Feds indict 40 Vice Lord gang members to combat growing crime in Detroit (2024)

Saying Detroit's violent crime is out of control again, the federal government on Thursday announced the indictment of 40 alleged gang members wanted for everything from robbery and ordering hits on prisoners to unlawful gun possession and murder.

According to the120-page indictment, the defendants belong to the Almighty Vice Lord Nation gang, which authorities say has been funneling drugs across the country for decades while instilling fear in anyone who tries to stop them.

"This group is notoriously violent,"Detroit's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chief James Deir said at a Thursday news conference, which he used to address a touchy subject for law enforcement: the defund-the-police movement.

"There's a narrative out there ... with defunding the police," Deir said,stressing that violent crime is alarmingly high in Detroit again, and that the city needs the feds and local police working together.

"Homicides and are up 47.7% —that is significant. That is why we are here today," said Deir, who cited the gang member arrests as proof that federal law enforcement is crucial in Detroit.

"This group of individuals —they’re no strangers to law enforcement.Collectively, they have been involved in 365 separate felony arrests," Deir said of the 40 alleged gang members.

According to Deir, nonfatal shootings are up 87% in Detroit over the last two years; homicides are up 47% from 2019 when violent crime had reached record lows.

"We are committed to supplying resources to this city so that people don’t have to worry about a stray bullet hitting them," said Deir, warning more arrests are in the pipeline. "Thisinvestigation is the first of several to follow in the coming months."

Among those indicted isalleged Michigan gang leader Kevin "Spaghetti" Fordham of Detroit, who authorities said has no prior felony convictions. That's part of how the gang operates, they explained: levels of protection are offered for the higher-ranking players so they are shielded from law enforcement.

Deir warned that as summer approaches and gun violence likely increases, Detroit police and federal law enforcement agencies will be working together to identify and disrupt groups that engage in gun violence.

"This team is puttingevery trigger-puller in the city of Detroit on notice," Deir said. "Far too many people have died. ... It's got to end."

Ofthe 40 alleged gang members named in the indictment, 38 are in custody; two remain on the loose, including one alleged killer.

According to the indictment, theVice Lords group is a national gangthat was founded in Chicago in the 1960s. For years, this grouphas engaged in high-level drug trafficking involving cocaine, heroine and fentanyl, among other substances.

The grouphas a five-star symbol and multiple branches, including theInsane Vice Lords,the Mafia Insane Vice Lordsand the Traveling Vice Lords.

Authorities say the gang's main purpose is to sell drugs, protect its turf, provide money to jailed members and preserve its power through fear and intimidation. And it maintains a strong presence within the Michigan Department of Corrections, authorities say.

More:Latin Counts gangster gets 30 years; Vice Lord gets 20 for forcing minor into prostitution

More:How Instagram helped FBI bust smash-and-grab diamond thieves in Detroit

Chicago is considered the "Holy Land" of the group, which is comprised of Kings and Princes who rule, and the so-called Universal Elites, who run sections of a city or area. To get into the gang, one is either brought in through a blessing —a prayer is read —or a beating.

And everyone takes a code of silence.

"An act of treason is punished by no less than a lifetime of misery or death," the indictment states.

Numerous gang members are accused of carrying out different crimes for the organization, including:

  • Arranging for a prisoner to be stabbed in the face.
  • Opening fire on a house oftwo ex-gang members who had cooperated with the feds.
  • Carrying out armed robberies.
  • Selling cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana on the black market.

Authorities said in addition to arresting dozens of suspects, they also seized numerous guns and large amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

As Detroit's Interim Police Chief James White put it: "This is only the beginning."

Charged in the indictment are:Kevin Fordham, 51;Martin Murff, 52;Tamar Watkins, 45;Terry Douglas, 41; Eddie Reid, 36;Gregory Johnson, 41;Spoonie Johnson, 46;Kurteiz Thompson, 32;Javon Wilhite, 32;Schuyler Belew Jr., 28;Davun Baskerville, 31;Gary Porter, 38;Lawon Carter, 32;Anthony Reynolds, 36;Jaylin McNeal, 24;Anthony Najera, 33; Naujeh Carter, 28;Tyrone Fisher, 35; Fabian Toodle, 39;Earnest Lee, 39;Delaino Eppenger, 29;Devan Turner-Bankhead, 35;Angelo Hopson, 38; Brandon Thomas, 34;Kenneth Johnson, 35;Winisford Watkins, 40; Anthony Simmons, 32;Anthony Zigler, 42;Shelton Carter, 30;Artise Johnson, 42;Dwayne Parler, 31;Lateef Moore, 48;Charles Douglas, 41;John Johnson, 43;Zanie Taliaferro, 48;Antione Coleman, 42;Harith Hunter, 42;Ondrome Lewis, 26; Rasean Walker, 44;and Darryl Taylor, 54.

Hometowns were not provided.

ContactTresa Baldas: tbaldas@freepress.com

Feds indict 40 Vice Lord gang members to combat growing crime in Detroit (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated:

Views: 6504

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.