The decision by two branches of the Crips street gang to band together allowed a grand jury to indict six of them under a federal law created in the 1970s to target the Mafia.
U.S. Attorney Deb Gilg announced the indictments Friday as part of a three-year investigation into gang and gun violence in north Omaha.
According to court documents, all six men belong to the 40th Ave Crips or the 44th Ave Crips. They had united to retaliate against their enemies, make more money selling drugs and meet their goal of becoming “the most feared street gang in Omaha,” court documents said.
Because of that, Gilg said, the gang members could be federally charged under an organized crime statute called RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. RICO allows prosecutors to widen the net and to indict people as members of a criminal enterprise rather than as individuals.
Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Omaha police spearheaded the investigation. The men arrested were booked into the Douglas County Jail and face charges related to drugs, witness tampering, homicides and attempted homicides.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer described the six as “the who’s who of gun violence” in Omaha.
» Jerell Haynie, 32, whose street names are “Bootie” and “T.” He is charged with RICO conspiracy, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, attempt to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.
» Greg Bahati, 21, whose street names are “Murk 2x” and “Pooh Bear.” He is charged with RICO conspiracy, threats in aid of racketeering, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
» Dionte Dortch, 22, whose street name is “Killa Tay.” He is charged with RICO conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
» Kendell Tealer, 28. He is charged with RICO conspiracy and violent crime in aid of racketeering in the gang-related shooting death of Mickle Graham. He is facing the death penalty.
» Julio Arias, 24, whose street name is “Rudy.” He is charged with RICO conspiracy.
» Brandon Heard, 25, whose street name is “B.” He is charged with RICO conspiracy and three counts of distribution of crack cocaine.
At least three of the men indicted are connected to other gang-related crimes. Tealer is the twin brother of Kendall Tealer, who a decade ago tried to rob a Benson pawn shop and was shot and killed by the owner.
As a teenager, Bahati faced several juvenile court charges for gun possession. He was shot and critically wounded in 2013 as he stepped outside his home.
Dortch was reportedly the intended target of the gang members whose gunfire killed 5-year-old Peyton Benson in 2014. After the girl was killed, Dortch — who was in Sarpy County Court that morning on a misdemeanor charge and not in the area — posted his thoughts on Facebook.
“I need to vent,” he wrote. “SOMEBODY CALL BEFORE I SIN. I wanna go say something to dat lil gurl mother but what ima say??? feeling like everything my fault should of been here...”
In further posts, Dortch indicated that he knew who the target was.
“I come to DA H44D and here my cousin was ran down and a stray bullet struck a lil gurl, ” he writes. “I need to make it out.”
The grand jury handed down the indictments on Wednesday. Witnesses came forward, including one whose life was threatened but who still testified for the grand jurors, Gilg said.
Gilg pleaded for more witnesses to come forward, because the investigation continues.
“We need your help,” she said. “We have to have your help.
“To me, I can’t think of anything worse ... than to be a parent and to be fearful that when my child walks out the door they may not come back.”
Four other suspects were arrested on drug and gun charges but weren’t indicted under the RICO act.
Gilg said federal prosecutors in Omaha and from the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section will handle the case. The U.S. Marshals Service also was at the press conference announcing the charges.
World-Herald staff writer Todd Cooper contributed to this report.
Contact the writer: 402-444-3100, email@example.com