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Sunday, 12 September 2010

Jamal Spaights,went by the names “Mel” and “Bloody Bastard,” was sentenced to 40 years for the RICO count

23:35 |

top two leaders of the so-called Bounty Hunter Bloods/Nine Tech Gangster street gang was sentenced on Friday to 50 years in prison for his role in the gang.

Jamal Spaights, 28, of Portsmouth had pleaded guilty in federal court to one RICO count and one count of possessing a firearm in the commission of an act of violence. The RICO count includes various racketeering acts that he committed while he was a gang member — including conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Spaights, who also went by the names “Mel” and “Bloody Bastard,” was sentenced to 40 years for the RICO count and 10 years for the gun count, according to U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, who announced the sentence via a press release.

“A leader of one of Tidewater’s most violent gangs will now spend most of his life behind bars,” MacBride stated in the release. “This gang infiltrated neighborhoods with drugs and kept them in fear through murder and violent intimidation. We will continue to work with federal and local law enforcement partners to take gang members off our streets and make our citizens safer in their homes and communities.”

The combined gang that Spaights helped lead operated in various neighborhoods in Portsmouth, Suffolk and Chesapeake.

According to court documents, Spaights and two others drove around the Craddock area of Portsmouth on Oct. 16, 2006, looking for someone who was a witness to the murder of Darius Powell, who had been killed by the gang because members thought he had helped rob gang members at a Craddock dice game.

When the witness was located, gang members chased him down with their vehicle, and Spaights shot at him with a 9mm handgun, but missed. During the chase, Spaights’ vehicle crashed into a residence and he and the others fled the scene. Spaights, however, dropped the handgun, which was later recovered by Portsmouth police.

Spaights and seven other members of the Bloods and the Nine Tech Gangsters were arrested in an April sweep resulting from an investigation that included the FBI, the Virginia State Police and the Suffolk and Portsmouth police departments.

At the time of the original arrests, MacBride said the men were “charged with terrorizing neighborhoods in Portsmouth, Suffolk and Chesapeake.”

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