Coast Guard Helps Indict 14 Gang Members in RICO Conspiracy

Miami – Fourteen members of a South Florida-based Bloods set with ties to the national Bloods criminal organization have been charged federally in connection with their illegal gang activities, announced R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Division, Jonathan Sall, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Al Lamberti, Broward County Sheriff, and Melvin D. Standley, Chief of the Miramar Police Department.In the one-count indictment unsealed today, defendants Earnest Copeland, a/k/a Gully, a/k/a Wuz, a/k/a Buzz, a/k/a Hakim; Raymond Edward Desinor, a/k/a Spider; Alfred Jerome Allen, a/k/a Juggernaut, a/k/a Fred; Alden Bert Budhoo, a/k/a Alpo, a/k/a Po; Randolph Dercival Barrow, a/k/a Debo; Michael M. Petty, a/k/a Ox; Omeal Anthony Lee, a/k/a 50, a/k/a Oaks; Willie Lee Ellis, a/k/a Peanut; Jeffrey Byrd, Jr.; Sharlene Copeland, a/k/a Shelly, a/k/a Sharlene S. Grant; Amr Kahlil Ramson, a/k/a A.R.; Linus S. Bridgelal, a/k/a Trini, a/k/a/ Shawn Benjamin; Tyrone Doolam, a/k/a T; and Daquan Thomas, a/k/a S.K., were each charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d). The indictment, which was returned on January 24, 2008, was unsealed today following the arrest of several of the defendants. If convicted of the charge, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.00.

According to the indictment, from approximately January 2006 through January 2007, the defendants were employed by and associated with a local set of the Bloods street gang, known as “Neighborhood Piru” and “NHP.” This South Florida-based Bloods set has ties to the National Bloods criminal organization, a violent criminal enterprise. The defendants are charged with conspiring to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity that included attempted murder, robbery, extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking, witness tampering, retaliation against witnesses, and interference with commerce by means of threats and violence.

Specifically, defendant Earnest Copeland is alleged to be an “OG,” an “Original Gangsta,” i.e., a boss, in the local Bloods criminal organization. In this capacity, defendant Copeland supervised and directed the activities of the local Bloods set, including those of his co-defendants and other unindicted co-conspirators. Accordingly, Copeland identified potential victims and planned the criminal acts that were perpetrated by the gang members. Copeland also mediated disputes that arose with other gang members and received tribute payments generated from the criminal activities of the gang.

Defendants Raymond Edward Desinor and Daquan Thomas were gang leaders in the Bloods organization, who planned and participated in wide-ranging criminal conduct with gang members, and reported to defendant Copeland. The remaining defendants were members and associates of the gang, and conducted the gang’s business through violence, intimidation, and threats of force.

Among the criminal activities alleged to have been perpetrated by the Bloods through the defendants are attempted murder, kidnapping, extortion, armed home invasions, armed robberies of businesses and individuals, auto theft, drug trafficking, illegal possession and use of firearms, witness tampering, and retaliation against witnesses.

U.S. Attorney Acosta stated, “Almost every day in South Florida, we witness the deadly consequences of gang and gang-related violence. Gang violence is not self-contained. It is not limited to one gang member killing another or killing a rival. Gang violence spills onto our neighborhoods, killing innocent victims, destroying entire families, and poisoning the future and the welfare of our children. Together with our federal and local partners, we are committed to stopping this deadly cycle of violence, and to making our communities safer.”

Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti added, “When good, honest, hardworking people can’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods, it’s our job to do something about it. These defendants were responsible for a reign of terror across Broward County and their arrests send a strong message that this level of violence will not be tolerated.”

Chief Melvin Standley, of the Miramar Police Department, stated, “Miramar will continue to aggressively pursue this fight through active street enforcement, investigative partnerships with law enforcement agencies, community education, and gang resistance training in our schools.”

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and the Miramar Police Department. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence D. LaVecchio and Paul F. Schwartz of the Organized Crime Section.

-US Department of Justice- 

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