Two South Bend gang members enter pleas in racketeering case
SOUTH BEND, Mar 22, 2013 (South Bend Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Two South Bend gang members have entered guilty pleas in a federal racketeering case against seven members, admitting in court documents to a business of drug deals, armed robberies and shootings.
Jaleen L. McGee, 20, pleaded guilty Wednesday to racketeering, and Alvin Blade, III, 21, admitted Tuesday to carrying a firearm while committing a crime.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment in December charging seven members of the South Bend-based gang Cash Out Boyz with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.
McGee and Blade are the first of the seven to enter pleas. Also charged are Demerius M. Shaw, 20; Timothy Whitfield, 21; Jarvis Ward, 19; Brison K. Williams, 20; and Rickey Hemphill, 19.
Led by Ward and Whitfield, the men built a criminal enterprise of dealing Ecstasy pills and marijuana, controlling their business with violence and threats of violence, the indictment alleges.
The gang members are accused of committing eight attempted murders between March 2010 and June 2011, several of them targeted at Kaley Street gang members.
Demerius Shaw is accused of murdering Steven Chatman on Aug. 8, 2011.
McGee admitted to gang membership in 2010 and 2011, and described the shooting and robbing a drug dealer at a convenience store on Olive Street in July 2011.
McGee said he and two accomplices pointed guns at the drug dealer and demanded money, according to his plea agreement.
One of McGee's accomplices shot the drug dealer, who was wounded, and McGee and the other rifled through his pockets for money while he lay injured.
Blade described a similar robbery in his plea agreement. In January 2011, Blade set up a drug deal with two men, and with an accomplice, decided to rob them instead.
Blade and his accomplice shot the men and took their money, also at an Olive Street convenience store, the plea agreement says.
A federal judge will sentence Blade on June 13 and McGee on June 18.
Staff writer Madeline Buckley: firstname.lastname@example.org 574-235-6337
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