February 22, 2005
A federal grand jury announced the indictment of 17 men with gang-related crimes, all members of a violent gang based in Charlottesville.
The 19 count indictment charges seventeen members with drug trafficking, kidnapping, firearm violations and two homicides, among other crimes. Officials say the gang, known as the 'Westside Crew,' has been active since around 1995, and was based primarily in the areas of 10th and Page Street Northwest.
"Law enforcement estimates that since 1995, members of this gang distributed over 100 kilograms of cocaine and over 250 pounds of marijuana , with a combined street value of over $2.5 million," said U.S. Attorney, John L. Brownlee.
Police have charged Louis Antonio Bryant as the leader. The investigation, which lasted over a year, was a joint effort between the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force, JADE, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, ATF.
"Our goal is to have a community free of violent crime, drug dealers, and illegal guns," said United States Attorney, John Brownlee. "We have once again taken another step forward to accomplishing that great goal."
Fifteen of the seventeen defendants charged are behind bars. Federal agents are still looking for two of the men named in the indictment - Terry Moore and Richard Johns.
A bond hearing for Bryant is scheduled for Friday, February 25th, in federal court. If convicted, each of the seventeen members face up to life in prison and a fine up to four million dollars.