More Than Two Dozen Arrested In Crackdown On Evansville-area Criminal Organization
Joint investigation leads to early-morning arrests across city and the filing of federal charges
EVANSVILLE – United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett, joined by Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann, Sheriff Eric Williams, and Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin, announced this afternoon the early-morning arrest of 22 Evansville-area residents in a city-wide crackdown on drug trafficking and other gang-related activities. This joint federal-local investigation is part of the U.S. Attorney’s ongoing Violent Crime Initiative.
“The allegations in this case describe a dangerous gang that for years peddled violence and drugs across the city of Evansville,” Hogsett said. “These charges also serve as a reminder that if you are involved in organized crime in this city, if you assist these groups in any way, you too will wake up one morning soon to the sound of law enforcement at your door.”
Today’s arrests center around a local criminal street gang that operated under the name “300 Wag Block,” which is a reference to the 300 block of Waggoner Avenue in Evansville. According to the federal indictment, the gang has been responsible for numerous acts of violence and the local distribution of drugs, including cocaine. The indictment describes a complex series of code words that were used by gang members to describe their criminal activities.
The federal indictment alleges a pattern of criminal behavior that stretched over four years. All told, eight defendants have been charged with offenses that include conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, multiple counts of possessing and distributing drugs, as well as numerous federal firearm offenses related to illegally possessing firearms in the course of these drug trafficking activities.
The indictment also alleges specific instances of gang-related violence in Vanderburgh County. This includes the June 2012 assault of an individual in a local parking lot, the firing of weapons at individuals on Florida Street in October 2013, and a series of recorded gang meetings that took place late last year. The indictment describes the collective criminal histories of the defendants, which include multiple local convictions related to violent acts and drug trafficking.
Those eight defendants charged federally include:
• Maleek Davis, a/k/a “Skinny” or “Pluto Dollas,” age 21
• Mykale Davis, a/k/a “Kales,” age 22
• Tiackquien Douglas, a/k/a “TT,” age 21
• Gerald Butler, a/k/a “Boogie,” age 23
• Luther Lawton, a/k/a “Lut Lut” or “LL,” age 21
• Duwan McKinney, a/k/a “Mula” or “Shorty,” age 27
• Lusta Johnson, age 21
• D’Mariea Fox, age 23
Defendant Fox remains a fugitive at this time. In addition, 11 defendants arrested this morning face state charges for their alleged roles in the group, while three state defendants remain fugitives at this time.
This case was the result of a collaborative investigation involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, the United States Marshals Service, as well as the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, and the Evansville Police Department.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew P. Brookman, who is prosecuting the federal case for the government, all of the defendants could be sentenced to decades in federal prison. Due to extensive criminal histories, some of the defendants could face life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Under federal law, the defendants would be required to serve at least 85% of their sentence within a correctional facility if they are found guilty.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.