MINNEAPOLIS - Updated federal charges against defendants suspected as operating the Native Mob gang now include accusations of murder and additional charges against purported leaders, who have ties to Bemidji, Cass Lake and the surrounding area.
Late last week, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment, charging Shawn Michael Martinez, also known as Tinez, with murder, murder in aid of racketeering, retaliation against a witness by murder and witness tampering.
He is accused of killing fellow Native Mob member Jeremee Kraskey on Feb. 26, 2011.
"The premeditated murder was purportedly committed to keep Kraskey from offering law enforcement information and in retaliation for a mistaken belief that he had already provided information to law enforcement about the gang's activities," a news release issued Tuesday stated.
The Native Mob, a well-structured, highly organized gang with influence from the Twin Cities to reservations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, started in the 1990s in Minneapolis and membership is estimated at around 200.
Court papers details crimes on the state's American Indian reservations - including Leech Lake, Red Lake, White Earth and Mille Lacs - and near Duluth and the Twin Cities area.
Further, the release Tuesday stated defendants Wakinyon Wakan McArthur, Shawn Michael Martinez and Christopher Lee Wuori reportedly held an "emergency" Native Mob council meeting to discuss, among other things, the death of Kraskey.
Law enforcement regarded McArthur, 33, of Bemidji as the Native Mob's leader who directed a widespread criminal enterprise, including violence against witnesses and rival gangs.
The latest federal papers accuse McArthur and Wuori, 24, of Cass Lake of aiding and abetting attempted murder March 4, 2010, when "they tried to kill a man by shooting him three times with a .40-caliber handgun while he held his 5-year-old daughter."
The two men now face charges of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Two other defendants, Anthony Francis Cree and William Earl Morris, were charged in the original indictment with those offenses for the shooting.
The release also states the superseding indictment:
Charges McArthur and Wuori with aiding and abetting a gang "mission" on Aug. 24, 2010, when members of the Native Mob shot at the occupied home of a rival drug dealer in an effort to intimidate him and discourage him from selling drugs on Native Mob turf.
On March 28, 2011, McArthur and Wuori allegedly ordered Native Mob members to carry out a home-invasion robbery at the Leech Lake residence of a rival drug dealer, prompting four gang members, their faces covered, to enter the home, brandishing pistols. The men face additional charges of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence for the home invasion.
Jesus Thomas Ali has been added as a defendant, bringing the total number to 25 in the case. Ali is charged with conspiracy to participate in racketeering, conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence and two counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Among the accusations, the indictment states Ali ordered another Native Mob member to assault someone he suspected of having stolen money from the gang and told a man that he needed to pay the Native Mob $1,500 or be beaten daily.
Other area men arrested and facing charges tied to the gang are Cory Gene Oquist, 22, of Bemidji; Dale John Pindegayosh, 29, of Cass Lake; Justen Lee Poitra, 26, of Cass Lake; Eric Lee Bower, 23, of White Earth.
The indictments filed in this case allege that since at least the mid-1990s, the named defendants and others have conspired to conduct criminal activity through an "enterprise," namely, the Native Mob, in violation of the federal racketeering laws. Federal court papers allege the Native Mob's primary objective was to preserve, protect, promote, and enhance the gang's power, territory, and financial gains.
Association with the gang is often signified by wearing red and black clothing or sporting gang-related tattoos.
Prosecutors say gang members distributed illegal drugs, including crack cocaine and ecstasy, provided money to other members, shared police reports, victim statements, and other case discovery; obstructed law enforcement and intimidated witnesses to Native Mob crimes.
If convicted, defendants in the case face a potential maximum sentence of between 20 years and life in federal prison.