Grand jury indicts alleged members of a violent street gang

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted alleged members of a violent street gang in Providence on racketeering charges, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

Six men were charged for allegedly associating with a criminal enterprise, the Chad Brown gang. They are: Delacey Andrade, Keishon Johnson, Montrel Johnson, Marcel Jones, Kendrick Johnson and Christopher Britto. All are between the ages of 22 and 30.

Four were charged using a federal law designed to combat organized crime. U.S. Attorney Stephen Dambruch said they’re using the RICO statute to hold the men responsible for allegedly participating in the gang.

The crimes detailed in the indictment include four non-fatal drive-by shootings. Authorities say ballistics linked six shootings to the same handgun.

Most attorneys for the defendants couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The attorneys for Britto and Kendrick Johnson said they couldn’t comment this early in the case.

The indictment was the result of a two-year investigation by the Providence Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. attorney’s office and the state attorney general’s office. They began working together after shell casings from crime scenes were linked to the same handgun using the ATF’s national ballistics network, according to Kenneth Kwak, assistant special agent in charge at the Boston Field Division. He said they’re using the ballistics network more proactively to target the most violent offenders.

Dambruch said it’s not the end of the investigation because there have been homicides no one has been charged with yet.

According to the indictment, members of the Chad Brown gang engaged in drug trafficking, firearms offenses, drive-by shootings, felony assaults, attempted murders and murders. The gang is named after a public housing complex in Providence, and its members are expected to shoot and kill members of rival gangs, including the East Side gang, the indictment says.

Three of the men are in federal custody and two are in state custody. Jones is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare described the men as “key players” in the gang. He said he hopes the indictment sends a message to any other gang members who want to step up and take their place.

The anti-racketeering statute was last used locally to prosecute members of the Latin Kings gang in the 1990s, Dambruch said.

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