Skip to main content

'Undisputed leader' of Native Mob sentenced; federal case nears end

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A Cass Lake man described by prosecutors as the "undisputed leader" of the regional Native Mob street gang was sentenced Tuesday to 43 years in prison, the Star Tribune reports.

Wakinyon Wakan McArthur, 36, was found guilty in March of 2013 on six counts, including racketeering, the FBI said in a press release at the time.

In the release, the FBI lays out different actions prosecutors say McArthur was involved in over a yearlong period beginning in March of 2010, including:

  • A drive-by shooting intended to kill a man, which happened while the victim was walking with his young daughter.
  • A meeting to discuss killing fellow Native Mob members, transporting firearms from northern Minnesota to Minneapolis, drug trafficking, collecting money for mob members in prison, identifying people they believed to be working with law enforcement, and more.
  • Ordering a drive-by shooting of a rival gang member's apartment in Bemidji
  • Ordering a home invasion in Cass Lake.

On Tuesday, at a courtroom the Star Tribune described as having extra security, McArthur was sentenced to 43 years in prison which he must serve 85 percent of, giving him a chance to get out at some point. The paper reports he expressed remorse for his actions at the sentencing.

According to the FBI, the Native Mob originated in Minneapolis in the early 1990s, and is now most active in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment called the Native Mob one of the largest and most violent American Indian gangs in the U.S. Membership is estimated at 200, with new members – including juveniles – regularly recruited from communities with large, male, Native American populations.

2 more sentencings wrap case

In addition to McArthur, 26-year-old Anthony Francis Cree from Cass Lake was sentenced Tuesday for his role as a "soldier" in the crime syndicate, the Star Tribune says.

He and McArthur become the 26th and 27th members of the Native Mob to be sent to prison as a result of the federal investigation. One more sentencing was scheduled Tuesday – 37-year-old William Earl Morris – but things ran long and his sentencing was rescheduled for Friday, the paper says.

Both were convicted at the same time as McArthur – Cree on six counts, including charges of attempted murder and racketeering; and Morris on four counts.

Of the more than two dozen suspected mob members charged as part of a 57-count indictment, McArthur, Cree and Morris were reportedly the only three who did not accept a plea deal. Charges against some of the other suspects include murder, possession of a firearm, methamphetamine trafficking, assault and racketeering conspiracy.

A 'scourge' in American Indian communities

Violence perpetrated by the Native Mob was not limited to disputes with rival gangs.

In winter of 2011, Native Mob member Jeromee Jon Kraskey, 32 years old at the time, was murdered in south Minneapolis – shot in the head in an alley. Shawn Michael Martinez, also a member of the mob, pleaded guilty and in the summer of 2013 was sentenced to 43 years in prison.

“Learn from my story. Put yourself in [Jeromee’s] place, his children’s place or my place. I want people to really think about this," Kraskey's mother Crsytal Goose told Indian Country Today Media Network after her son's death, in a piece called "Native Mob: A Scourge in Minnesota Plagues Indian Communities."

Men like Goose's son have few male role models, she told the network, and because of that are vulnerable to being seduced by the gang. He was in and out of prison, got a job in a machine shop but then got laid off and picked up another felony conviction – making it harder for him to get another job, she said.

And the Native Mob was there. Present not just in life for Kraskey, but in death – Goose told the network some mob members actually showed up to his funeral, which incensed her.

“The Mob is manipulative and smooth," she said she tells her grandchildren, "but they are dangerous.”

After the January 2012 indictment, MPR reported authorities tracked a decrease in gang activity in some tribal areas, which they credited to the arrests. A Leech Lake narcotics officer, Dave Ulberg, said warrants to search suspected crack houses dropped 70 percent; for other drugs, it fell 40 percent. In addition, he said the arrests made the fear of retribution for working with law enforcement less of a factor, and more information was being shared.

Next Up

south st paul mayor twitter 2

'Just took this': MN mayor tweeting others' pics says it's for 'entertainment'

The mayor told Bring Me The News his goal on Twitter is to spread joy.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 19

More than 44,000 new cases reported from the holiday weekend.

rise bagel co

Bagel shop closes amid vax-or-test mandate, posts: 'All are welcome here'

Other Twin Cities restaurants have also temporarily closed this week.

Rick Spielman

Spielman: 'It was constantly like a moving target all the time'

Spielman said drafting and rostering players who fit the scheme was difficult with all of the offensive coordinators Mike Zimmer had.

police lights

Suspect fled police, found hiding in old camper in scrap yard

Police say they were trying to pull him over for driving without any lights.


Omicron fading in Minnesota? Wastewater detection provides hope

Wastewater samples can help predict a rise or fall in COVID-19 cases.

covid vaccine card

COVID: Minneapolis, St. Paul vaccine-or-test rule for dining now in effect

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test are required.

freight train railroad tracks

Man crawls to safety before train hits his stuck wheelchair

The incident happened Tuesday on Highway 169.

US Bank Stadium

Sizing up Vikings coaching candidates we know about so far

A closer look at some of the head coaching candidates interviewed by the Vikings

St. Paul police

St. Paul: Man called police to report he killed his wife

Police are also investigating a separate fatal shooting in the Frogtown neighborhood.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves survive Knicks' second-half barrage to get back to .500

Karl-Anthony Towns' lay-in helped Minnesota get a win in The Garden.


Murder added to charges against Native Mob suspects

Two dozen alleged members of the Minneapolis-based gang known as the Native Mob had already been indicted on drug and racketeering charges. Now a grand jury has added a murder charge. Prosecutors say the victim was killed because the gang mistakenly believed he had told authorities about their activities.

Police raid Minnesota reservations in 'Native Mob' investigation

WCCO reports the Justice Department has indicted two dozen people with alleged connections to a crime ring known as the "Native Mob." Authorities believe the gang has about 200 members and connections to communities in Minnesota. Police reportedly conducted raids on the White Earth, Mille Lacs, and Leech Lake Indian reservations, as well as in the Twin Cities.

u.s. attorney

Three Native Mob gang members sentenced for meth distribution, assault

The three were sentenced in U.S. District Court Wednesday.

Update: Two of three Native Mob suspects arrested

The U.S. Attorney's Office reports two alleged gang members, including the suspected leader, were located in northeast Minneapolis. The Bemidji Pioneer reports federal agents are looking for another member still at-large. Minnesota prisons were locked down last week while authorities conducted raids and rounded up suspects accused of murder, racketeering and other crimes.

Police catch up with last Native Mob suspect

The Bemidji Pioneer says police have arrested the last at-large defendant wanted in connection to what authorities call a widespread criminal organization. The Native Mob has about 200 members and operates in the Twin Cities and in reservations across the Midwest, according to police.

court gavel

Native Mob member sentenced for drug trafficking, firearm charges

Tevin Jay Maurstad of Minneapolis was sentenced to 270 months in prison on Wednesday.