A federal jury convicted four North Carolina members of the United Blood Nation (UBN or Bloods) street gang of charges including Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy involving multiple murders. In May of 2017, 83 UBN gang members were indicted in the Western District of North Carolina for crimes including RICO conspiracy. This trial resulted in the convictions of the last four defendants in the active case.
Dricko Dashon Huskey, aka Drizzy, 27, of Shelby, North Carolina, Renaire Roshique Lewis Jr., aka Banz, 25, of Shelby, North Carolina, Alandus Montrell Smith, aka Kadafia, 29, of Shelby, North Carolina and Jonathan Wray, aka Jon Jon/Yungin, 28, of Lawndale, North Carolina, were convicted by a federal jury sitting in Charlotte following a nearly three-week trial. The evidence at trial showed that Huskey, Lewis and Wray each shot and killed a different victim. The jury also convicted Lewis of murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, attempted Hobbs Act robbery and using a firearm during and in relation to crimes of violence. Smith was also convicted of possessing methamphetamine and marijuana with intent to sell, possessing a firearm in furtherance of those drug trafficking crimes and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, in addition to racketeering conspiracy.
“These Bloods members terrorized communities by committing murders and robberies on behalf of the gang. Today’s convictions provide a measure of justice to residents of North Carolina,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “With 82 defendants now found guilty, the Department of Justice’s prosecution of the Bloods continues to disrupt and weaken this violent gang, and serves as a testament to the effectiveness of federal, state and local law enforcement cooperation.”
“These gang members made a living committing robberies and dealing drugs, and tried to gain respect, reputation and rank within the Bloods by shooting and murdering victims,” said U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray of the Western District of North Carolina. “With today’s guilty verdict, we have successfully put 82 violent offenders behind bars, as we continue our mission to dismantle criminal enterprises operating in Western North Carolina and protect our communities from violent street gangs.”
According to evidence presented at trial, Lewis and four other UBN members attempted to rob an 18-year-old victim of marijuana and money. Lewis and another UBN member then shot and killed the victim and attempted to murder the victim’s friend, who survived a gunshot wound to his arm. Also, according to evidence presented at trial, Wray shot and killed a member of the Crips, a rival gang, at a party with other Bloods in Shelby, North Carolina. Evidence at trial also proved that Huskey murdered an unarmed man during an argument by shooting the victim multiple times and continuing to shoot while he was on the ground. The jury’s verdict indicated that Lewis, Wray and Smith participated in the UBN knowing and agreeing that Bloods commit acts of murder.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the UBN is a violent criminal street gang operating throughout the east coast of the United States since it was founded as a prison gang in 1993. UBN members are often identified by their use of the color red, and can also often be identified by common tattoos or burn marks. Examples include: a three-circle pattern, usually burned onto the upper arm, known as a “dog paw”; the words “damu,” or “eastside”; the number five; the five-pointed star and the five-pointed crown. UBN members have distinct hand signs and written codes, which are used to identify other members and rival gang members, as well as to try to thwart law enforcement efforts against them.
Members of the UBN are expected to conduct themselves and their illegal activity according to rules and regulations set by their leaders. Prominent among these is a requirement to pay monthly dues to the organization, often in the amounts of $31 or $93. UBN gang dues are derived from illegal activity performed by subordinate UBN members including narcotics trafficking, robberies, and wire fraud, among other forms of illegal racketeering activity.
In all, 82 defendants have been adjudicated guilty in this case. Three top leaders of the UBN were convicted of racketeering conspiracy by a jury in May 2018, and one defendant was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy at trial in July 2019. Seventy-eight defendants have pleaded guilty in this investigation, and 69 defendants have been sentenced.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office; the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; the Shelby Police Department; the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office; the Gastonia Police Department; the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office; the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice; North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles; Scotland Neck Police Department; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office; the U.S. Federal Probation; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the IRS Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; and the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Office of Special Investigations. Trial Attorney Beth Lipman of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Warren and Christopher Hess for the Western District of North Carolina are prosecuting the case.
This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program. OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.