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Three national gang leaders convicted of RICO in Detroit

DETROIT, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Three leaders of a national gang were convicted of RICO in Detroit, the United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Michigan announced on Dec. 9. 

A jury convicted the high-ranking leaders of the Almighty Vice Lords Nation (AVLN) of RICO conspiracy after a six-week trial in federal court. 

According to the evidence, AVLN, had a criminal enterprise that consisted of crimes of violence, drug dealing, and more, across the country. 

The AVLN enterprise started in Chicago, which is still considered its headquarters. 

The AVLN is divided into different branches, each with its own leadership that answers to a "board" in Chicago, according to the attorney's office. 

The trial involved leaders of two branches, the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, and the Insane Vice Lords. 

"The Almighty Vice Lords Nation is a criminal enterprise that followed its own laws rather than the laws of the United States. Through the hard work of this investigation and trial, we have said no more; we will not tolerate the violence and criminality the Vice Lords stand for and perpetuate," United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison said. "With this verdict, we have dismantled the leadership of multiple branches of this criminal organization and disrupted their ability to operate in our neighborhoods."  

According to the attorney's office, the jury convicted:

  • Martin Murff, 54, of Chicago, had the title of "Prince" and was the highest-ranked Mafia Insane Vice Lords in the country and a member of the national leadership of the AVLN. 
  • Kevin Fordham, 53, of Detroit, a "Prince," who was the highest-ranked Insane Vice Lord in Michigan and a member of the national leadership of the AVLN. 
  • Eddie Reid, 39, of Detroit, a "Chief" and the highest-ranked Mafia Insane Vice Lord in Michigan.

The leaders worked together and agreed that they or their enterprise members would commit acts of racketeering, including murder, narcotics, trafficking, and witness intimidation, according to evidence shown at trial. 

Law enforcement collected in one seizure over 2.5 kilograms of pure fentanyl that was supposed to go to Detroit, the attorney's office said. 

"The Almighty Vice Lord Nation is a shell of what it was. Today's verdict against Martin Murff, Eddie Reid, and Kevin Fordham sends a strong message to gangs across the Detroit - Chicago metropolitan areas….cease and desist with poisoning and terrorizing our communities with senseless gun violence and drug trafficking. If you do not, serious consequences will come," ATF Special Agent in Charge James Deir said. "These defendants posed as legitimate community members while overseeing an interstate criminal enterprise that killed and maimed people in both Michigan and Illinois. Their flagrant assault on our way of life ends today with this just verdict."

The jury acquitted Kenneth Johnson, who will return to the Michigan Department of Corrections to serve a long sentence for an unrelated conviction, the attorney's office said.

More than 20 other members of the AVLN were indicted as a result of the investigation and await trial in federal court. 

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