Las Vegas Street Gang Member Convicted of Federal Racketeering, Murder, and Firearm Offenses
Las Vegas, Nev. – A Las Vegas man was convicted by a federal jury this afternoon of murder, attempted murder, assault and firearms offenses as part of his membership in a Las Vegas criminal street gang, known as "Squad Up," announced Gregory A. Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Donnie Bryant, aka "Little Donnie," 19, was convicted of Violence in Aid of Racketeering Enterprise - Murder; two counts of Use of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence; Conspiracy to Murder; four counts of Attempted Murder; and four counts of Assault With a Dangerous Weapon, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 19, 2008, by U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro. Bryant faces a term of life imprisonment on the Racketeering Murder charge, and 235 years in prison on the other charges.
"The indictment alleged that this criminal enterprise known as "Squad Up" engaged in widespread criminal activity, including violent crime, drug trafficking, witness intimidation and retaliation," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "These crimes ultimately affect everyone in our community. A conviction that carries a life sentence should send a strong message to others involved in gang-related criminal activity that our community will not tolerate their conduct, and this office will vigorously prosecute such activity."
According to the indictment, Squad Up is a coalition of various traditional gangs that came together to enlarge their territory within the Las Vegas Valley. It was proven to the jury that Squad Up was a criminal organization and enterprise, and that its purpose included the enrichment of its members through drug trafficking, primarily crack cocaine and marijuana; preserving and protecting the power, territory and profits of the enterprise through violence and intimidation; and protecting members of the enterprise from detection and prosecution. Members committed murder, assault, robbery, burglary and home invasion robbery to obtain guns and cash to expand and finance the enterprise's operations.
On September 13, 2004, Bryant and other members of Squad Up organized an ambush-style attack on a group of people who were visiting outside of their homes during the evening hours. The attack occurred at the Buena Vista Apartments, an apartment complex in North Las Vegas between Carey Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Witnesses testified that they saw Bryant and other Squad Up members passing out guns about a week before the attack, after they had argued with an individual from New Orleans. Witnesses also testified that Squad Up members had been trafficking drugs in the apartment complex and they acted as a result of a drug turf dispute with the victim decedent, Gilbert Henry and another individual. The evidence revealed that Bryant fired into the group of people first, causing them to flee into the gunfire of the other attackers. Henry sustained a fatal shot to his side. A woman babysitting in a nearby apartment shielded three small children, including an infant, while gunshots flew into the apartment. She was hit by a bullet in her hand, resulting in permanent injury.
A co-defendant, Jonathon Toliver, aka "K-Boose," is scheduled for trial beginning March 17, 2008. The public is reminded that a defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, North Las Vegas Police Department, and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen Bliss and Nancy J. Koppe.