June 5, 2021

USA: 40 Charged In Sweeping Indictment Involving Chicago-Detroit Gang Vice Lords. 172-Page Indictment Details Racketeering, Extortion, Murder, Robbery, Assault And Drug-Related Offenses

Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV published June 3, 2021: 40 charged in sweeping indictment involving Detroit gang known as the 'Vice Lords'

Click On Detroit
reporting by Victor Williams
Friday June 4, 2021

DETROIT – A few dozen alleged members and associates of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation gang will now be facing a slew of charges in an investigation that’s been underway for years.

The announcement made this week comes from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The 172-page indictment goes back to 2018 and looks at gang members in both Michigan and Chicago.

“This indictment is filed on a number of significant leaders, members and associates that are connected with this organization,” said Michigan Eastern District U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsim.

What helped solidify the charges being filed were officers raiding a home on Hubbell Avenue, where police said they found evidence of drugs, illegal firearms and more.

“Today was pretty much a reckoning,” said Jim Deir, ATF Detroit Special Agent in Charge. “And the reckoning is the city of Detroit has had enough and the federal government has had enough.”

The person who lives at the home is believed to be in charge of the Michigan Vice Lords. His name is Kevin Fordham, also known as Spaghetti.

“The bottom line is they’re off the streets of Detroit,” Deir said. “Maybe tonight, Detroit can be just a little bit safer.”

Fordham, along with several of the high-ranking soldiers in this street army, are also looking at racketeering conspiracy charges, plus other accusations of extortion, stabbings and even murder.

“If they’ve got to kill somebody, they will,” Deir said. “If they have to shoot them, if they have to assault them physically, if they have to stab them, then they do that.”

Homes raided in Detroit

In a joint sting, officers were able to raid 13 homes in Detroit and Chicago. One of them being on Hubbell Avenue.

A woman who claimed to be Fordham’s girlfriend spoke with Local 4. She said she was at the home on Hubbell Avenue when it was raided and what is listed in the indictment does not describe Fordham at all.

“I’ve been with this man for 17 years. We’re raising grandbabies together. I just don’t understand it,” she said. “He’s not that kind of guy. I think it’s just guilty by association.”

However, the ATF said he hasn’t been doing the dirty work and that’s it’s a hierarchy structure that kept him out of trouble.

“Mr. Fordham, in this gang, has several layers of insulation to avoid detection from law enforcement,” Deir concluded.

The investigation is still underway, but Local 4 has been told this is only the beginning as they go after more gang members.

More than 700 Vice Lords have been identified in the state of Michigan alone.
WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7 published June 3, 2021: Feds target Vice Lords street gang with racketeering indictment. Forty people have been charged in a 172-page federal racketeering indictment that was unsealed in federal court in Detroit today.

written by Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press
Thursday June 3, 2021

Saying Detroit's violent crime is out of control again, the federal government on Thursday announced the indictment of 40 alleged gang members wanted for everything from robbery and ordering hits on prisoners to unlawful gun possession and murder.

According to the 120-page indictment, the defendants belong to the Almighty Vice Lord Nation gang, which authorities say has been funneling drugs across the country for decades while instilling fear in anyone who tries to stop them.

"This group is notoriously violent," Detroit's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chief James Deir said at a Thursday news conference, which he used to address a touchy subject for law enforcement: the defund-the-police movement.

"There's a narrative out there ... with defunding the police," Deir said, stressing that violent crime is alarmingly high in Detroit again, and that the city needs the feds and local police working together.

"Homicides and are up 47.7% — that is significant. That is why we are here today," said Deir, who cited the gang member arrests as proof that federal law enforcement is crucial in Detroit.

"This group of individuals — they’re no strangers to law enforcement. Collectively, they have been involved in 365 separate felony arrests," Deir said of the 40 alleged gang members.

According to Deir, nonfatal shootings are up 87% in Detroit over the last two years; homicides are up 47% from 2019 when violent crime had reached record lows.

"We are committed to supplying resources to this city so that people don’t have to worry about a stray bullet hitting them," said Deir, warning more arrests are in the pipeline. "This investigation is the first of several to follow in the coming months."

Among those indicted is alleged Michigan gang leader Kevin "Spaghetti" Fordham of Detroit, who authorities said has no prior felony convictions. That's part of how the gang operates, they explained: levels of protection are offered for the higher-ranking players so they are shielded from law enforcement.

Deir warned that as summer approaches and gun violence likely increases, Detroit police and federal law enforcement agencies will be working together to identify and disrupt groups that engage in gun violence.

"This team is putting every trigger-puller in the city of Detroit on notice," Deir said. "Far too many people have died. ... It's got to end."

Of the 40 alleged gang members named in the indictment, 38 are in custody; two remain on the loose, including one alleged killer.

According to the indictment, the Vice Lords group is a national gang that was founded in Chicago in the 1960s. For years, this group has engaged in high-level drug trafficking involving cocaine, heroine and fentanyl, among other substances.

The group has a five-star symbol and multiple branches, including the Insane Vice Lords, the Mafia Insane Vice Lords and the Traveling Vice Lords.

Authorities say the gang's main purpose is to sell drugs, protect its turf, provide money to jailed members and preserve its power through fear and intimidation. And it maintains a strong presence within the Michigan Department of Corrections, authorities say.

Chicago is considered the "Holy Land" of the group, which is comprised of Kings and Princes who rule, and the so-called Universal Elites, who run sections of a city or area. To get into the gang, one is either brought in through a blessing — a prayer is read — or a beating.

And everyone takes a code of silence.

"An act of treason is punished by no less than a lifetime of misery or death," the indictment states.

Numerous gang members are accused of carrying out different crimes for the organization, including:
  • Arranging for a prisoner to be stabbed in the face.
  • Opening fire on a house of two ex-gang members who had cooperated with the feds.
  • Carrying out armed robberies.
  • Selling cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana on the black market.
Authorities said in addition to arresting dozens of suspects, they also seized numerous guns and large amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

As Detroit's Interim Police Chief James White put it: "This is only the beginning."

Charged in the indictment are: Kevin Fordham, 51; Martin Murff, 52; Tamar Watkins, 45; Terry Douglas, 41; Eddie Reid, 36; Gregory Johnson, 41; Spoonie Johnson, 46; Kurteiz Thompson, 32; Javon Wilhite, 32; Schuyler Belew Jr., 28; Davun Baskerville, 31; Gary Porter, 38; Lawon Carter, 32; Anthony Reynolds, 36; Jaylin McNeal, 24; Anthony Najera, 33; Naujeh Carter, 28; Tyrone Fisher, 35; Fabian Toodle, 39; Earnest Lee, 39; Delaino Eppenger, 29; Devan Turner-Bankhead, 35; Angelo Hopson, 38; Brandon Thomas, 34; Kenneth Johnson, 35; Winisford Watkins, 40; Anthony Simmons, 32; Anthony Zigler, 42; Shelton Carter, 30; Artise Johnson, 42; Dwayne Parler, 31; Lateef Moore, 48; Charles Douglas, 41; John Johnson, 43; Zanie Taliaferro, 48; Antione Coleman, 42; Harith Hunter, 42; Ondrome Lewis, 26; Rasean Walker, 44; and Darryl Taylor, 54.

Hometowns were not provided.

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