News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Native Mob Member Pleads Guilty to Murder
Twenty-one of twenty-five indicted gang members have now pleaded to RICO-related charges

December 21, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS— Earlier today in federal court, a member of the criminal gang known as the Native Mob pleaded guilty to shooting and killing fellow gang member Jeremee Kraskey. Shaun Michael Martinez, also known as Tinez, pleaded guilty to one count of murder resulting from the use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. On July 19, 2012, Martinez was charged in a superseding indictment.

In his plea agreement, Martinez admitted that on February 26, 2011, he killed Kraskey to prevent him from offering law enforcement information about the Native Mob’s criminal activities, which were the subject of a joint federal/state investigation. Martinez specifically admitted that on February 26, 2011, he drove Kraskey to a residence in the 3500 block of 14th Avenue South in Minneapolis, where he shot Kraskey three times. Martinez further admitted his use of a firearm occurred during and in relation to a conspiracy to violate federal racketeering laws.

Following today’s plea, United States Attorney B. Todd Jones said, “Members of the Native Mob, like those involved in any street gang, are dangerous to the public at large but also to their own community. They prey on the vulnerable, often coercing or enticing young people to join their criminal organizations. By doing so, they victimize these youngsters by robbing them of the opportunity to forge a productive future for themselves. As a result, a cycle of crime and violence is allowed to continue. We must break that cycle. It is up to all of us to do our part as a community to put an end to it.”

The Native Mob is a regional criminal gang that originated in Minneapolis in the early 1990s. Members routinely engage in drug trafficking, assault, robbery, and murder. Membership is estimated at 200, with new members, including juveniles, regularly recruited from communities with large, young, male, Native American populations. Association with the gang is often signified by wearing red and black clothing or sporting gang-related tattoos.

The charges against Martinez are part of a recently indicted federal case against 25 defendants, all of whom are alleged members of the Native Mob. The government contends that since at least the mid-1990s, the defendants and others have conspired to conduct criminal activity through an “enterprise,” namely, the Native Mob, to preserve, protect, promote, and enhance the gang’s power, territory, and financial gains, in violation of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).

To that end, gang members purportedly distribute illegal drugs, from crack cocaine to ecstasy. They also reportedly provide monetary support to members, including those incarcerated; share with one another police reports, victim statements, and other case discovery; hinder or obstruct officials from identifying or apprehending those wanted by the law; and intimidate witnesses to Native Mob crimes. Moreover, they allegedly maintain and circulate firearms for gang use and commit acts of violence, including murder, against individuals associated with rival gangs.

To date, 20 of the defendants named in the case have pleaded guilty to related charges. On January 22, 2013, a jury trial is scheduled to begin for the four remaining co-defendants. Defendants who have pleaded guilty or are found guilty after trial face a potential maximum sentence of between 20 years and life in federal prison. Since the federal justice system does not utilize parole, prison terms imposed will be served virtually in their entirety behind bars.

For the crime of murder, to which Martinez today pleaded guilty, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors and the defendant have agreed to recommend jointly a prison term of 43 years. United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim will formally accept or reject this agreement at the time of sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled.

This case is the result of a long-term, cross-jurisdictional investigation conducted by numerous local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement officers dedicated to making Minnesota’s streets and communities safer. As to the investigation, U.S. Attorney Jones said, “While we cannot prosecute our way out of crime, we in law enforcement are charged with dismantling criminal organizations and removing offenders from our communities. And we take that charge very seriously. A case of this magnitude is impossible to investigate or prosecute, however, without the cooperation and commitment of many law enforcement agencies. We in Minnesota are fortunate in that law enforcement agencies across all jurisdictions here are willing to work together to ensure the safety of our citizens.”

The investigation into the current federal case against members of the Native Mob include representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; the FBI-funded Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force; the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force; the Minnesota Department of Corrections; the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension; the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office; the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department; the Bemidji Police Department; and the Minneapolis Police Department. These investigators were assisted by those from—in alphabetical order—the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, the Carlton County Attorney’s Office, the Cass County Attorney’s Office, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office of Wisconsin, the Duluth Police Department, the Fon du Lac Tribal Police Department, the Fridley Police Department, the Itasca County Sheriff’s Department, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, the LCO Reservation Police Department, the Lower Sioux Tribal Police Department, the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Mille Lacs County Attorney’s Office, the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, the New Brighton Police Department, the North Central Drug Task Force, the Prior Lake Police Department, the Red Lake Tribal Police Department, the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office, Richfield Police Department, the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Paul Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Minneapolis Violent Offender Task Force, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the White Earth Tribal Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew R. Winter and Steven L. Schleicher.

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