Native Mob gang members plead to lesser charges in federal case
|Twenty-four alleged members of the Native Mob were named in an indictment unsealed earlier this year.|
Following the initial arrests, the feds unsealed an indictment naming 24 alleged members of the violent, Minnesota-born gang, with charges including racketeering, drug dealing, witness tampering, and many more.
In the past eight weeks, nine of the accused have pleaded guilty, some to considerably lesser charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
One gang member, Damien Lee Beaulieu, faced 15 charges -- including two counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering -- and pleaded to a single count of RICO conspiracy, a charge that allows for extended penalties for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.
Derrick Dewayne Williams also pleaded to the single RICO charge, though he was originally charged with attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and three other counts.
Jeanne Cooney, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, wouldn't comment on the specifics of the pleas, but says a number of factors can lead to reduced charges, including a closer look at the evidence or cooperation from the defendants.
"We don't ever discuss specific plea agreements," says Cooney, in a statement to City Pages. "However, generally speaking, the elimination of charges in a plea deal may be the result of a more thorough examination of the evidence against the defendant, the cooperative or uncooperative nature of witnesses against the defendant, or the cooperation of the defendant in the investigation of others suspected of involvement in the crime, particularly those who may have played a much greater role."
After the indictment was unsealed in January, the alleged gang members had trial dates set to begin in early May, but there is currently no trial scheduled for the 15 who have not pleaded guilty.
No one has been sentenced yet. Cooney also notes that related cases are ongoing, and more indictments could be on the way.