperated with law enforcement, order assaults of AVLN members that are in violation of AVLN law, and direct AVLN members to commit other crimes and acts of violence on behalf of the AVLN.
The indictment further alleges that AVLN maintains a strong presence within the prison system of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) and continues committing criminal activities while in prison, including drug distribution, assaults, and other fraudulent activities. Incarcerated members are provided protection and financial support during their time in prison.
Joining in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge James Deir, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Interim Chief James White, Detroit Police Department, Director Heidi Washington, Michigan Department of Corrections, Marshal Owen Cypher, United States Marshal Service and Mike Jaafar, Undersheriff, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
“By working together, our law enforcement partners are dismantling violent street gangs that cause havoc in our neighborhoods,” Mohsin said. “As we welcome the start of summer we want to send a message to gangs and violent offenders that law enforcement is committed to taking back our streets from violent gangs so that Detroit residents can enjoy the safe quality of life that we all deserve.”
“This operation is the culmination of a three-year-long investigation involving the Almighty Vice Lord Nation (AVLN), that spans from Detroit to Chicago,” said Special Agent in Charge Deir. “ATF and our Federal, State, Local law enforcement partners are committed to making our community a safer place to live by holding street gangs and their members accountable for their senseless acts of gun violence and the poison they routinely peddle on our streets in furtherance of their criminal enterprise.”
“I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with our Federal partners to get guns and violent offenders off the streets of Detroit,” said Detroit Police Chief James White. “Violence and gun crimes are widespread and pose a significant threat to our community. I am profoundly grateful for their commitment.”
“We are proud to have been part of the operation which led to these arrests today,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said. ”I want to commend our team who provided intelligence and worked so hard behind the scenes to assist in this effort.”
The indictment charges the following individuals:
Kevin Fordham, 51, Martin Murff, 52, Tamar Watkins, 45, Terry Douglas, 41, Eddie Reid, 36, Gregory Johnson, 41, Spoonie Johnson, 46, Kurteiz Thompson, 32, Javon Wilhite, 32, Schuyler Belew Jr., 28, Davun Baskerville, 31, Gary Porter, 38, Lawon Carter, 32, Anthony Reynolds, 36, Jaylin McNeal, 24, Anthony Najera, 33, Naujeh Carter, 28, Tyrone Fisher, 35, Fabian Toodle, 39, Earnest Lee, 39, Delaino Eppenger, 29, Devan Turner-Bankhead, 35, Angelo Hopson, 38, Brandon Thomas, 34, Kenneth Johnson, 35, Winisford Watkins, 40,Anthony Simmons, 32, Anthony Zigler, 42, Shelton Carter, 30, Artise Johnson, 42, Dwayne Parler,31, Lateef Moore, 48, Charles Douglas, 41, John Johnson, 43, Zanie Taliaferro, 48, Antione Coleman, 42, Harith Hunter, 42, Ondrome Lewis, 26, Rasean Walker, 44, and Darryl Taylor, 54.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The arrests were made as part of a collaborative effort between ATF, the Detroit Police Department, and the Michigan Department of Corrections.
The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office’s Violent Crime Unit.