News and Press Releases

Las Vegas Gang Member Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

July 21, 2008

Las Vegas, Nev. – A Las Vegas man was sentenced to life imprisonment today following his jury convictions for murder, attempted murder, assault and firearms offenses, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Donnie Bryant, also known as, "Little Donnie," 19, a member of the Las Vegas street gang, "Squad Up," was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro. Bryant was convicted in February 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.

In June, Bryant's co-defendant, Jonathon Toliver, aka "K-Boose," 23, another member of "Squad Up," was also sentenced to life imprisonment. Toliver was convicted by a separate jury in March of Violence in Aid of Racketeering Enterprise - Murder; Use of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence; Conspiracy to Murder; Attempted Murder; and Assault With a Dangerous Weapon.

"Although Byrant was a juvenile when he and his co-conspirators committed the murder in question, he was tried as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "His conviction and life sentence should serve as a warning to all young people that membership in a violent street gang is a ticket to federal prison."

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. Evidence at trial showed that the group was formed in early 2003 and its founders, including Bryant, recruited heavily at Cheyenne High School. 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.

The case was 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.

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