The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 22, 2013

American Indian gang trio face racketeering trial

(Continued)

But Frederick Goetz, McArthur's attorney, said this case doesn't fit the bill.

"There is, and there was, no racketeering enterprise," Goetz said. "The interesting part of the case will be sorting the myth from the reality."

Goetz said many of the allegations aren't part of a conspiracy, but are sporadic, individual acts carried out by disaffected, alienated youths who have dealt with tough circumstances on reservations.

The Native Mob has about 200 members, according to the indictment, and is recruiting new ones. Heffelfinger said some recruitment happens at powwows, as recruiters use Native American culture and the "warrior mentality" to attract children.

The indictment paints a picture of a structured group that held monthly meetings where members were encouraged to assault or murder enemies, or anyone who showed disrespect.

Authorities say McArthur was a leader or "chief" of the Native Mob, and directed other members to carry out beatings, shootings and the armed home invasion of a rival drug dealer. The indictment said that in 2010, he ordered fellow gang members to shoot at a rival's house to keep him from dealing on Native Mob turf, authorized the assault of a prison inmate in 2008 and recruited new members from prison.

He also, according to the indictment, wrote a letter from prison to a fellow Native Mob member in 2004, describing a plan to hold people accountable, and saying "Discipline and promote fear is the quickest way to progress our case."

The indictment also said that in 2010, Morris and Cree tried to kill a man by shooting him multiple times while he held his 5-year-old daughter. The indictment said it was done at McArthur's behest, and in retaliation because the man was cooperating with authorities.

Goetz had no comment on specifics in the indictment, but said the Native Mob is about keeping people safe.

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