23
June , 2018
Saturday

UIC Medical Center unlawfully denies life-saving kidney transplants to local residents CHICAGO, IL - ...
  By Julian Bond By the mid-1960s, the civil rights movement had made significant cultural, legal and political ...
  Chicago, IL – Goodman Theatre proudly announces the roster for the second annual Playwrights’ Unit, ...
  State Rep. Colvin: "The bill is flawed." State Rep. Davis: “I won’t be threatened.”   By Chinta Strausberg   It ...
BALTIMORE, MD – NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks issued the following statement regarding the ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL. – House Speaker Michael Madigan released a statement following Wednesday’s vote in the ...
 (A Message from the Better Business Bureau)     CHICAGO, IL - November 4, 2010 - Even if ...
From: Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP On April 4, Walter Scott was ...
Eric Caine announced the lawsuit yesterday at a press conference at the office of Loevy & ...
Bank to pay combined $4.11 million penalty for deceptive practices impacting nearly 440,000 students nationwide ...

Archive for March, 2018

Rep. Mah to Host 2nd Annual Community Health Fair

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

CHICAGO, IL – In an effort to bring free resources to community members, Illinois  state Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, is hosting a Community Health Fair this Saturday, March 24th, at Arturo Velasquez Institute, located at 2800 S Western Ave. in Chicago.

“With the full-on attack on healthcare we are seeing in Washington DC, it is important that people in our state have access to health services right in our communities,” said Mah. “It not only helps our neighbors be in the best health they can, but is a good way to bring people together and feel an overall sense of community.”

Rep. Mah is hosting her 2nd annual Community Health Fair on Saturday, March 24th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where healthcare professionals will be on site performing free health screenings to community members. Some of the services that will available are free screenings of glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, vision, dental, and more. Free haircuts and manicures will also be offered at the health fair.

“I want to bring these services right to people, instead of them having to make costly doctor’s appointments to just screen for potential issues,” said Mah. “When people have an understanding of their overall health condition, they can start to make the necessary changes to ensure that they can increase their quality of life.”

Mah represents the 2nd District, which includes the Chicago neighborhoods of McKinley Park, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, Brighton Park and Back of the Yards. For more information, please contact Rep. Mah’s district office at 872-281-5775.

Backlash Erupts Over Diddy and Jay-Zs New “Buy Black” App

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS


Diddy and Jay-Z

Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) — A huge social media backlash has erupted over comments by P Diddy that he and Jay-Z are looking into developing a ‘Buy Black’ app.

In a GQ article titled, Diddy Opens up About Biggie’s Death and the Secret Project, the hip-hop icon reveals he’s working with Jay-Z on an app that will allow users to look at a given city or neighborhood and see where the black-owned and black-friendly businesses are.

Although Diddy also spoke about Biggie’s death in the article, it was his comments about the app that stirred up a lot of emotions and generated a flood of responses. Many social media users highlighted that there were already several ‘Buy Black’ app solutions. And the latter is true.

iPhone and Android users are not short on options in the Google and iTunes stores when it comes to “Buy Black” apps, which means that Diddy and Jay-Z’s idea is nothing new. In fact, one app that’s already bridging the spending gap for not only black owned businesses but other minority groups is Spendwith (available for free in the iTunes and Google Play app stores).

Touted as culture-based social shopping app, Spendwith empowers users to crowdsource the commerce-related social media posts of businesses and brands, and identify these post by cultural identity. The app provides a place where users can save these posts to shopping lists, create new posts, share shopping lists and connect with other users.

Responding to the revelation of the app development by the Hip-Hop icons, CEO and Co-Founder of Spendwith, Jibril Sulaiman, said: “I agree with the backlash, Diddy and Jay-Z should take look at what Naz has done with Queensbridge Ventures, and use an extension of their celebrity status to galvanize investments in solutions like Spendwith to help support black businesses and brands.”

Diddy’s motivation for wanting to develop the app is to actively move the black race forward. But Sulaiman has a better idea how the celebrity could use his resources to help blacks gain economic power through an app. He said, “Don’t build it yourself. Create a seed/pre-seed stage investment firm that invests in that black tech company that will in turn scale their innovative solution.”

Aside from social media users underscoring the fact there were already many buy black apps. There were also questions. Questions like, ‘Why not an app for women or Latinos?’

