Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
RALEIGH — Two gang members accused in a conspiracy of murder, witness tampering and racketeering — including a man now living in Knightdale — were found guilty in federal court Thursday.
Demetrice "Respect" Devine, 37, of Garner, and Brandon Jowan "B-Easy" Mangum, 31, of Knightdale, face up to life in prison once they are sentenced. Federal officials called the suspects "the worst of the worst."
The crimes reportedly date to 2008 and 2009 during a rash of gang violence in southeast Raleigh.
According to prosecutors, Devine was the leader of the Gangsta Killer Bloods, an offshoot of the Bloods. Devine then created two other organizations: Black Mob Gangstas and Donald Gee Family. Mangum was a high-ranking member of the new groups.
Prosecutors said the gang controlled the sale of drugs in the Haywood Street neighborhood and required all drug dealers to pay dues if they sold in gang-controlled territory or else face robbery, assault or death.
Devine ordered the shooting death of 16-year-old rival gang member Adarius Fowler, as well as the death of a witness who cooperated with police.
Mangum conspired to shoot a rival gang member, Rodriquez Burrell, 18, because Burrell had refused to pay the gang. Burrell was shot and killed in front of his father.
Both men were found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to participate in a pattern of racketeering, two counts of murder in aid of racketeering, two counts of murder with a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit witness tampering.
"The United States Justice Department and the United States Attorney's Office are aggressively pursuing violent drug traffickers and this case targeted the worst of the worst," said Robert J. Higdon Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, in a statement. "These men pose a serious danger to the people of Eastern North Carolina and with this conviction we have removed this danger from our community."