A federal grand jury has handed up a sweeping new racketeering indictment against a half-dozen reputed members of the New Orleans gang tied to the 2013 Mother’s Day second-line parade shooting, accusing the men of dealing drugs for years out of a Frenchmen Street convenience store and committing regular gun violence to protect their turf.
The 24-count document, issued Thursday in U.S. District Court, is the third superseding indictment targeting a gang known as “FnD,” named for its stomping grounds around Frenchmen and North Derbigny streets. It blames the 7th Ward gang for a series of shootings, often in retaliation against rival drug groups.
The new charges broaden the federal case against the alleged gang members significantly and came one day after the sister of the alleged ringleader pleaded guilty to her role in a drug conspiracy.
The Mother’s Day shooting, which injured 20 people and provoked widespread outrage in the city, is described in the indictment as a cluster of attempted murders committed in furtherance of a racketeering conspiracy.
The authorities have said two of the six defendants, Akein “Keemy” Scott, 21, and Shawn “Shizzle” Scott, 25, sprayed bullets into the parade on Frenchmen Street as part of a larger drug feud in the community.
“Members of the enterprise and their associates promoted a climate of fear throughout the area of its operations and adjoining neighborhoods through violence and threats of violence,” the indictment alleges.
The indictment paints a detailed portrait of FnD’s operations and its efforts, dating back to 2004, to expand its territory. It identifies the leader of the gang as Travis Scott, 30, who allegedly joined in 2001 and rose to become the group’s chief supplier and processor of heroin. He allegedly “maintained discipline among members of the enterprise” and shared tips with the gang about how to avoid detection by law enforcement.
Brian “Dubba” Benson, 30, is accused of acting as a top lieutenant, supervising heroin distribution when Travis Scott left town. The alleged Mother’s Day parade shooters, Akein and Shawn Scott, are described as drug dealers and gunmen for the gang along with Stanley “Stizzle” Scott, 22, and Jeremiah “Rocky” Jackson, 24.
“These individuals acted as enforcers by using violence against rival gang members,” the indictment says.
In 2008, according to the charges, FnD members coerced the owners of a convenience store, known at the time as F&D Groceries, into allowing the business to be used as a base for drug dealing.
After the store changed ownership in 2011 and became known as the Frenchmen Meat Market, its owners and employees began engaging in food stamp fraud, the indictment says. The food stamp scheme benefited the gang as well, according to prosecutors, because customers receiving cash from the store in exchange for their benefits could then use that money to purchase heroin, marijuana, crack and other drugs.
The indictment came one day after Travis Scott’s sister, Crystal Scott, another member of FnD, admitted in federal court that she sold drugs out of the meat market, including Xanax pills she referred to as “bars.” Court documents filed in Crystal Scott’s case say the gang also had been using a residence across the street from the convenience store to sell drugs and stash firearms.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched the store in August 2013 and seized surveillance footage that allegedly showed several days of criminal activity, including Travis Scott performing between 20 and 30 “hand-to-hand” drug transactions a day inside the store.
Two other co-defendants, Gralen “Dooley” Benson and Richmond “Ace” Smith, already have pleaded guilty in the case and weren’t named in Thursday’s third superseding indictment. Neither Benson nor Smith has been sentenced.
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