'Prominent' gang member found guilty on felony weapons charges

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A "prominent member" of a Minneapolis street gang was convicted on weapons charges, connected with what officials allege was an ongoing gang war in Hennepin County.

A federal jury convicted 26-year-old Veltrez Black last week of conspiracy and felon in possession of a firearm, the U.S. Attorney's Office says in a news release. A sentencing date hasn't been set.

Black, a suspected member of the 1-9 gang, was among 11 people indicted last fall on charges that the gang worked with the Stick Up Boys gang to illegally obtain and possess guns. The 10 other co-conspirators have all pleaded guilty, the release notes.

Prosecutors said Black was in possession of 12 guns while a felon and while associating with other 1-9 gang members.

The weapons the gangs illegally obtained were then used in a gang war with two other rival gangs, prosecutors said, which resulted in at least 15 alleged gang members being killed or wounded by guns during the conflict, the release notes.

The Star Tribune says the 1-9 gang and the Stick Up Boys have been in conflict for years with two other gangs – the Taliban and Young 'N Thuggin' – for control over drug turf in north Minneapolis.

When announcing the charges against Black and the others, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a news release, "The indictment of these alleged gang members is a step forward in the fight against violent crime in Minneapolis."

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