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Jury deliberations to begin in Native-American gang trial

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UNDATED (WSAU)  A federal court jury in Minneapolis is about to decide whether three members of an American Indian gang are guilty of racketeering. Closing arguments began yesterday in a nearly two-month-long trial involving the Native Mob, a gang known to terrorize people mainly in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Assistant U-S Attorney Andrew Winter said the Native Mob dealt in murders, drug trafficking, and witness retaliation. Winter said alleged group leader Wakinyon McArthur and members Anthony Cree and William Morris resorted to violence to uphold the gang’s reputation. McArthur’s lawyer, Frederick Goetz, said members may have committed individual crimes – but there’s no evidence of organized racketeering. The three defendants were the only ones not to accept plea deals, after 25 people were charged in a 57-count indictment.

Prosecutors say racketeering is a tool that’s rarely used against gangs – but they say it’s necessary in this case in order to take down the entire enterprise. The National Gang Threat Assessment from 2011 listed the Native Mob as among the nation’s most violent Indian gangs. Officials said it was formed in the 1990’s to set up turf for drug dealing.

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