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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Gang Member Sentenced for RICO Conspiracy and Attempted Murders

NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for RICO conspiracy and multiple attempted murders on behalf of the Nine Trey Gangsters, a violent Bloods street gang. 

According to court documents, Malek Lassiter, aka Leeko, 23, joined other gang members on a mission, ordered by co-defendant Antonio Simmons, to kill high-ranking members of a rival “line” of the Nine Trey Gangsters. When Lassiter and the other men were unable to locate the first two individuals they intended to kill, they went to a house in Portsmouth looking for another gang member they planned to shoot. After being told the man they sought was not at home by the woman who opened the door, one of Lassiter’s co-conspirators shot her six times. The woman’s life was saved by the quick response of local EMTs and officers of the Portsmouth Police Department.  Meanwhile, Lassiter and the other gang members who fled the shooting fired their guns again when they saw witnesses in the neighborhood looking out of their windows and doors to see what was happening. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, Angela Greene, Interim Chief of Portsmouth Police, Larry D. Boone, Chief of Norfolk Police, James A. Cervera, Chief of Virginia Beach Police, Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police, and Thomas E. Bennett, Chief of Suffolk Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph E. DePadilla, Andrew Bosse, and John F. Butler, and Trial Attorney Teresa A. Wallbaum of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, prosecuted the case.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Billy Club. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:16-cr-130-5.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated April 23, 2019