7 Minneapolis gang members indicted on drug trafficking charges

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Seven members of two Minneapolis gangs have been indicted on drug trafficking charges after officials say they conspired to distribute crack cocaine throughout greater Minnesota, where they could make more money.

Federal and local authorities announced the 31-count indictment Wednesday, charging leaders and other members of the Taliban and the Young N Thuggin (YNT) gangs with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.

These charges come a few months after 11 high-ranking members of the Taliban/YNT's rival gangs – 1-9 (19 Block Dipset) and Stick Up Boys – were indicted.

“We are today announcing a new indictment of their main rivals. Leaders and members of the Taliban and YNT are charged with using violence and intimidation to control a drug distribution operation stretching from Minneapolis to Fargo," U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a news release.

The following people were indicted Wednesday:

  • Louis Lee Frasier Banks, also known as "G.I.," age 25.
  • Carnel Lavel Harrison, also known as "Boo Man," age 26.
  • Dejuan Pierre Darkyse Washington, also known as "DJ," age 23.
  • Terell Vonshay Roberson, also known as "Get Right," "Can't Get Right" and "Slim," age 18.
  • Laquedrick Lemel As-Sidiq, also known as "Quady" or "C," age 25.
  • Donte Tramayne Smith, also known as "Five," age 25.
  • Cortez Davon Blakemore, also known as "Tez," age 24. (He is not facing drug charges, only a charge for being a felon in possession of a firearm.)

According to the indictment:

Those charged in the indictment were members of the Taliban or YNT gangs, based in North Minneapolis, which organized for the purpose of making money by trafficking in illegal drugs, among other criminal activity.

The members of the gangs frequently traveled to St. Cloud, Duluth and Fargo to sell crack because they could make more money – a "rock" of crack (about .2 to .3 grams) sold in Minneapolis for $20 would fetch $50 in greater Minnesota, while an "eight ball" (3.2-3.5 grams) that would sell for $150 in the metro, would be worth $220-$250 in St. Cloud.

Some of the gang members charged would also use weapons to "protect turf, profits and product" and also used firearms to retaliate threats or assaults by their rivals.

For years, the Taliban/YNT has been locked in a turf war with 1-9/Stick Up Boys, which, in recent years, has led to at least six killings and countless shootings, the Star Tribune reports.

The Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of multiple agencies including the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments, the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, along with St. Cloud officials were all part of the investigation that led to this indictment, the release says.

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