In North Carolina, officials led the biggest gang sweep of the state’s history, arresting 83 gang members in one go. The state was being overrun with gang members who were a part of the United Blood Nation, or the ‘bloods’. The gangs have offshoots, and all 83 arrestees are members of the “Nine Trey Gangsters” unit.
About 30 of those who were rounded up have already been to jail, and almost all of the rest have criminal records of some kind. The police plan to capture 10 more suspects, who have escaped and are now on the run.
Authorities said 600 law enforcement officers from more than a dozen agencies were involved in the roundup.
The Charlotte Observer reports:
Of the 50 arrests made Thursday, half were in Charlotte, with another 14 coming in largely rural Cleveland County. There, the small town of Shelby has become a surprisingly strong outpost for gang activity, authorities say.
Those accused also include some of UBN’s “godfathers,” also known as OGs or “original gangsters, who direct gang operations from their cells in the New York prison system, prosecutors said. That’s where the gang formed in the early 1990s before spreading south through other prisons and the drug trade.
A sweeping 162-page indictment outlines the criminal network, connecting a web of seemingly unrelated crimes across the Charlotte region that go back at least to 2010. Those include multiple murders, racketeering, firearms trafficking, robbery and bank fraud. Gang members are tied to at least six killings and multiple shootings.
In North Carolina, the reach of the gang extends from small North Carolina towns like Concord and Shelby to the college mecca of Chapel Hill. UBN remains a powerful force in many of the state prisons. In one 2016 example, UBN members smuggled cellphones, narcotics, marijuana and razor blades into the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, authorities say.
The indictment also details gang efforts to traffic heroin, cocaine, narcotics and firearms. In a new development, many of named in the indictment were charged with white-collar crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud – a sign that gang members are become more sophisticated and diversified, authorities said.
The FBI, joined by state and local law enforcement agents, began rounding up the suspected gang members early Thursday, and vans filled with the prisoners began arriving at the federal courthouse in Charlotte before 10 a.m.
Seventy-three of those named in the indictments were from North Carolina, with smaller groups rounded up or hunted in South Carolina, New York and Florida.
In all, FBI officials said 25 were arrested Thursday in Charlotte; 14 came from Cleveland County, four in Anson County, one in Gaston County and five were picked up in eastern North Carolina. In South Carolina, two were arrested in Myrtle Beach and one in Columbia.
At least one arrest took place in Florida, and the indictment cites crimes committed in the cities of Pensacola, Pace and Gulf Breeze.
Two dozen of the newly indicted were already incarcerated in North Carolina; three were behind bars in New York.
United Blood Nation, an East Coast offshoot of the better-known Bloods gangs of California, has grown into one the largest and most active gangs in Charlotte and has been a frequent target of law enforcement. The gang focuses much of its activity in northwest parts of the city, said John Strong, FBI director for North Carolina.