CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Federal authorities say 83 members of the United Blood Nation gang have been indicted as part of a five-state crackdown on gang activity.
A news release from the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday said more than 600 federal, state and local law enforcement officers carried out the arrest warrants in Charlotte and other locations across North Carolina. Arrests were also made in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, and New York.
A federal grand jury returned the indictments on Monday. Of the 83 people named in the indictments, officials said 27 are already behind bars and 10 are still at large.
Charges outlined in a sweeping 162-page indictment connected a web of seemingly unrelated crimes in the Charlotte region that go back at least to 2015, including multiple murders, racketeering, firearms trafficking, robbery and bank fraud. Gang members are tied to at least seven killings and multiple shootings.
The reach of the gang extended from small North Carolina towns like Concord and Shelby into prisons of multiple states. In one 2016 example, UBN members smuggled cell phones, narcotics, marijuana and razor blades into the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, federal authorities say.
The indictment also alleges illegal activity as far away as the Florida panhandle and the New York prison system. Other crimes are noted without mention of locations. In other sections of the indictment, purported gang members are accused of passing bad checks or using phony credit cards involvings tens of thousands of dollars in transactions.
United Blood Nation, an East Coast offshoot of the better-known Bloods gangs of California, is well known around Charlotte and a frequent target of law enforcement.
It also cites a series of crimes committed in Florida, including Pensacola, Pace and Gulf Breeze.