A major focus in curbing gang violence should be the
prosecuting the gangs for the RICO-related charges of Violent Acts
in Aid of
Racketeering Activity under 18 U.S.C.A. § 1959. Originally
U.S.C.A. § 1952B, it was redesignated as 18 U.S.C.A. § 1959
This statute can be a key law in prosecuting gang activity. The
portion of 18 U.S.C.A. § 1959 provides:|
Whoever . . . for the purpose of gaining entrance to or
increasing position in an enterprise engaged in racketeering
kidnaps, maims, assaults with a dangerous weapon, commits assault
serious bodily injury upon, or threatens to commit a crime of
any individual in violation of the laws of any State or the United
attempts or conspires so to do, shall be punished . . . 18 U.S.C.A.
(West Supp. 1995).
"Enterprise" is defined under 18 U.S.C.A. § 1959(b)(2)
1995), to include ". . . any . . . group of individuals associated
although not a legal entity, which is engaged in, or the activities
interstate or foreign commerce."
"Racketeering activity" is described in 18 U.S.C.A. §
having the same meaning as Section 1961 under the RICO chapter
found at 18
U.S.C.A. § 1961. Under that section, "racketeering activity"
kidnapping, robbery, and dealing in narcotic drugs, which are
state law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
Proving these elements can be difficult but not impossible.
can be proven with evidence that the gang's activities concentrated
cocaine, an item grown in South America and which must be moved in
foreign commerce to be present in the United States. It can be
argued that the
gang's receipt and use of firearms which were manufactured in other
commit their crimes, also adds to proof of the interstate or
nexus which must be shown when proving an enterprise. Evidence
shows that the
participation by the gang members in crimes are required by of them
become members, or continue or increase their membership in the
gang. This is
another element required to be proven under Section 1959.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Prosecutions under RICO and RICO related
statutes must be
approved by the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. United States Attorneys' Manual, Title
9-110.101. The Department of Justice lawyers should prove
helpful in their advice and guidance in preparing for prosecution