Norfolk, Virginia - Three members of the Nine Trey Gangsters were convicted by a federal jury in the Eastern District of Virginia for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy that included five murders, six attempted murders, and various drug trafficking, robbery, and firearms crimes that spanned all five cities in south Hampton Roads, Virginia in 2015.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick for the Eastern District of Virginia; Attorney General of Virginia Mark R. Herring; Special Agent in Charge Martin Culbreth of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Chief Tonya D. Chapman of Portsmouth Police; Chief Larry D. Boone of Norfolk Police; Chief James A. Cervera of Virginia Beach Police; Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police and Chief Thomas E. Bennett of Suffolk Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis accepted the verdict.
“The Nine Trey Gangsters are a violent set of the Bloods that was responsible for a wave of cold-blooded murders that terrorized Hampton Roads during the 2015 holiday season,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “I commend our dedicated law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors for their tireless efforts to stand up for the five men and women who were senselessly murdered by this vicious gang. Today’s guilty verdicts – which followed a seven-week trial with over 100 witnesses – ensure that these three members of the Nine Trey Gangsters will now face justice for their participation in the gang’s murderous conspiracy.”
“These men inflicted extreme violence in Hampton Roads,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Doherty-McCormick. “They brutally murdered five people, attempted to murder six others, and in addition to selling drugs, committed robberies and other gang-related crimes. This verdict sends a clear message to gang members committing violent crimes in our communities: You will be caught, and you will be prosecuted. Together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute these cases.”
Antonio Lee Simmons, aka Murdock and Doc, 39, of Norfolk, was convicted today of racketeering conspiracy, heroin distribution conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon, use of a firearm resulting in death, use of a firearm during a crime of violence, and various firearm and drug offenses.
Nathaniel Tyree Mitchell, aka Savage, 26, of Portsmouth, Virginia was convicted today of racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon, use of a firearm resulting in death, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Malek Lassiter, aka Leeko, 22, of Portsmouth, was convicted today of racketeering conspiracy, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Simmons, Mitchell and Lassiter will be sentenced on July 19; July 17 and July 18, 2018, respectively.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, the Nine Trey Gangsters are part of the United Blood Nation street gang. From approximately Thanksgiving through Christmas of 2015, the gang members murdered two men and three women, most of whom had no affiliation with the gang. One victim, Linda Lassiter, 48, along with her boyfriend Wayne Davis, 48, was killed just weeks after speaking to the police about a gang-connected shooting at her daughter’s house. The body of another victim, Al-Tariq Tynes, 26, was hidden in the trunk of his car and driven around for days before he was dumped into a ditch in Chesapeake, Virginia. His body was not discovered until early 2016. Jamesha Roberts, 25, a young mother of two children under the age of five, was gunned down in Norfolk after her shift at the airport Starbucks. Witnesses testified at trial that Nathaniel Mitchell, who was in a competition with another Nine Trey member to see who could shoot the most people, killed her for “walking on the wrong side of the street.”
“Today’s verdict demonstrates the commitment of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to hold violent gang members and murderers fully accountable for their actions,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Culbreth. “We will not stand by while violent criminals terrorize our neighborhoods and murder innocent people. I would like to thank the agents, analysts, task force officers, and prosecutors for their unwavering efforts to eliminate gang violence in our communities. We hope this verdict will encourage citizens to continue to come forward and help us provide a safer Hampton Roads.”
“These men are responsible for one of Hampton Roads’ deadliest crime sprees in recent memory,” said Virginia Attorney General Herring. “In just about one month, they inflicted death and mayhem on their communities while trying to settle scores and establish their positions in their gang. Hampton Roads will be safer with these men off the streets, and I appreciate all the hard work and cooperation of local, state, and federal law enforcement and prosecutors that has brought them to justice.”
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Antonio Lee Simmons was the head of a locally based “line” of the gang. After two subordinate members, Anthony Foye and Nathaniel Mitchell, were arrested for an armed robbery of a Shell gas station on Dec. 27, 2015, law enforcement linked a gun and shell casing recovered after the robbery to nine of the crime scenes. Additionally, the same getaway car used at the robbery was captured on video fleeing the scene of a shooting at the Aqua Lounge nightclub in Virginia Beach on Dec. 20, 2015. The two-year investigation by Portsmouth Police Department’s gang unit and the FBI included a technological analysis that tied the gang members to crime scene locations.
A total of six defendants were charged in federal court. In addition to today’s three defendants, who were convicted following a seven-week trial, three defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial. Anthony Foye, aka Ace and Bull, 26, of Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to murder in aid of racketeering and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2. Alvaughn Davis, aka LB, 29, of Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to use of a firearm resulting in death, racketeering conspiracy, and accessory after the fact to murder in aid of racketeering. Davis was sentenced on Oct. 17 to serve 45 years in prison. Donte Brehon, aka Dog Nutz, 36, of Norfolk, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin. Brehon was sentenced on June 5, 2017, to serve 160 months in prison.
The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Billy Club. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph E. DePadilla and Andrew C. Bosse, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Butler of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Teresa A. Wallbaum of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, are prosecuting the case.