By Rob Stallworth
Gang members are grabbing headlines in major urban areas for their crimes and growing propensity toward violence. You expect to hear horrific details about rivals shooting it out on the streets of New York or Chicago in an effort to gain respect or control their “turf” or “hood.” What you don’t hear is this same activity is happening in places like Minneapolis, Minnesota where American Indian Gangs are carving out a name for themselves.
Chris Grant, Native American Gang Specialist, spoke at the Midwest Gang Investigators Association Conference recently and says Native Mob is one of Minnesota’s most violent criminal street gangs.
“I consider Native Mob to be one of the most significant and problematic Native American-based gangs in the country because of their organization, their influence in so many communities and because of their clear propensity to engage in criminal behavior.”
The gang, made up of mostly American Indians, has over 300 identified members out on the street and inside prison…growing at an alarming rate. Grant emphasizes the word identified because “those are the ones who openly claim to be a part of Native Mob and are being tracked throughout the system.” He goes on to say there’s no telling how large the membership is because the ability to document them all becomes lost once they get to an actual indian reservation where they typically have fewer resources to deal with gang issues.
Last year, 25 suspected members of Native Mob were federally indicted on charges such as conspiracy to participate in racketeering, which the indictment alleges members used violence and intimidation to keep themselves in a position of power on the street and in prison. Grant says there are several other gangs on indian reservations and communities throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, “but they have very few members, are loosely organized and have no structure.”
Native Mob is highly structured led by a chief and co-chief, who delegate and encourage members to beat or murder their enemies, or anyone who shows disrespect. They meet monthly to hash out their plan of attack against anyone who gets in their way. So far, at least three members of Native Mob have gone to trial and been convicted of the charges against them. Many in law enforcement are hopeful these latest convictions will send a clear message to other gang members who follow.
About the Author: Rob Stallworth is a Deputy Chief Probation and Parole Officer for the Virginia Department of Corrections in the Manassas, Virginia Field Office. His career spans more than 15 years with the department where he has served in various positions such as Gang Specialist and Academy Adjunct Instructor. Rob holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, D. C. He is also a member of American Military University’s Public Safety Outreach Team.