Charlotte federal courthouse. Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina.

Four North Carolina men who previously pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges related to murders or attempted murders and other criminal activities as members of the Bloods street gang received prison sentences Wednesday in Charlotte federal court, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Despite the common association of major street gangs like the Bloods, or United Blood Nation, with urban communities, the men hailed from various parts of the state, including Mecklenburg, Gaston, Cleveland and Halifax counties, and were charged in connection with deadly violence and robbery in additional areas of the state.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced the four men.

  • Tyquan Ramont Powell, aka “Savage,” 24, of Charlotte, was sentenced to 35 years in prison plus three years of supervised release. Powell had admitted to racketeering conspiracy involving murder.
  • Lamonte Kentrell Lloyd, aka “Murda Mo” and “Moo,” 26, of Scotland Neck, also received a 35-year prison sentence, plus three years of supervised release. Like Powell, he admitted when pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy involving murder.
  • Thomas Oliver, aka “T.O. Recond,” “Rex,” and “Mr. Trippbadd,” 34, of Gastonia, received the same sentence as Lloyd and Powell. Like them, he had admitted to racketeering conspiracy involving murder.
  • Marquel Michael Cunningham, aka “Mayhem,” 23, of Kings Mountain, received a 15-year prison sentence plus three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy in connection with an attempted murder.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, Lia Bantavani, described the incidents for which the men were charged in a statement Wednesday.

She said Power and Lloyd shot three occupants of a vehicle in Scotland Neck in 2016, killing all three, because they thought one of the victims was cooperating with law enforcement in a case against one of the assailant’s associates. Following this incident, the men traveled to the Charlotte area, “where they received refuge and resources from (Bloods gang) members and associates while attempting to evade arrest,” Bantavani said.

Later, Powell and Lloyd shot and killed one of four people they were attempting to rob at gunpoint in Gastonia. During another robbery attempt by the pair in Charlotte, Bantavanni said, “Lloyd shot the victim in the back of the head, but the victim was effectively treated for his injuries at the hospital and lived.”

Oliver drove himself and several other members of the Bloods from Cleveland County to Chapel Hill, where they attempted to rob a teenager of drugs and money. Although another gang member fatally shot the victim, Oliver was coordinating the robbery. A friend of the victim was also shot but survived.

Cunningham was tied to three violent incidents, according to the Justice Department statement. He committed armed robbery and assaulted a fellow gang member for violating Bloods rules. In November 2014, he signaled fellow Bloods members to shoot a man identified as a member of the rival gang, the Crips. The victim survived without being struck, despite the Bloods firing at least 12 rounds at him.

The four men are tied to a much bigger series of cases against members of the Bloods that so far has resulted in 82 defendants adjudicated as guilty since they were indicted in 2017.

The investigation has involved federal, state and local law enforcement, including the:

  • FBI’s Charlotte field office
  • U.S. Federal Probation
  • U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • IRS Criminal Investigation
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command
  • N.C. State Highway Patrol
  • N.C. Department of Public Safety Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice
  • N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
  • N.C. State Bureau of Investigation
  • New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Office of Special Investigations
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
  • Shelby Police Department
  • Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Gastonia Police Department
  • Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office
  • Scotland Neck Police Department
  • Halifax County Sheriff’s Office

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