Six leaders of the Detroit Highwaymen Motorcycle Club were found guilty on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to violate federal racketeering laws and conspiracy to commit murder, along with controlled substance, stolen property, and firearm violations, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced.
"Violent crime is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney's Office, and we will use all of the tools available to us to attack violent criminal organizations like this one," according to McQuade.
These six defendants are the first of 91 Detroit Highwaymen members and associates to go to trial.
Leonard "Dad" Moore, 61, Joseph "Little Joe" Whiting, 56, Anthony "Mad Anthony" Clark, 52, Michael "Cocoa" Cicchetti, 55, Aref "Scarfare" Nagi, 46, and Gary "Junior" Ball Jr., 44, were found guilty Thursday by a federal jury in U.S. District Court. The jury deliberated for approximately 25 hours before returning the verdict, concluding a two-month long trial.
"Dismantling violent gangs is a continuing priority for the FBI," said Andrew Arena, an FBI special agent in charge. "This verdict is the direct result of joint efforts with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and we will continue to work diligently with our colleagues to investigate and eradicate gangs and the violence they perpetrate."
The Highwaymen Motorcycle Club is headquartered in southwest Detroit and has numerous chapters in the city of Detroit, in several cities in southeast Michigan, and has chapters in other states.
Prosecutors were able to prove the violent nature of the club when witnesses testified to a range of criminal activity including armed robbery, attempted murder, conspiracies to kill witnesses, use of firearms during acts of violence, and the distribution of large amounts of marijuana, cocaine, and steroids.
Evidence at trial also established the highly structured organization and chain of the command of the Highwaymen. These six defendants represented many of the officers, or bosses, of the enterprise. Evidence also showed that other members of the club were heavily involved in narcotics trafficking and theft offenses.
Each defendant faces a potential life sentence due to the nature of the offenses.