Native Mob takedown by feds shuts down Minnesota prisons
All Minnesota prisons were shut down from 4 a.m Tuesday to 5 a.m. yesterday morning as part of a federally orchestrated, multi-jurisdictional takedown on members of the Native Mob gang.
For more on the Native Mob, read our November 9 cover story, "The Banishing."
In total, 24 suspected Native Mob members are facing federal charges, according to a 47-count indictment unsealed in part Tuesday. Of those, 12 were already in prison. Six were arrested in other parts of the state, and the rest are still at large.
Born out of south Minneapolis in the early 1990s, the Native Mob is one of the most dangerous Indian gangs in the country, known for its history of violent crimes. Just last week, another member of the Native Mob was convicted in the '96 murder of a rival gang member in Minneapolis.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorneys Office describes the gang as an advanced criminal enterprise. Charges include racketeering, drug dealing, illegal possession of firearms, and witness tampering.
As of last September, 17 members of the Native Mob were incarcerated in Minnesota prisons, according to statistics provided by the Department of Corrections, meaning the majority are likely included in the indictment.
John Schadl, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, says the purpose of a lockdown is to "keep offenders contained, especially in this instance where they actually did some arrests within the facility."
Prisoners were not able to use phones, says Schadl, so there was no opportunity to tip off others.
The unsealed portion of the indictment provides the names of six people who appeared in court this week. They are: Damien Lee Beaulieu, Dale Wesley Ballinger, Jr., Justen Lee Poitra, Cory Gene Oquist, Aaron James Gilbert, Jr., and Dale John Pindegayosh.
Maximum sentences for all 24 range from 20 years to life in prison.