“I think many people on social media have valid point,” said Sulaiman. “I realized during my time working for a local African American chamber of commerce that many groups, not just black people have initiatives to support businesses and brands based on cultural or demographic identity. Spendwith addresses this concern by providing an app empowers its users to highlight businesses and brands of many cultures and demographics.”

Pointing out the irrelevance of another “Buy Black” app as well as opportunities to partner with a brand that achieves far much more, Sulaiman said, “Diddy, what if people in Africa wanted to use your app in a largely black continent? They couldn’t, but they’d be able to use Spendwith because we allow users to identify business and brands by TRIBE and other region specific identifiers.”

For further information about Spendwith, or for investment inquiries visit: www.spendwith.in


About Spendwith:
Spendwith is an early stage, pre-revenue startup that’s focused on the success of the thousands of e-commerce shops & physical businesses started by Asian-American, Black, Latino, LGBT, Muslim, Jewish, Veteran & Women business owners. Posts relating to the products and services offered by these businesses and brands occur daily on every social media platform. They curate, organize and categorize these posts into a shoppable format with the help of the crowd.

Rock Legends To Perform At The 2018 Illinois State Fair

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – This August, Ag Director Raymond Poe and State Fair Manager Luke Sailer are proud to welcome rock legends Foreigner and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts to the Illinois Lottery Grandstand stage on Sunday, August 12 at 2018 Illinois State Fair.

Foreigner is among the top 40 best-selling music artists of all time, according to Business Insider magazine.  The group is universally known as one of the most popular acts in the rock world with a playlist that continues to sell out tours and albums.  While the band has been around for more than 40 years, a younger generation is exposed to the band’s music through popular films and television shows such as, “Rock of Ages,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Kung Fu Panda 3,” and “Stranger Things.” Foreigner is best known for anthems such as, “Juke Box Hero,” “Cold As Ice,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “I Want to Know What Love Is,” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You.”

Joan Jett is an originator, an innovator, and a visionary. As the leader of the hard- rocking Blackhearts, with whom she has become a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, she’s had eight platinum and gold albums and nine Top 40 singles, including the classics “Bad Reputation,” “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll,” “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” and “Crimson and Clover.” Her independent record label, Blackheart, was founded in 1980 after she was rejected by no less than 23 labels. Blackheart is one of the longest running indie labels and continues to give voice to new bands. As a producer, she has overseen albums by Bikini Kill, Circus Lupus, as well as the Germs’ LA punk masterpiece, GI. Jett’s music has become a permanent force in mainstream culture. Jett and the Blackhearts released their latest record, ‘Unvarnished,’ in 2013 and continue touring the globe with headline shows alongside fellow rock icons like The Who, Green Day and the Foo Fighters. Additionally, Jett has acted and appeared in movies & television, including the film Light Of Day. Jett was also able to see her story told in The Runaways, the film based on (lead singer of The Runaways) Cherie Currie’s book Neon Angel, starring Kristen Stewart as Jett, and Dakota Fanning as Currie. Jett was close to the project, serving as executive producer. In January, the documentary film based on Jett’s life, “Bad Reputation,” – produced by Blackheart’s SVP Carianne Brinkman and directed by Kevin Kerslake – premiered to critical acclaim at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, with the New York Post hailing that “‘Bad Reputation’ does it right, tracing Jett’s trailblazing path as one of the first, and still the hardest-rocking, women.”

Ticket prices have been announced for the already announced 2018 Grandstand concerts.  An on-sale date has not yet been announced.

Saturday, August 11:  Halestorm & Mastodon
Tier 3 – $28 / Tier 2 – $33 / Tier 1 – $38 / Track $38 / VIP – $48

Sunday, August 12:  Foreigner with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Tier 3 – $25 / Tier 2 – $30 / Tier 1 – $35 / Track $35 / VIP – $45

Saturday, August 18:  Brett Eldredge
Tier 3 – $29 / Tier 2 – $34 / Tier 1 – $39 / Track $39 / VIP – $49

Sunday, August 19:  Brantley Gilbert
Tier 3 – $35 / Tier 2 – $40 / Tier 1 – $45 / Track $45 / VIP – $55

Stay up-to-date on all of the 2018 Illinois State Fair announcements by connecting with us on social media. The Illinois State Fair is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  We look forward to seeing you at the 2018 Illinois State Fair, August 9-19th in Springfield.

