Federal racketeering charges target Minneapolis Highs and Bloods gangs


Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Federal prosecutors announced sweeping charges against a long list of defendants they said hail from two of the three most prominent Minneapolis street gangs.

Federal prosecutors have charged 45 people they accuse of belonging to two of Minneapolis' most prominent street gangs with complex conspiracy charges in what law enforcement leaders are billing as a major shift in the government's year-old initiative to counter violent crime in the city.

For the first time, prosecutors are levying racketeering conspiracy charges to go after Minneapolis gangs linked to allegations of murder, robbery, drug conspiracy and gun crimes. The statute - also referred to as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) - was first rolled out in the 1970s to bring down organized crime families and requires approval from the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.

"Today's announcement marks a fundamental change for federal law enforcement," U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said Wednesday, as two indictments were unsealed. "We are now addressing gang violence for what it is: Organized criminal activity."



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