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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 19, 2017

Federal Jury Convicts Five Members Of The Young Melph Mafia Gang

Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that a federal jury has convicted LIONEL ALLEN, age 24, JAWAN FORTIA, age 24, DEDRICK KEELEN, age 23, DELWIN McLAREN, age 24 and BRYAN SCOTT, age 23, all of New Orleans, following an eight-day trial.
 

LIONEL ALLEN was convicted of 21 of 24 counts, specifically: Conspiracy to Violate RICO; Conspiracy to Possess Firearms; Murder in the Aid of Racketeering (three counts – murders of Vennie Smith, Deshawn Hartford and Travis Thomas); Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering (six counts); Use, Carrying, and Discharge of a Firearm during and in Relation to a Crime of Violence or a Drug Trafficking Crime (eight counts). LIONEL ALLEN faces life in prison.

 

JAWAN FORTIA was convicted of four of five counts, specifically: Conspiracy to Violate RICO; Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances; Conspiracy to Possess Firearms; Murder in the Aid of Racketeering (murder of Vennie Smith); and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering (one count). JAWAN FORTIA faces life in prison.

 

DEDRICK KEELEN was convicted of all eight charged counts, specifically: Conspiracy to Violate RICO; Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances; Conspiracy to Possess Firearms; Murder in the Aid of Racketeering (two counts - murder of Lawrence Burt and Vivian Snyder); Causing Death through the Use of a Firearm; Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering; and Use, Carrying, and Discharge of a Firearm during and in Relation to a Crime of Violence or a Drug Trafficking Crime. DEDRICK KEELEN faces life plus ten years in prison.

 

DELWIN McLAREN was convicted of two charged counts, specifically: Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Conspiracy to Possess Firearms. DELWIN McLAREN faces ten years to life in prison.

 

BRYAN SCOTT was convicted of two charged counts, specifically: Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Conspiracy to Possess Firearms. BRYAN SCOTT faces not less than 20 years to life in prison.

 

U.S. Chief District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt will set sentencing for later this year.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as part of the metro area’s Multi-Agency Gang Unit (MAG) in investigating this matter. As an integral component of NOLA FOR LIFE’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy, the 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), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Marshals Service (USMS), and the United States Probation & Parole Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Assistant United States Attorneys Edward Rivera, Nolan Paige, and Nicholas Moses were in charge of the prosecution.

Updated June 19, 2017