ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR News) - ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR News) - Four suspected gang members in Roanoke have been indicted on murder and other crimes, allegedly as members of the "Rollin 30s" gang in Roanoke. The indictment, returned by federal grand jury last week but unsealed Monday, lists Sean Guerrant, Demonte Mack, Trayvone Kasey, and Chauncey Levesy.
The indictment alleges that - under the direction of Guerrant - Mack, Kasey, and Levesy were involved in the murder of 17-year-old Nickalas Lee on June 15, 2017. It also alleges that Kasey robbed and murdered Markell Girty on February 9, 2018.
Mack and Kasey potentially face the death penalty; Levesy and Guerrant potentially face life imprisonment.
"These racketeering charges are the most serious under federal law," said United States Attorney Thomas Cullen. He adds that Department of Justice prosecutors will decide whether or not to seek the death penalty, which he expects them to announce in the next couple of months.
Cullen says that all four men, who he calls "serious players" in the gang, are in custody. He applauded the "overwhelming" cooperation from people throughout the community, and the hard work of federal, state, and local law enforcement.
He says the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force in Roanoke, which spearheaded the effort and devoted "tens of thousands" of man-hours toward these charges, is comprised of FBI agents, members of VSP, the ATF, Roanoke Police Department, and Roanoke County Police Department.
"Let me be clear," he said. "This indictment is only the first step in a coordinated and sustained assault on violent gangs in Roanoke."
WATCH: Federal, state, and local officials announce federal charges against Roanoke gang members.
Officials released the following information about the case:
Federal, state and local authorities announced this afternoon the first major federal prosecution of organized gang activity in Roanoke as part of the newly reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods violent crime reduction initiative. The indictment charges four suspected gang members of the “Rollin 30s” gang in Roanoke with crimes including racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit murder. Two of the defendants were charged with murder in aid of racketeering and related firearms offenses. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Roanoke City Police Chief Timothy Jones, and John Lenkart, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, made the announcement.
“This indictment is the first step in what will be a coordinated and sustained assault on gang-related violence in the City of Roanoke,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated. “I am grateful for the FBI’s leadership, as well as the cooperation and dedication of our other federal, state, and local law-enforcement partners. Reducing violent crime is my top priority as U.S. Attorney, and we are all committed to working together to achieve this goal.”
“A little over three months ago U.S. Attorney Cullen and I stood with our fellow law enforcement partners in Danville, Virginia announcing indictments for over a dozen violent criminals related to gang activity; we stand here today in Roanoke making a similar announcement. I said then, “We are not finished” and today’s indictments reflect our continued effort to make communities in the Commonwealth safer,” Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division said today. “Our Central Virginia Violent Crimes Task Force will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to address this criminal plague that lingers in the corners of your neighborhoods; and encourage concerned citizens to report criminal activity to law enforcement.”
On September 25, 2018, a federal grand jury seated in U.S. District Court in Roanoke returned an indictment, under seal, charging four individuals. Those indictments were unsealed today.
The grand jury has charged the following:
· Sean Denzel Guerrant, a.k.a. “Denk” “Dink” and “Harlem Denk,” age 27, of Roanoke, with one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
· Demonte Rashod Mack, a.k.a. “Murda,” age 29, of Roanoke, with one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of using a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence, and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.
· Trayvone Raycron Kasey, a.k.a. “30,” age 19, of Roanoke, with one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of using a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence, and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.
· Chauncey Dion Levesey, a.k.a. “Cee Guzman,” age 24, of Roanoke, with one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
The Rollin’ 30s Crips, also known as the Rollin’ 30s or “Dirt Gang” is a national street gang founded in the greater Los Angeles, California area with smaller sets in other cities throughout the United States, including Roanoke, Virginia. The Roanoke set of the Rollin’ 30s operated primarily in northwest Roanoke, centered in and around the Lansdowne neighborhood.
According to the indictment, beginning no later than April 22, 2017, Guerrant, Mack, Kasey, and Levesy, together with others known and unknown to the grand jury, conspired to conduct a pattern of racketeering activity including multiple threats and acts involving violent crime.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that between on or about June 14, 2017, and June 15, 2017, Guerrant, Mack, Kasey, and Levesy conspired to murder “Victim D.F.” The indictment further claims that Mack, Kasey and Levesy murdered “Victim N.L.” at the direction of Guerrant.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Roanoke City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Crimes Task Force. The investigation was a coordinated effort involving law enforcement assets from the Virginia State Police, Roanoke County Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Assistant United States Attorneys Grayson A. Hoffman and Matthew M. Miller are prosecuting the case for the United States.
A Grand Jury Indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federal program designed to bring together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting each community’s most violent criminals. Attorney General Sessions directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as the local civilian community, to develop effective, targeted strategies to reduce violent crime. This case is a product of that collaborative effort.