Federal bust nets seven drug trafficking indictments in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS -- Seven members of Minneapolis-area gangs have been indicted on federal charges of distributing crack cocaine in the Twin Cities and as far away as Duluth and Fargo, N.D.
MINNEAPOLIS - Seven members of Minneapolis-area gangs have been indicted on federal charges of distributing crack cocaine in the Twin Cities and as far away as Duluth and Fargo, N.D.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the Minneapolis Police Department and U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger, announced Wednesday the charges against members of the Taliban and Young N Thuggin gangs.
“Leaders and members of the Taliban and YNT are charged with using violence and intimidation to control a drug distribution operation stretching from Minneapolis to Fargo,” he said. “Working closely with our law enforcement partners, we are continuing to investigate and stop drug dealers and the violence that too often accompanies their illegal activity.”
According to the indictment, the Taliban and Young N Thuggin gangs frequently traveled from their territory in north Minneapolis to Duluth, St. Cloud and Fargo, among other cities, to sell crack cocaine.
Lt. Jeff Kazel of the Duluth Police Department, who serves as commander of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, said two of those indicted were suspects in a case in Duluth last fall, but there was not enough evidence to press charges at that time. Kazel said Duluth police are continuing to cooperate with Minneapolis police and the U.S. Attorney's Office to successfully prosecute the suspects.
Lt. Michael Mitchell of the Fargo Police Department said the drug pipeline from the Twin Cities to Fargo is well known by law enforcement officials in North Dakota.
“We know there is a connection between Fargo and Minneapolis with those kinds of drugs,” he said. “The reason that drugs like methamphetamines and cocaine come in (to Fargo) is the street value is three to four times higher here than in Minneapolis. We’re a little more rural here, and supply-and-demand kicks in.”
Court documents said a single-use amount of crack cocaine - known as a pill or rock - that the Taliban and YNT sells for $20 in Minneapolis can fetch $50 in Fargo.
Luger said the gangs are rivals of two other violent Minneapolis gangs, the 19-Dipset and Stick Up Boys, that were targeted in a bust last year that lead to indictment of more than a dozen gang members. He said the Taliban and YNT also carry guns to intimidate rivals and retaliate violently to assaults on their operation.
“Today we see the results of a long-term investigation into a violent street gang that has plagued the streets of Minneapolis for too long,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said in a release. “As a result of our collaborative partnerships … several members of that gang are facing federal indictments for their long history of criminal activity. Today we say thank you to all of our partners for helping to make Minneapolis a safer city.”
Mitchell said he wasn’t aware of any Taliban or YNT operations in Fargo beyond drug trafficking.
“We are aware of the gangs that were involved in the indictment, but we don’t have any reason to believe they were engaging in any of the violent crimes or turf wars here that they were in Minneapolis,” he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Steinkamp will prosecute the case. Facing charges are Louis Lee “G.I.” Frasier Banks, 25; Carnel Lavel “Boo Man” Harrison, 26; DeJuan Pierre Darkyse “DJ” Washington, 23; Terrell Vonshay “Get Right” Roberson, 18; Laquedrick Lemel “Quady” As-Sidiq, 25; Donte Tramayne “Five” Smith, 25; and Cortez Davon “Tez” Blakemore, 24.