Indivisible Chicago Statement on the Appointment of John Bolton by President Donald Trump

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Indivisible Chicago warns our country is set on a dangerous path, with President Trump’s appointment of radical warmonger John Bolton as his new National Security Advisor. We call upon our elected representatives, regardless of party affiliation, to immediately and forcefully condemn the appointment of a conspiracy theorist and militant extremist to this critical position. Bolton’s appointment represents an alarming leap down the path to war.

 

Our  elected leaders must urge the President to reconsider this appointment and to immediately move to pass legislation that curtails the President’s ability to launch a first strike.

 

This is not idle rhetoric, but a real threat. Bolton has recently urged a first strike by the United States against North Korea. He is known as one of the primary cheerleaders for the Iraq War, he called for war with Cuba, using the same false pretense of hidden WMDs, and he’s encouraged Israel to use nuclear weapons against Iran.

 

Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration stated “John Bolton was by far the most dangerous man we had in the entire eight years of the Bush Administration. Hiring him as the president’s top national security advisor is an invitation to war, perhaps nuclear war. This must be stopped at all costs.”

 

Indivisible Chicago echoes that warning, representing thousands of voters throughout the Chicago area. “We are appalled and angry to see congressional leaders on the sidelines while Trump brazenly builds a war cabinet. War may be good for his ratings, but it would be a disaster for the nation and the world,” warned Jason Rieger, Executive Director of Indivisible Chicago.

 

It’s up to the members of Congress to stand for national security, and we call on them to take quick action to curtail the authority of this President and his hawks from the outer fringes of the right-wing.

 

 

FTC Sues Telemarketers Over Do Not Call Violations

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

If you’re on the Do Not Call Registry, companies shouldn’t call you out of the blue to try and sell you something. In fact, it’s usually illegal.

The FTC continues to take action against companies and telemarketers that ignore the Registry. The latest example: today the FTC announced a complaint against Alliance Security, a home security system installation company, Alliance’s owner, Jasjit Gotra, and two of Alliance’s telemarketing firms, along with their owners. These two telemarketing firms — Defend America and Power Marketing Promotions — and their owners have agreed to settle the FTC’s charges.

Like with many illegal telemarketing operations, each call typically started with a prerecorded message asking people to press 1 or follow prompts. Anyone who did was then connected to a live telemarketer.

Even after receiving many complaints, the FTC says, the companies continued to call people whose numbers were on the Do Not Call Registry. Some people went as far as scheduling installation appointments just to tell Alliance in person to stop calling, the FTC alleges. Alliance Security and Gotra previously settled charges with the FTC in 2014 while doing business as Versatile Marketing Solutions.

You can learn more about the Do Not Call Registry in our FAQs. If a company doesn’t respect the Registry, report it. To add your number to the Do Not Call Registry, go to donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.

What if you’re on the Registry and still getting bombarded by unwanted calls? Odds are, many of them are from scammers — and they don’t care about the Registry. Find out more about your options when it comes to blocking unwanted calls— and report the ones you get at ftc.gov/complaint. We take the phone numbers you report and release them each business day to help telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are working on call blocking solutions. Your complaints also help law enforcement identify the people behind illegal calls. For tips on blocking unwanted calls, go to ftc.gov/calls, where you’ll find graphics you can share with your friends and followers.

 

American Heart Association Awards Scholarships to Students Who Are Improving Health Outcomes in Their Communities

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Empowered to Serve Scholars

Dallas, TX — The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, is awarding financial scholarships to six students who are working to improve the health and well-being of their community or college campus.

According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, 40 percent of an individual’s health can be attributed to socioeconomic factors, 30 percent to healthy behaviors, 20 percent to medical care and 10 percent to the environment. That’s why the Association collaborates with organizations, businesses, entrepreneurs, and now youth, to create and identify solutions to our communities’ most complex social issues, ultimately impacting and improving health outcomes.

Through the EmPOWERED To Serve Scholars competition, which launched in January in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the National Day of Service, the Association sought high school seniors and undergraduate college and university students who are actively striving to identify solutions to address the social determinants of health — the economic and social conditions in which people are born, grow, work and live — and how they impact risks for heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

From a high school senior who provides nutrition education to local youth to a future family nurse practitioner who conducts community-organized wellness checks, the six students who will receive $1,500 scholarships include:

* Ahmed Arasah aspires to become a physician and promote healthy living through community yoga instruction and will offer sessions to his classmates at Xavier University in New Orleans this spring.

* Michelle Ballasiotes is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying pre-health policy and management and advocates for corner grocery store owners to sell fresh, healthy foods.

