American Indian gang trio face racketeering trial

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2013 at 6:43 am •  Published: January 22, 2013
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Authorities say McArthur was a leader or "chief" of the Native Mob, and directed other members to carry out beatings, shootings and the armed home invasion of a rival drug dealer. The indictment said that in 2010, he ordered fellow gang members to shoot at a rival's house to keep him from dealing on Native Mob turf, authorized the assault of a prison inmate in 2008 and recruited new members from prison.

He also, according to the indictment, wrote a letter from prison to a fellow Native Mob member in 2004, describing a plan to hold people accountable, and saying "Discipline and promote fear is the quickest way to progress our case."

The indictment also said that in 2010, Morris and Cree tried to kill a man by shooting him multiple times while he held his 5-year-old daughter. The indictment said it was done at McArthur's behest, and in retaliation because the man was cooperating with authorities.

Goetz had no comment on specifics in the indictment, but said the Native Mob is about keeping people safe.

"Are we saying this is the Boys and Girls Club? No. But I think the actual purpose of this is to decrease the violence rather than increase the violence," Goetz said.

Christopher Grant, a national Native American gang specialist in South Dakota, said there are hundreds of American Indian gangs nationwide. Most, he said, are loosely organized and might have as few as five members.

"I consider Native Mob to be the most organized, violent and predatory street gang structure in Indian Country," Grant said. "There are many other Native American gangs ... but Native Mob stands out in terms of their victimization of Native American people in both tribal and non-tribal communities."

Though racketeering cases against Native American gangs are rare, they are not unprecedented.

In Arizona, three members of the East Side Bloods in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community are awaiting trial on racketeering crimes. And in 1997, five members of the East Side Crips Rolling 30s, also in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community, were convicted on racketeering charges.

The Native Mob trial starts Tuesday with jury selection and is expected to take several weeks as prosecutors plan to call about 300 witnesses — including current and former Native Mob members, crime victims and members of rival gangs. Evidence could include recordings collected by undercover informants and prison calls, according to court documents.

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