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Justice News

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

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Leader of Nine Trey Gangsters Sentenced to Life in Prison

NORFOLK, Va. – A Norfolk man was sentenced today to three consecutive life terms plus an additional 40 years in prison for his leadership role in a racketeering conspiracy, multiple murders, multiple attempted murders, and various drug and gun crimes, all as part of his leadership of the Nine Trey Gangsters Bloods gang.

“Simmons and his gang committed horrific violence across nearly every community in Hampton Roads,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Their actions shattered five families and took parents away from their children. That they did these acts because the gang needed money and to enhance their reputation speaks volumes about what gangs really are – as opposed to what they claim to be when they recruit young men and women in our neighborhoods. Where gangs go, depravity and senseless violence follows. I would like to especially thank the police departments in every South Hampton Roads city for their assistance in bringing these men to justice.”

According to court documents, Antonio Simmons, aka “Murdock,” 41, was a high-ranking leader of a group of Portsmouth and Norfolk-based members of the Nine Trey Gangsters, a Bloods gang affiliated with the United Blood Nation. Simmons and five other members and associates of the gang were charged for their roles in a spate of extreme violence in December 2015 that ended with five people dead and four others shot during seven separate shootings that crossed nearly every city in South Hampton Roads. 

Nearly all of the victims in the case were unaffiliated with the Nine Trey Gangsters or any other gang. They included two mothers of young children and one grandmother who was murdered, along with her boyfriend, because gang members believed she was cooperating with the police in an investigation of another shooting carried out by a Nine Trey member just weeks before. 

Simmons was found guilty of the two murders that occurred during attempted robberies he directed his men to commit. By the end of December, two of the gang’s primary shooters, Anthony Foye, aka “Ace,” and Nathaniel Mitchell, aka “Savage,” were in a competition to see who could gain a reputation within the gang for shooting the most people. To even the score the men were keeping, Mitchell gunned down a woman walking home from her job at the Norfolk International Airport four days before Christmas. The evidence at trial showed that Simmons bragged about the shootings carried out by Foye and Mitchell. 

In late 2015, Simmons ordered Foye, Mitchell, and co-conspirators Alvaughn Davis, aka “LB,” and Malek Lassiter, aka “Leeko,” to murder high-ranking members of a rival Hampton Roads-based Nine Trey Gangsters “line.” When the men were unable to find two of their targets, they drove to the house of a third man they planned to shoot. When the woman who opened the door told them the man was not at home, they shot her six times; her life was saved by the quick response of local EMTs and the Portsmouth Police Department. While the men fled from the scene, they fired several rounds at witnesses looking out of their windows. Foye and Mitchell were arrested after robbing a gas station store later the same night.

Simmons, Mitchell, and Lassiter were convicted on all counts after a seven-week jury trial. Foye and Davis pleaded guilty before trial, and another associate of the gang, Donte Brehon, pleaded guilty in a separate case. Simmons was the last defendant to be sentenced. The men charged, and the sentences they received, are as follows:


Age, Hometown


Total Sentence

Antonio Lee Simmons, aka “Murdock,” “Doc”

41, Norfolk

Racketeering conspiracy; Heroin distribution conspiracy; Murder in Aid of Racketeering (2); Attempted murder in aid of racketeering in aid of racketeering (4); Assault with a dangerous weapon (3); Use of a firearm resulting in death (2); Use of a firearm during a crime of violence (4); various other firearm and drug offenses

Life plus 60 years

Nathaniel Tyree Mitchell, aka “Savage”

26, Portsmouth

Racketeering conspiracy; Murder in aid of racketeering (4); Attempted murder in aid of racketeering (6); Assault with a dangerous weapon  in aid of racketeering (5); Use of a firearm resulting in death (4); Use of a firearm during a crime of violence (6)

5 Life sentences plus 50 years

Anthony Foye,              aka “Ace,” “Bull”

27, Portsmouth

Murder in aid of racketeering (4)


Malek Lassiter,             aka “Leeko”

23, Portsmouth

Racketeering conspiracy; Attempted murder in aid of racketeering (3); Assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering (2); Use of a firearm during a crime of violence (3)

35 years

Alvaughn Davis,            aka “LB”

30, Portsmouth

Racketeering conspiracy; Use of a firearm resulting in death; Accessory after the fact to murder in aid of racketeering

45 years

Donte Brehon,              aka “Dog Nutz”

37, Norfolk

Accessory after the fact to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin

13 years


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; Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; 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 C. 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.

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications
Updated May 9, 2019