* Jose Trinidad Muratella studies biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and spends his volunteer time at the Community Health Clinic teaching diabetes education courses.

* Avery Nelson, a freshman studying public policy at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., helped launch an urban garden where families living in food deserts can harvest fresh fruit.

* Esmeralda Ochoa has her sights set on a family nurse practitioner career, and in between her studies at Chamberlain University in Addison, Ill., partners with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses to coordinate and conduct community wellness checks.

* Dorysel Sandoval, a senior at Sweetwater High School in National City, Calif., who interns and volunteers at a local nonprofit teaching youth in the community about urban agriculture and nutrition education.


The scholarship competition is part of the Association’s Take Me Home video docuseries campaign, which leverages the collective stories of our ambassadors, alliances and communities as catalysts to rally, inspire and springboard improved health outcomes. A judging panel, comprised of nationwide thought-leaders and experts who focus on addressing and closing the health disparity gap, selected the scholarship recipients based on Facebook video submissions where students described:

* What health equity means to them,

* Something they have done in the past 18 months to positively affect the health of someone they love, and

* How they have made a sustainable, positive impact in their community or on their campus to address health and wellbeing disparities.

In addition to receiving the scholarship, students will have an opportunity to serve as EmPOWERED To Serve ambassadors and participate in 2018 social media campaigns.

To view the students’ winning video submissions and learn more about these future change-agents, as well as EmPOWERED To Serve, visit www.empoweredtoserve.org.


About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. They team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Rep. Welch to Hold Employers Accountable for Wage Theft Using Property Liens

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL. – In an effort to prevent employers from under-paying employees and shutting down business before a wage claim can be brought against them, Illinois state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is fighting to pass a measure out of the House that allows a lien to be placed on the properties of these employers for the amount of wages owed.

“It really shouldn’t be that difficult for any size employer, from mom and pop small businesses to Fortune 500 Companies, to do business ethically,” said Welch. “We won’t let these businesses wipe their slates clean by simply shutting down when they owe their employees. If employers think they can steal from hardworking employees and sneak out of the back door, they have another thing coming.”

Welch is the sponsor of House Bill 4324, a measure that lays out the Wage Lien Act. This Act is a new tool that employees can use to ensure that stolen wages are paid in their entirety. The Act provides that an employee may, with five-day notice, establish a lien on all of the employer’s property located in Illinois for wages owed under any claim made with the Illinois Department of Labor. The Act also provides that an employee’s wage lien up to $30,000 could take lien priority on property owned by the employer, allowing them to be paid before bankruptcy adjudicates them from financial obligations.

“We are seeing far too many in our state being undercut when they go to work to provide an honest day’s work, with the reasonable expectation of an honest day’s pay,” said Welch. “If enacted, this bill will provide a simple, powerful tool for working people to hold unethical businesses accountable in ways they haven’t been able to in the past.”

House Bill 4324 passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee in late February and is expected to be heard for consideration by the full House of Representatives in the near future.

Welch represents the 7th House District, which includes portions of River Forest, Forest Park, Maywood, Broadview, Bellwood, Berkeley, Hillside and Westchester. For more information, please contact Rep. Welch’s office at 708-450-1000.

 

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy to Illegally Export Defense Articles to Russia

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Vladimir Nevidomy, 31, of Hallandale Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty on March 19, to conspiring to illegally export military-grade night vision and thermal vision devices and ammunition primers to Russia.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Robert Lasky of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Miami Field Office made the announcement.

According to information contained in court documents, from as early as April 2013 through November 2013, customers in Russia contacted Nevidomy by email requesting night vision rifle scopes, thermal monoculars and ammunition primers, all of which were on the U.S. Munitions List and subject to export control by the U.S. Department of State.  Nevidomy proceeded to obtain at least three ATN MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scopes and an ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular from U.S. vendors by falsely representing to the vendors that the items were not for export.

On or about April 16, 2013, a co-defendant caused a wire transfer from a Shanghai, China bank account in the amount of $11,755 for the purchase and shipment of two ATN MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scopes.  That same day, Nevidomy paid $9,599 to a U.S. vendor for the purchase of those two night-vision rifle scopes.  On or about May 2, 2013, Nevidomy also caused a wire transfer in the amount of $10,000 to be sent to a U.S. vendor for the purchase of the ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular.

