Blood-affiliated gang members are charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
In a federal courtroom in Norfolk, Virginia, a resounding message was sent as a jury convicted three men of conspiracy to commit homicide and related crimes:
- Ronald Jenkins, 42, of Franklin, Virginia
- Japree Brooks, 40, of Murfreesboro, North Carolina
- Malik Newsome, 30, of Ivor, Virginia
They are all members or associates of a Blood-affiliated gang operating in Franklin, were found guilty of engaging in a series of violent incidents, including three shootings ending in homicide in 2017 and 2019.
The court proceedings revealed a disturbing narrative of gang activity, narcotics trafficking, and territorial disputes that culminated in the conviction of the three defendants. The gang is known for its involvement in narcotics trafficking and occasional acts of violence to safeguard its territory.
However, it escalated its actions when a high-ranking member fell victim to a rival Crip-affiliated gang. Seeking retribution, the gang orchestrated and carried out multiple shootings targeting members of the rival gang.
The convictions include serious charges such as:
- Conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering,
- Attempted murder in aid of racketeering for Brooks and Jenkins,
- Discharge, carry, and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence for Brooks,
- Felon in possession of ammunition for Jenkins, and
- Witness tampering for both Brooks and Newsome.
These charges reflect the gravity of the crimes committed and the range of offenses associated with the defendants’ actions.
Ronald Jenkins faces a potential maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and is scheduled for sentencing on April 16, 2024.
Japree Brooks ID facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a potential maximum of life imprisonment. He will be sentenced on April 18, 2024.
Malik Newsome, who could face up to 30 years in prison, is scheduled for sentencing on April 23, 2024. The sentencing decisions will be made by a federal district court judge. They will take a closer look at the US Sentencing Guidelines in question and other application statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, US Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, and various law enforcement agencies made the announcement, underscoring the collaborative effort to bring these individuals to justice.
The homicide investigation was a joint effort by four departments:
- Franklin Police Department (FPD), and
- Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.
They all played a crucial role in uncovering the extent of the gang’s criminal activities.
Trial Attorney Christopher Taylor from CDVCR and Assistant Attorney Kristen Taylor for the Eastern District of Virginia led the prosecution. They were supported with significant contributions from legal intern Madison Albrecht.
This successful conviction is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation, a strategic initiative to identify, disrupt, and dismantle high-level criminal organizations threatening the United States. Established in 1982, OCDETF serves as the flagship of the AG’s focus on tackling crimes such as:
- Organized crime,
- Money laundering,
- Human trafficking,
- Drug trafficking,
- Extortion, and more.
The outcome of this case reinforces the commitment to tackling organized crime and underscores the significant role OCDETF plays in safeguarding communities from the threat of transnational criminal enterprises.
As the legal process unfolds, these convictions stand as a testament to the dedication of law enforcement in ensuring justice prevails, sending a clear message that violence and criminal conspiracies will not go unpunished.