BEMIDJI, Minn. - A Bemidji man and the suspected leader of the Native Mob gang is behind bars after his arrest Wednesday night in northeast Minneapolis.
Wakinyan Wakan McArthur, 33, of Bemidji, who used the aliases "Kon" and "Killa," made his first appearance today on federal charges relating to a detailed criminal enterprise.
Law officers also arrested Christopher Lee Wuori, 24, of Cass Lake, who used the aliases "White" and "Lil White," when they apprehended McArthur without incident, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A third suspected gang member, 23-year-old Eric Lee Bower, of White Earth still remains at large.
The men were named in a federal indictment charging 24 defendants for participation in a well-structured, highly organized gang with influence from the Twin Cities to reservations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The indictment accuses 24 suspected Native Mob members of racketeering and other charges, stating they "regularly engaged in ... drug trafficking, murders, attempted murders, assaults, robberies, and drive-by shootings."
Members were expected to commit acts of violence and crime to maintain membership within the gang and to intimidate rival gangs, which could elevate respect and lead to promotions within the Native Mob. They also maintained and circulated a cache of firearms.
"This office considered it very important" to arrest McArthur, said Jeanne Cooney, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis. "We considered McArthur a leader in the mob. It's important to take him off the streets."
Anyone with information on Bower's whereabouts is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Service tip line at (651) 848-1444.
On Jan. 24, six men appeared on federal charges of conspiracy to participate in racketeering, including Cory Gene Oquist, 22, of Bemidji; Dale John Pindegayosh, 29, of Cass Lake; and Justen Lee Poitra, 26, of Cass Lake.
Oquist, known as "Guns," and Poitra, known as "Justo," face charges of conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Pindegayosh, known as "J.P.," faces conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and being a felon in possession of ammunition.
The statewide sweep of suspected Native Mob members coincided with a prison-wide lockdown. More than 100 local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies have worked on the gang investigation, according to the Department of Justice. Arrests were made on the White Earth, Mille Lacs and Leech Lake Indian reservations.
The Native Mob started in the 1990s in Minneapolis and membership is estimated at around 200.
Federal court papers state the primary objective of the mob is to preserve, protect, promote, and enhance the Native Mob's power, territory, and financial gains by distributing illegal drugs, from crack cocaine to ecstasy.
They also reportedly provide monetary support to other members, including those incarcerated; share with one another police reports, victim statements, and other case discovery; hinder or obstruct officials from identifying or apprehending those wanted by the law; and intimidate witnesses, according to the Department of Justice.
Check back for details.