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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 22, 2014

Eleven Alleged Members And Associates Of The Young Melph Mafia Indicted On Federal Drug And Gun Charges

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr. announced that JEFFREY WILSON, age 29; JACOBI BOYD, a/k/a “CO,” age 22; ALFRED COBBINS, a/k/a “AL,” age 22; JAWAN FORTIA, a/k/a “TITTIE,” age 21; DEONTRE HILLS, a/k/a “SOULJA,” age 22;  DEDRICK KEELEN, a/k/a “ROY,” age 21;  RUBEN GEIGER, a/k/a “RUE,” age 21; SHAWN  GRACIN, a/k/a “GUNNER,” age 21; DELWIN MCLAREN, a/k/a “POO,” age 22;  BRYAN SCOTT, a/k/a “KILLER,” age 20; and DARIUS WILLIAMS, a/k/a “D-MAN,” age 22,  all residents of New Orleans, were charged yesterday in a five count superseding indictment which was unsealed today.  COBBINS and FORTIA remain at-large and should be considered Armed and Dangerous.  Photos of these two defendants are displayed below.

Defendant WILSON had previously been indicted in July 2014 for drug conspiracy and two cocaine distribution counts.  The superseding indictment charges all defendants with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base or “crack.”   Defendants BOYD, COBBINS, FORTIA, HILLS, KEELEN, GEIGER, GRACIN, MCLAREN, SCOTT, and WILLIAMS, who are part of a Central City gang called “The Young Melph Mafia” or “YMM,” were also charged with conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.  The third count charges GRACIN and COBBINS with carrying and discharging a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. The superseding indictment also re-alleges that WILSON distributed a quantity of cocaine hydrochloride on or about May 13, 2014, and that on May 30, 2014, he distributed 28 grams or more of cocaine base or “crack.”

Based upon the ongoing investigation, these defendants, most of whom grew up in and around the former Melpomene Housing Development, engaged in high volume street level drug dealing over the course of several years.  During the course of this investigation, it was also determined that the defendants connected to the Young Melph Mafia routinely carried firearms to protect themselves while engaged in distributing illegal narcotics.

If convicted of the drug conspiracy, all defendants face a minimum of five years and a maximum of forty years of incarceration, a fine of $5,000,000 and at least four years of supervised release.  If convicted of the gun conspiracy, the named defendants face a maximum of twenty years of incarceration, a fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release.

GRACIN and COBBINS face a minimum of ten years of incarceration to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed if convicted of carrying and discharging a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. If convicted of the cocaine hydrochloride distribution count, WILSON faces a maximum of twenty years of incarceration, a fine of $1,000,000 and at last three years of supervised release.  If convicted of the cocaine base or “crack” distribution, WILSON faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of forty years of incarceration, a fine of $5,000,000 and a minimum of four years of supervised release.

“As alleged, these defendants were responsible for dealing significant quantities of narcotics in their own community, and then using firearms as a means of protecting and enforcing their drug-trafficking enterprise,” state U.S. Attorney Polite.  “They all now face the prospect of spending 40 years in prison.  Those who are engaging in similar criminal conduct should take note.  Our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are working in unison to eliminate large-scale drug trafficking and the violence that often accompanies it."

“This indictment is evidence that narcotics and firearms crimes are a dangerous mixture and will not be tolerated in our community,” said New Orleans ATF Special Agent in Charge Phillip Durham.  “These crimes inevitably lead to violence.   ATF, NOPD and our Multi-Agency Gang Unit partners will continue to combat firearms and narcotics crimes as well as gang activity in order to keep our citizens safe. ”       

“Our message in this Group Violence Reduction effort is simple -- our community is demanding that the violence stop,” said Mayor Landrieu.  “With this indictment, the Multi-Agency Gang Unit has led to the indictments of 95 individuals associated with 9 groups since the fall of 2012. Through NOLA FOR LIFE, we will continue to focus on keeping our citizens safe, reclaiming our neighborhoods, and offering opportunities to those who want to make better choices.”  

"This is a signal to other gangs in New Orleans:  If you keep up the violence, we will put you away," said Interim NOPD Police Chief Michael Harrison. "Our Homicide detectives are working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office as well as the DA’s Office to unravel complex and very dangerous groups who terrorize our community.  Together this team collected the evidence necessary to arrest these gang members, who now face the potential of spending decades in prison."

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, Jr. reiterated that the superseding indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the New Orleans Police Department as partners in the metro area’s Multi Agency Gang Unit. As an integral component of NOLA FOR LIFE’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy, the Multi-Agency Gang (MAG) Unit consists of a partnership with New Orleans Police Department (NOPD); Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (DA); Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO); Louisiana State Police (LSP); Parole Board of the Louisiana Department of Corrections; United States Attorney’s Office (USAO); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); United States Marshal’s Service (USMS); and the United States Probation & Parole Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  Valuable assistance to the investigation was provided by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Maurice Landrieu, Jr. and Edward Rivera.

(Download Superseding Indictment )

Updated November 18, 2014