Accused members of a notorious Central City drug gang were re-indicted on Friday, this time facing a gang racketeering count that ties some of the six alleged “Young Melph Mafia” members to a handful of killings and other bloodshed from 2007 into last year.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced the 31-count superseding indictment on the same day that a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against three members of “Ride or Die,” a gang that operated in the 8th Ward.
The stomping grounds for the Young Melph Mafia, or YMM, was the old Melpomene public housing complex, now known as the Guste Homes.
At least one of the men named in Friday’s indictment, Lionel Allen, is believed to have been among the intended targets of since-convicted members of the St. Thomas-area “110’ers” gang when gunfire erupted outside a birthday party on May 29, 2012.
Five-year-old Briana Allen was killed by a stray shot from an assault rifle, as was 33-year-old Shawanna Pierce, who had been driving a rental car through the neighborhood.
Briana’s father, Burnell “Baldy” Allen, recently received a life prison sentence in the same federal courthouse for his role in a drug conspiracy centered at the house in the 1200 block of Simon Bolivar Ave., owned by her great-grandmother, where Briana was killed.
Indicted Friday, along with Lionel Allen, were Jawan “Tittie” Fort, Dedrick “Roy” Keelen, Delwin “Poo Stupid” McLaren, Bryan “Killer” Scott and Jeffrey Wilson.
All but Lionel Allen had been named a year ago in an federal indictment that accused 11 men in a drug conspiracy.
The latest indictment replaces that one.
Lionel Allen, Keelen and Fortia face mandatory life prison sentences if convicted of committing murder “in furtherance” of the alleged racketeering.
Allen and Fortia are accused in the April 22, 2012 slaying of Vennie “Funk” Smith, while shooting at Smith’s girlfriend.
Allen also is accused in the indictment in the killing, six weeks later, of Dashawn Hartford in the 2500 block of Dryades Street.
Keelen is named as the killer in the Dec. 16, 2012 slaying of Lawrence Burt and Vivian Snyder in the 2400 block of St. Andrew Street.
Lionel Allen also killed Travis “Streets” Thomas after an “encounter at a nightclub” on May 16, 2013, according to the 36-page indictment. Thomas was shot dead while traveling on Interstate 10 westbound near Metairie Road.
The government could seek the death penalty for Allen, though Polite said prosecutors have not yet decided whether to do so.
Lionel Allen pleaded guilty in the drug conspiracy case involving Burnell Allen and other family members, In June he received a 10-year sentence.
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