Gang members convicted

Published 10:02 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018

Three members of the Nine Trey Gangsters were convicted Thursday by a federal jury for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy that included five murders, six attempted murders and various drug trafficking, robbery and firearms crimes that spanned all five cities in South Hampton Roads in 2015.

A total of six defendants were charged in federal court. They were Antonio Lee Simmons, 39, of Norfolk; Nathaniel Tyree Mitchell, 25, of Portsmouth; Anthony Foye, 26, of Portsmouth; Malek Lassiter, 22, of Portsmouth; Alvaughn Davis, 29, of Portsmouth; and Donte Brehon, 36, of Norfolk, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The office previously has reported Davis and Foye were Suffolk residents.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

Simmons, Mitchell and Lassiter were convicted Thursday at the end of the seven-week jury trial. The other defendants previously pleaded guilty.

“These men inflicted extreme violence in Hampton Roads,” Tracy Doherty-McCormick, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, stated in a press release. “They brutally murdered five people, attempted to murder six others, and in addition to selling drugs, committed robberies and other gang-related crimes. This verdict sends a clear message to gang members committing violent crimes in our communities: You will be caught, and you will be prosecuted. Together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute these cases.”

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, the Nine Trey Gangsters are part of the United Blood Nation street gang. From approximately Thanksgiving through Christmas of 2015, the gang members murdered two men and three women, most of whom had no affiliation with the gang.

One victim, Linda Lassiter, 48, along with her boyfriend Wayne Davis, 48, was killed just weeks after speaking to the police about a gang-connected shooting at her daughter’s house. The body of another victim, Al-Tariq Tynes, 26, was hidden in the trunk of his car and driven around for days before he was dumped into a ditch in Chesapeake. His body was not discovered until early 2016. Jamesha Roberts, 25, a young mother of two children under the age of five, was gunned down in Norfolk after her shift at the airport Starbucks. Witnesses testified at trial that Nathaniel Mitchell, who was in a competition with another Nine Trey member to see who could shoot the most people, killed her for “walking on the wrong side of the street.”

In February 2017, Simmons attempted to intimidate a witness against him, who was also incarcerated in Western Tidewater Regional Jail, according to the indictment in the case.

“The jail is full of snitches and rats, and I am going to start cutting the tongues out of all the snitches in this jail,” Simmons reportedly said.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Antonio Lee Simmons was the head of a locally based “line” of the gang. After two subordinate members, Anthony Foye and Nathaniel Mitchell, were arrested for an armed robbery of a Shell gas station on Dec. 27, 2015, law enforcement linked a gun and shell casing recovered after the robbery to nine of the crime scenes.

Additionally, the same getaway car used at the robbery was captured on video fleeing the scene of a shooting at the Aqua Lounge nightclub in Virginia Beach on Dec. 20, 2015. The two-year investigation by Portsmouth Police Department’s gang unit and the FBI included a technological analysis that tied the gang members to crime scene locations.

“Today’s verdict demonstrates the commitment of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to hold violent gang members and murderers fully accountable for their actions,” Martin Culbreth, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, stated in the press release. “We will not stand by while violent criminals terrorize our neighborhoods and murder innocent people. I would like to thank the agents, analysts, task force officers and prosecutors for their unwavering efforts to eliminate gang violence in our communities. We hope this verdict will encourage citizens to continue to come forward and help us provide a safer Hampton Roads.”

“These men are responsible for one of Hampton Roads’ deadliest crime sprees in recent memory,” Mark R. Herring, attorney general of Virginia, stated in the press release. “In just about one month, they inflicted death and mayhem on their communities while trying to settle scores and establish their positions in their gang. Hampton Roads will be safer with these men off the streets, and I appreciate all the hard work and cooperation of local, state, and federal law enforcement and prosecutors that has brought them to justice.”