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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 12, 2017

Five Members of Violent Detroit Street Gang Charged with Racketeering, Narcotics and Firearms Offenses

Detroit, MI - The collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement under the Detroit One program has led to the indictment of five members of a northwest Detroit street gang, Young and Skantless or YNS, on various racketeering offenses in a federal superseding indictment unsealed today. The charges are the result of the Detroit One initiative, a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community to reduce violent crime in Detroit.

 

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch of the Eastern District of Michigan; Special Agent in Charge Robin Shoemaker of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Detroit Field Division; and Police Chief James E. Craig of Detroit made the announcement.

 

The indictment charges five YNS members with a variety of crimes including a murder, robberies that turned into murders, shootings, a home invasion, arson and narcotics distribution. Specifically:

 

• Corey Toney, 36, of Detroit, is charged with RICO conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance;

 

• Edward Tavorn, 30, of Detroit, is charged with RICO conspiracy and felon in possession of a firearm;

 

• Andre Chattam, 27, of Detroit, is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death;

 

• Kevin Pearson, 25, of Detroit, is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death; and

 

• Sontez Wells, 23, of Detroit, is charged with murder in aid of racketeering, and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

 

According to the indictment, the defendants were members and associates of YNS, a criminal organization that operates in northwest Detroit, specifically the Brightmoor neighborhood. The indictment alleges that YNS purposefully developed a reputation for ruthless violence in order to facilitate the successful commission of crimes by YNS members and associates. The further indictment alleges that the gang has become known as the most dangerous group in Brightmoor and one of the most dangerous in the city of Detroit by engaging in various violent acts including: seeking to intimidate, injure and kill rival drug dealers to eliminate competition; attempting to instill fear in the community in order to discourage cooperation with police and witnesses from reporting YNS-related crime; and posting numerous intimidating photographs and videos to social media.

 

Through collaborative effort, law enforcement has been able to identify some of the most violent members of this gang and charge them in both state and federal court. Detroit One is a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community to reduce homicide and other violent crime in Detroit. By working collaboratively, local, state, and federal law enforcement is striving to maximize its ability to identify and arrest the persons and groups initiating the violence in Detroit. This indictment is the latest in a string of indictments or informations over the last four years involving violent street gangs in the city of Detroit, including:

 

- 18 members of the Seven Mile Blood street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- Nine members of the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- 14 members of the Rollin’ 60s Crips street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- 13 members of the Latin Counts street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- 14 members of the Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club / Vice Lords street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- Four Vice Lord members in state court for armed robbery and a Vice Lord leader charged under the federal street gang statute for his role in that armed robbery;

 

- Nine Vice Lords members for racketeering charges stemming from the shooting of four individuals at their family residence on Detroit’s northwest side;

 

- Three members of the Band Crew street gang charged under the state of Michigan gang felony statute for violent acts in furtherance of their gang activities and eight members of the Band Crew for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- 10 members of the RTM street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- Four members of the Band Gang street gang charged under the state of Michigan gang felony statute for conspiracy to commit murder and assaults with intent to commit murder and 11 members/associates of Bang Gang in federal court for access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, firearms, and obstruction of justice;

 

- Three members of the A1Killers street gang for federal narcotics offenses;

 

- 11 members of the 6Mile Chedda Grove street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;

 

- 24 individuals on drug conspiracy charges for their use of sixteen different houses in the east side Ravendale neighborhood of Detroit, many of them abandoned homes, for distributing heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine between 2013 – 2015; and

 

- 14 individuals on criminal enterprise, drug distribution, or weapons offense for drug distribution in the west side Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit.

 

These charges are just some more of the tangible and significant results of this joint effort. Most significantly, Detroit has seen a reduction in the overall violent crime rate every year since the Detroit One collaboration began in 2013.

 

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

 

This case is being investigated by the ATF’s CVRP Task Force (Comprehensive Violence Reduction Partnership), consisting of representatives of the ATF, Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Corrections,

The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan.

 

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

 

This case is being investigated by the ATF’s CVRP Task Force (Comprehensive Violence Reduction Partnership), consisting of representatives of the ATF, Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Corrections. The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Updated May 12, 2017