The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 22, 2013

American Indian gang trio face racketeering trial

(Continued)

"Are we saying this is the Boys and Girls Club? No. But I think the actual purpose of this is to decrease the violence rather than increase the violence," Goetz said.

Christopher Grant, a national Native American gang specialist in South Dakota, said there are hundreds of American Indian gangs nationwide. Most, he said, are loosely organized and might have as few as five members.

"I consider Native Mob to be the most organized, violent and predatory street gang structure in Indian Country," Grant said. "There are many other Native American gangs ... but Native Mob stands out in terms of their victimization of Native American people in both tribal and non-tribal communities."

Though racketeering cases against Native American gangs are rare, they are not unprecedented.

In Arizona, three members of the East Side Bloods in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community are awaiting trial on racketeering crimes. And in 1997, five members of the East Side Crips Rolling 30s, also in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community, were convicted on racketeering charges.

The Native Mob trial starts Tuesday with jury selection and is expected to take several weeks as prosecutors plan to call about 300 witnesses — including current and former Native Mob members, crime victims and members of rival gangs. Evidence could include recordings collected by undercover informants and prison calls, according to court documents.

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