Big Money Block Boyz gang case to again go before appellate court in Baton Rouge _lowres

Advocate Staff Photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Members of the "Big Money Block Boyz" are led from a staging area to a transport bus at the Louisiana State Police Headquarters in April 2014. A multi-agency operation early morning "round-up" operation netted 24 arrests. The "Big Money Block Boyz" are a criminal organization based out of the Gardere area.

A Baton Rouge man previously described by state authorities as a member of the now-defunct Gardere-area Big Money Block Boyz gang has been convicted on federal drug and gun charges.

Nathaniel Turner, 33, faces a sentence of anywhere from five years in prison to life behind bars as a result of his conviction Wednesday and several prior convictions, U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin announced Friday.

Turner has a 2006 drug conviction, a 2011 second-degree battery conviction and a 2017 indecent behavior with a juvenile conviction.

Earlier this year, federal authorities armed with an arrest warrant found Turner sleeping on a couch with a 9 mm pistol, AR-15 style rifle, heroin, digital scale and other drug paraphernalia within his immediate reach, Fremin said.

Turner was among 19 alleged Block Boyz members and associates indicted by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury in 2014 on charges ranging from gun and drug counts to conspiracy, racketeering and attempted murder.

Charges against a half-dozen of those defendants, including Turner, were dismissed. He had been charged with racketeering, conspiracy and drug counts.

A number of the 19 defendants pleaded guilty, including the gang's reputed leader, Christopher Finister, of St. Gabriel. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison on murder conspiracy and drug charges.

Another ex-Block Boyz member, Davontay Ricks, received a 20-year prison term in the state case after also pleading guilty to murder conspiracy and drug charges. That sentence is running concurrently with an eight-year federal prison term on gun and drug conspiracy charges.

East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors said the 2014 indictment effectively dismantled the gang.

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.