83 charged in FBI gang investigation of United Blood Nation, 7 still being sought
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Three more people were arrested in part of a gang take-down operation that spanned across the east coast.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the help of state and local law enforcement, arrested nearly 100 people across the Charlotte region early Thursday morning in the operation.
The arrests are the result of a massive FBI investigation into the United Blood Nation.
In all, 83 people face a total of 69 charges handed down in an indictment that was unsealed Thursday morning. According to the Department of Justice, this is the largest take-down in North Carolina to date targeting the "Nine Trey Gangsters."
According to allegations stated in the indictment, beginning by at least 2009 to the present, the 83 charged were leaders and members of the UBN's Nine Trey Gangsters.
Thursday, the indictment stated that out of the 83 people charged, 10 were not in custody. Friday, the FBI said Joe Jarpeh Johnson and Lavon Christopher Turner were taken into custody. Brandon Manning turned himself in Thursday night in Columbia, SC, the FBI says, leaving seven people still being sought.
According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in a racketeering conspiracy that included 'multiple acts involving murder', robbery, drug trafficking and fraud, among other charges. Court documents said that a number of defendants were also charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft related to financial crimes.
The DOJ said more than 600 federal, state and local law enforcement officers executed the arrests warrants Thursday morning in Charlotte, Cleveland County and eastern North Carolina. Arrests were also made in Florida, South Carolina, New York and Virginia, according to the indictment.
MOBILE USERS: CLICK HERE FOR MUGSHOTS OF SOME OF THOSE ARRESTED
The number of defendants making first appearances at the federal courthouse in Charlotte Thursday morning was so great that three judges were holding back-to-back hearings to process those arrested.
Those named in the indictment include suspects already in jail on state charges and at least one person currently living in Liberia.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney released this statement Thursday:
"The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will continue to work tirelessly to protect our community. These arrests send a clear message to violent offenders that our neighborhoods will not be a safe haven for their illegal activities."
Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford released this statement Thursday afternoon:
"This investigation is a great example of collaboration between agencies to fight the type of crime that is causing the senseless killing of our young people and destroying families in our communities. The statement made today is simple - violent crime and gang activity will not be tolerated in our communities. We will work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that our citizens are able to live, work and play in the safest environment possible."
The US Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina held a press conference Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. to provide more details about the investigation.
This is a developing story. Stay with WBTV.com and WBTV on-air for updates as they become available.
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