A federal jury in Shreveport recently found five members of the “Block Boyz” gang guilty on RICO and drug trafficking offenses, as well as firearm offenses, according to U.S. Attorney David Joseph's office.
The five Shreveport residents found guilty were: DeMarcus D. Morris, 29; Jimmie R. Durden Jr., 29; Lonnie D. Johnson, 24; Gary J. McCain, 24; and Larshanda C. Davenport, 45.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote presided over the trial that started Monday, Sept. 17, and ended last week. The jury deliberated for approximately five hours before returning the verdict.
All of the defendants were named as part of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization or RICO conspiracy in the indictment, which was filed in July of 2017.
The defendants were found guilty of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Distributing Crack Cocaine, and Distributing Powder Cocaine.
The “Block Boyz” gang has terrorized the Queensborough neighborhood for too long, according to Joseph.
“Today’s verdict will bring some peace to the citizens in Shreveport, and sends a clear message to drug dealers and gangs that this type of violent crime will not be tolerated - you will go to federal prison,” Joseph said. “These defendants were given a fair trial, and now they will face their consequences. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the citizens of our communities to rid our streets of violent crime, and make our communities a safer place to work, live and play.“
Evidence admitted at trial revealed that beginning in 2012, the defendants took part in a criminal organization known as the “Block Boyz” and the “Get Money Boyz” or “GMB.”
The organization distributed controlled substances, murdered, robbed, possessed firearms illegally and conducted other crimes primarily within the Queensborough and Ingleside neighborhoods of Shreveport.
“I applaud the jury’s decision and thank them for their hard work and sacrifices throughout this trial,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric J. Rommal said. “I also commend the great work put forth by all of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to locate, apprehend, and bring the “Block Boyz” to justice. Without a doubt, the residents of Shreveport will feel much safer now and hopefully be able to reclaim their neighborhoods.”
Gang members were charged with at least 66 acts that members of the organization committed to further the RICO conspiracy. The acts include threats, sale of drugs and shootings. The organization sold crack cocaine, powder cocaine, roxicodone, marijuana, ecstasy and alprazolam. Gang members sold illegal drugs and committed armed robberies. They maintained and circulated a collection of firearms for use in their criminal activity and used cell phones to operate their criminal enterprise. Members of the organization bragged about their illegal activity, such as their possession of firearms, and took pictures of themselves with firearms and money to intimidate others and increase their position in the community.
As a result of their conviction on the RICO count, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison.
In addition to the RICO penalties, four of the five defendants face additional penalties for the drug and firearm offenses.
The defendants also face fines up to $5 million and forfeiture of property seized in the case.
Frank J. Morris, 25; Ravion M. Alford, 23; Rodrick R. Hicks, 24; and Golanda W. Atkins, 41 all of Shreveport, were also indicted as part of the conspiracy. Alford pleaded guilty on Dec. 21, 2017 to the RICO count. The court set sentencing for Oct. 17. Hicks pleaded guilty on Jan. 29 to the RICO count with a sentencing date of Oct. 17. Morris pleaded guilty on August 30, 2018 to the RICO count with a sentencing date of Jan. 4, 2019. Atkins was dismissed from the indictment on Sept. 7.
The FBI Northwest Louisiana Violent Crimes Task Force, ATF, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Shreveport Police Department participated in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison D. Bushnell and Tennille M. Gilreath are prosecuting the case.