A federal indictment was unsealed today charging seven members of the It’s Just Us (IJU) street gang with various crimes including RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by David G. Nanz, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan and Chief James Craig, Detroit Police Department.
“Our message to violent drug-dealing gang members could not be more clear: our federal and state law enforcement team knows exactly who you are, and we are coming after you,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “Today, our neighborhoods are safer because these violent gang members are off our streets.”
Duane Peterson, 35, Dionne Peterson, 34, Deshawn Peterson, 30, Dayquan Johnson, 23, James Davis, 26, Melvin Brown, 21, and Luther Peterson, 26. All are from Detroit.
The indictment alleges a series of racketeering acts including murder and narcotics trafficking allegedly committed by IJU members at the direction of the Duane Peterson. The indictment details the illegal activities of IJU whose territory extended from Detroit to West Virginia, as well as in Flint, and Jackson, Michigan. In Detroit, IJU operated primarily on the eastside of Detroit. The indictment alleges that IJU maintained drug and gun stash houses, and sold drugs in this area. IJU members also claimed certain bars and restaurants as their own. Patrons and owners recognized IJU members and gave them the privilege of carrying firearms inside the business and remaining at the business after hours. The indictment also describes how the gang allegedly generated money through the sale of illegal narcotics and used the proceeds to enrich its members and to purchase more drugs.
The indictment caps numerous law enforcement actions over several years involving this gang. Since 2018, FBI agents and other law enforcement officers including members of the Detroit Police Department, have worked collaboratively to bring individual members of IJU to justice.
Earlier this month, an indictment charging twelve Detroit men with trafficking in controlled substances and other related charges was unsealed. That indictment charged the following individuals:
Demarco Johnson, 30, Maurice Johnson, 45, Gary Johnson, 35, Janard Thomas, 39, Carlouse Johnson, 48, Lanardo Johnson, 45, Dominique Jackson, 28, Michael Thomas, 43, Deantez Johnson, 35, Ricky Poole, 46, Martin Battiste, 47, Marquan Moses, 25
According to this indictment, from 2015 to approximately September 2020, the defendants conspired to distribute controlled substances, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and cocaine base, also known as “crack”, in the Eastern District of Michigan. The indictment also charges specific distributions of controlled substances, and other related charges. The indictment alleges that the defendants and others have utilized residences in Detroit to store, conceal, and distribute controlled substances as well as the proceeds of such drug trafficking. In addition, the indictment alleges that the defendants utilized automobiles and telecommunication facilities to facilitate their drug trafficking. The indictment also alleges that as part of the conspiracy the defendants possessed firearms to protect their controlled substances and used and threatened the use of physical violence in an effort to maintain and protect their drug trafficking activities.
Over 50 search warrants were executed during the course of this investigation.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.