Daniel Mathis, Shantai Shelton, Mersadies Shelton, and Travis Bell (left to right)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) -
Nine people now face federal charges in relation to being involved in a violent gang connected to the kidnapping and murder of Captain Kevin Quick. Authorities say the new charges highlight a growing problem in Virginia: gangs doing business where you'd least expect them.
Investigators say most of the suspects are part of a violent street gang, the "99 Goon Syndikate" which is a branch of the "Bloods."The indictment is 39 pages long.All nine suspects plead not guilty in federal court on Friday.
They are also accused of terrorizing several counties. "That pattern of racketeering activity alleges the criminals participated in a series of commercial robberies of convenience stores in Charlottesville, Louisa and Goochland and Fluvanna counties," says U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy.Most of the robberies were armed and the gang is also accused of selling illegal drugs across Virginia.
Now, Daniel Mathis,18, his sisters Shantai, 24, and Mersadies Shelton, 20 and Travis Bell also known as Kweli Uhuru, 23, face the most serious charges which could bring the death penalty.
"Most significantly perhaps the abduction, kidnapping and murder of Waynesboro Police Officer Captain Kevin Quick," says U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy.
According to the indictment, Bell was higher up in the gang hierarchy with the title, "Big Homie."Mathis was a "Soldier," Shantai Shelton was a "Sergeant" and Mersadies Shelton's title is unknown.
The four are accused of carjacking and kidnapping Quick on January 31, holding him against his will, withdrawing money from his accounts, then murdering him in a wooded area in Goochland, according to the 28 count indictment.
Mathis and the Sheltons are all siblings from Albemarle who were arrested at an Alexandria hotel in the case in February. Bell, also known as Kweli Uhuru, was later arrested and charged with gang participation during the Quick death investigation.
Quick was missing for nearly a week before his body was discovered.
Previous search warrants show Quick's last communication was two text messages sent to his girlfriend on January 31. Police said Quick left his mother's house in Afton to go see a woman 20 miles away in Albemarle, with whom he has a four-month-old daughter. Quick has been legally separated from his wife since 2007, though the divorce was never finalized.
Quick never made it to the Turtle Tree Apartments where his daughter and mother of the child live. The Turtle Tree Apartment complex is less than two miles from where the suspects live, according to police.
The documents also show Quick was laid off three weeks ago and his severance money hasn't been accounted for.
Quick's SUV was found on Cedar Hill Road in Louisa, not far from where a shooting occurred Sunday night. State Police say his silver Toyota 4Runner was also seen in Fork Union and Manassas.
The federal grand jury indicted five others in connection with racketeering and obstruction of justice tied to the case. Anthony Lee White. Gert Arthur Lee Wright III, Anthony Darnell Stokes, and Devante O'Brian Bell face a number of robbery, drug, weapons and gang charges.
Leslie Hope Casterlow is charged with obstruction of justice and prosecutors say she is not a member of the gang. Prosecutors said they couldn't speak to the possible motive in the case.
"Gangs are here!" Heaphy told reporters. That the message jurisdictions involved in this federal case want to send to other parts of Virginia.Louisa leaders say steps are now being taken.
"We need to take steps to make sure that gang members are identified as early as possible, the best place to do that is in the schools," says Rusty McGuire, the Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney.
McGuire says Louisa will be working closely with a program in Charlottesville to combat this growing, disturbing crime trend.
Right now the trial is set for July 23rd for all nine suspects.The murder charges could become capital murder charges but that will be up to the Attorney General.
Here is a breakdown of the gang members with their titles:
Halisi Uhuru aka Gert Wright III – OOG ("Double Original Gangster)
Anthony Stokes – Original Gangster
Travis Bell aka Kweli Uhuru (not related to Halisi) – Big Homie
Devante O'Brian Bell(brother to Travis Bell, no mugshot) – Soldier
Anthony White – Soldier
Shatai Shelton – Sergeant
Mersadies Shelton – unknown
Daniel Mathis – Soldier
Juvenile #1 – Soldier
According to the indictment there was a "Goon Oath" and a "99 Goon Oath" which in part read "Family over foe. But Double Nine Gangster over all.We are the chosen few who will forever remain Teflon koated.Hail an Praise!"According to documents "Teflon" stands for "teaching and educating future leaders of our nation."The gang also had a constitution.
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