INDIANAPOLIS -- Federal prosecutors have charged an alleged gang calling themselves "The Mob" connected to 24 pharmacy robberies in Indiana and Kentucky.
Nine Indianapolis men face a dozen federal charges in the case, including racketeer influence and corrupt organizations (RICO) charges, eight counts of interference with commerce by threats or violence and two counts of possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
According to a 31-page federal indictment unsealed Tuesday, the nine defendants were responsible for at least 23 CVS pharmacy robberies in the Indianapolis area, and one in Louisville, Kentucky, between December 2014 and June 2016.
In all, the men are accused of stealing tens of thousands of pills and then reselling them on the streets of Indianapolis. In the process, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said the men recruited juveniles, who the gang referred to as "peons," to commit pharmacy robberies for them.
"The primary purpose of this criminal enterprise was to rob pharmacies of prescription pills and to sell them on the street," U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said at a press conference Tuesday. "But The Mob did much more than rob pharmacies and distribute prescription pills. The Mob enforced a code of silence prohibiting members from talking to law enforcement through threats of violence. The members of The Mob actively recruited juveniles from our streets to further their criminal activities and referred to those juveniles as 'peons' – some of those juveniles as young as 12 years old."
Click the image above to see mugshots for all the alleged members of "The Mob."
Minkler and Deputy U.S. Attorney Brad Blackington said the gang believed their juvenile accomplices would face lesser penalties for the robberies they committed.
"The first of the pharmacy robberies we charged was on Oct. 14, 2015," Blackington said. "The day the robbers were arrested, three of the four were juveniles. They thumbed their noses at the FBI agents. They told them, 'We're juveniles. We'll be out and see you on the streets tomorrow.' None of those four folks have seen the light of day since then. So it's a totally different message they should be getting at this point."
"Clearly there was a belief that there were no consequences if you were a juvenile and committed a pharmacy robbery. That's not the case," Minkler added.
The adult defendants in the case are as follows:
- Larry Warren a/k/a Bayboe, 19
- Miguel Chambers a/k/a Mick, 20
- Kye Jackson a/k/a Fatty, 22
- Anthony Jackson a/k/a Ace, 19
- Duwan Byers a/k/a Rockhead, 21
- Devon Taylor, 20
- Alphonse Turner a/k/a Weezy, 24
- Justin Rudolph, 23
- John Doe a/k/a Tote
Investigators detail in the indictment dozens of messages posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by alleged members of "The Mob" talking about having pills and firearms to sell. The messages also make repeated references to being a member of the gang, adherence to the gang's "code of silence" and to the consequences of "snitching."
"U in court then u a witness then you might end up a victim [sic]," one of the gang members posted, according to the indictment.
"They distributed their threats through social media to stop people from cooperating, talking, helping the police," Minkler said. "On Christmas Day, 2014, a Facebook post ends: 'Don't get killed for giving names. All you snitches gonna have to rest in peace.'"
The indictment also alleges the men shot one of their co-conspirators, identified only as "Individual #3," during a dispute over the distribution of pills following a robbery in October 2015.
Although the victim is not identified by name, the date and address of the fatal shooting matches the death of 19-year-old Malik Perry, who was shot and killed in the 4100 block of Byram Avenue on October 13, 2015, in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.
Minkler said the suspect charged in Perry's death was not listed in the adult indictment -- suggesting the suspect is one of the gang's juvenile "peons."
Federal investigators allege "The Mob" operated generally out of an area on the near-north side of Indianapolis, including the Crown Hill and Butler-Tarkington neighborhoods and a home in the 2800 block of Schofield Avenue in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhoods.
Conviction on a RICO charge alone carries with it a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, along with a fine of up to $250,000. Each count of interference with commerce by threats or violence also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.