A dozen people who allegedly claimed allegiance to a local Anchorage gang called the "Fairview MOB" have been sentenced in U.S. District Court for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute drugs in the city, launder money and possess weapons, said a statement Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The Fairview MOB is tied to the Bloods street gang in California, the federal prosecutors said.
The last sentence in the drug case was handed down Wednesday when U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess ordered Isaiah Holloway, 27, of Anchorage, to prison for 12 years, followed by probation for 5 years. The other 11 people were sentenced over the past few months for terms that ranged from eight months to 10 years, according to the U.S. attorney's statement.
Some of them also face charges in other criminal cases.
Frank Russo, a federal prosecutor in Anchorage, said in an interview Thursday that the Fairview MOB — or "Members of Bloods" — was associated with the Campanella Park Piru Bloods from Compton, California. Russo said a couple members of the Campanella Park Piru Bloods gang had family or friends in Anchorage, and traveled north, starting the gang in the city's Fairview neighborhood.
"They started coming up and basically inculcating some of the gang lifestyle to some of these younger people in Fairview," Russo said. "And therefore you see videos that were found on (a) defendant's phone of them parading around with guns, yelling, 'Compton of Fairview,' or 'Bompton of Fairview,' because the Bloods don't use the letter 'C' because that stands for the rival Crips gang."
Russo said the defendants would also call out "326," a code for "Compton to Fairview," as well as "obviously doing shootings and selling drugs, which is what gangs do."
According to the U.S. attorney's statement, the drug conspiracy began in 2013 and continued until December 2015. During that time, Holloway acquired drugs, including heroin, cocaine and crack, and worked with the 11 other people to sell them. He maintained a "stash house" in the Government Hill neighborhood, where law enforcement found "large amounts of drugs and money," the statement said.
Several of the people sentenced in the drug conspiracy this year were featured in videos posted on social media, or seized from cellphones, that showed them making gang signs and repeating "Fairview to Compton," Russo said. They also posted music videos on YouTube about selling drugs, he said.
However, the U.S. attorney's statement says that despite the videos, almost all of the defendants "disclaimed membership in a gang at sentencing."
Judge Burgess said during the sentencings, according to the statement, that the defendants were living and promoting a dangerous gang lifestyle, and the sale of drugs and use of weapons to protect the drug conspiracy could only lead to "jail or death."
"Fairview is not Compton, and thanks to the cooperation of federal, state and municipal agencies, it will never be Compton," Russo said in the statement. "But if you act like a gangster, and commit crimes like a gangster, rest assured that law enforcement and the criminal justice system will treat you like a gangster."
Russo said the drug conspiracy was linked to a spike in violence in Anchorage in 2015. He said the Anchorage Police Department started an investigation hoping to buy drugs from the gang members to get them off the streets, and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force later took control of the investigation, and with the assistance of law enforcement, executed search warrants and arrested those who have since been sentenced.
Russo said he believes those arrested made up the bulk of the "Fairview MOB." He said there were "peripheral members out there" that the FBI continued to pursue.
As of Thursday, Dearon Walton, a purported member of the Campanella Park Piru Bloods of California, remained at large. He lived in Compton, Russo said, but would travel to Anchorage to visit with the group of people arrested, and participate in the drug conspiracy. Dearon faces charges of drug conspiracy and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug conspiracy, Russo said.
Russo referred questions about the presence of gangs in Anchorage to the FBI. He said that, "typically, the nature of gangs in Alaska are often shifting and there's new ones coming up. A lot of them start in prisons and once they're released from prison, they continue some gang activities."
The FBI said the supervisor of the Safe Streets Task Force, which specializes in gang activities, was not in the office this week.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the following individuals were sentenced as part of the investigation:
* Angelo Charter, 27, Anchorage, four years for drug conspiracy;
* Malia Green, 22, Anchorage, eight months for drug trafficking;
* Isaiah Holloway, 27, Anchorage, 12 years for conspiracy to distribute drugs and for money laundering;
* Ishmael Holloway, 24, Anchorage, 10 years for drug conspiracy and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime;
* Karl Maddox Jr., 26, Anchorage, 40 months for drug trafficking;
* Christopher Meeks, 23, Anchorage, 22 months for drug trafficking near a school or playground;
* Delano Williams, 26, Anchorage, 20 months for drug trafficking near a school or playground;
* Lamont Moore, 37, Compton, 10 years for drug conspiracy;
* Leonard Moore Jr., 27, Anchorage, 15 months for receiving a gun while under felony indictment and providing false statements;
* Felton Reynold, 28, Anchorage, 20 months for drug trafficking near a school or playground;
* Michael Reynold, 24, Anchorage, five years for drug trafficking near a school or playground;
* Dorian Topps, 23, Anchorage, four years for drug trafficking.