Indian country in the Upper Midwest can feel a little safer following a March 19 decision that has federal prosecutors saying they’ve weakened a violent American Indian gang. The decision in the case of three members of the Native Mob resulted in a jury finding all men guilty according to the Associated Press.
The trial that spanned almost two months saw Wakinyon Wakan McArthur, 34, guilty on six counts, including racketeering; William Earl Morris, 25, guilty on four counts; and Anthony Francis Cree, 26, guilty on six counts, including racketeering and attempted murder according to the Mille Lacs Messenger.
"We have some conservative confidence that we did put a dent (in the gang) but we're also very realistic and know that law enforcement will continue to pursue gang activity including the Native Mob," Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter said following the convictions according to AP.
McArthur was an alleged Native Mob leader, while Cree and Morris were alleged “soldiers.”
As Indian Country Today Media Network reported in March 2012 “The Native Mob is a regional gang of Native Americans that sprang up in Minneapolis during the early 1990s but has since grown to an estimated 200 members who engage in drug trafficking, assault, robbery and murder. Most members are recruited from communities with large Native American populations.
A federal indictment last year charged 24 alleged members with 47-counts, including racketeering and other crimes. “[T]he Native Mob allegedly distributes illegal drugs, including crack, ecstasy and heroin, and protects its enterprise by committing acts of violence against competitors, victims and witnesses. It is also charged with hindering or obstructing officials from identifying or apprehending wanted individuals and allegedly providing monetary support to members including those who are in prison,” ICTMN reported.
McArthur, Cree and Morris were the only ones from the indictment charges who rejected plea deals and could face between 20 years and life in prison according to AP.
“The verdicts reflect the seriousness of the crimes that were being committed by the Native Mob, which includes not only drug trafficking, but discharging of firearms at innocent people, and trafficking firearms, and basically wreaking havoc through communities throughout the state of Minnesota," Winter said to AP.