Later, Nevidomy’s co-defendant caused a wire transfer from a bank account in Riga, Latvia in the amount of $18,036, part of which was for the purchase of a third ATN Mars 4X4 night-vision rifle scope. On the same day, Nevidomy caused a wire transfer in the amount of $9,599 to a U.S. vendor, part of which was for the purchase of the third ATN Mars 4X4 night-vision rifle scope.

After the U.S. vendors sent the night vision devices to Nevidomy in South Florida, he exported them to the co-defendant in Russia by either concealing the defense articles in household goods shipments sent through a freight forwarding company or using a private Russian postal service that operated in South Florida.  In June 2013, Nevidomy aided and abetted the export of the ATN MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scopes from the U.S. to the co-defendant in Russia, and in August 2013, he exported the ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular from the U.S. to the co-defendant in Russia.

On or about July 19, 2013, the same co-defendant sent an email to Nevidomy requesting 1,000 large-rifle ammunition primers to be shipped to Vladivostok, Russia.  On or about Oct. 2, 2013, Nevidomy attempted to export 1,000 Sellier & Bellot ammunition primers from the U.S. to the co-defendant in Vladivostok, Russia.  These ammunition primers were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

These night vision rifle scopes, thermal monocular, and ammunition primers required a license or other authorization from the U.S. Department of State before being exported from the U.S. since they were on the U.S. Munitions List.  A certified license history check revealed that neither Nevidomy nor his associates ever applied or attempted to apply for an export license from the State Department for the night-vision equipment or ammunition primers.

Sentencing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams, on May 25. Nevidomy, a Ukraine-born naturalized U.S. citizen, faces a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

In addition, on Feb. 5, in a separate federal case, Nevidomy pleaded guilty to passport fraud and conspiracy to commit passport fraud in the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Demers and Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and HSI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Thakur and Rick Del Toro of the Southern District of Florida, and Trial Attorney Christian Ford of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Source: FBI

In the Wake of Austin Bombings, NAACP Urges Caution to Members and All Communities

Posted by Admin On March - 22 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
BALTIMORE — The NAACP, the nation’s leading civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the latest bombing in Austin, Texas.The NAACP is issuing a call for vigilance, diligence and caution to its membership and all communities in Austin who have suffered through two deaths and four injuries due to bombs dressed as packages and placed at homes.“Due to the horrible acts of domestic terrorism now occurring in Austin, this is a time to be cautious about any packages being left at homes” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “We are asking our membership to be vigilant and to pay attention to anything out of the ordinary in their communities and avoiding picking up any packages left at their homes. We are working with our NAACP State President Gary Bledsoe and the Austin President Nelson Linder to help communities stay aware of potential for danger during this uneasy time.”There have been four bombings in Austin this month. The first three bombings murdered two African Americans including 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, and injured Mason’s mother. The third package bomb injured 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera. The fourth bombing last night injured two Caucasian males.

The NAACP Austin branch has been working very closely with the Austin Police Department, the FBI and ATF to monitor these devastating and criminal acts.

“We are urging our members to pay attention in their communities and to exercise caution when around any packages, said NAACP Austin President Nelson Linder. “We are asking parents to inform their youth to stay away from anything left on their doorsteps or at their homes. This is a time for us to communicate and keep in other informed regarding any type of strange behavior in our neighborhoods.”

North Carolina Drug Ring Dismantled

Posted by Admin On March - 22 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Gang-Affiliated Group Was Major Supplier of Heroin, Cocaine in Triangle Region

Kilos of Cocaine Seized in North Carolina Drug Ring Case

These kilos of cocaine, shipped from California to North Carolina inside containers used to package furniture, were among the drugs seized in April 2016 when members of the FBI-led Raleigh-Durham Safe Streets Task Force arrested the ringleaders of the Maurio Mitchell Drug Trafficking Organization.

One-time major suppliers of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana in North Carolina’s Triangle region will be spending decades behind bars, thanks to local, state, and federal law enforcement partners determined to stop violent gangs that profit from narcotics trafficking.

A federal judge in December sentenced the ringleaders in the case, Maurio Mitchell and Mark Daye, to prison terms of 35 years and 30 years, respectively. In all, nine members of what was known as the Maurio Mitchell Drug Trafficking Organization, dismantled in 2016, received a combined total of 119 years in prison.

“Mitchell was the architect of the organization, and Daye provided the source of supply,” said Special Agent Steve Jessup, an investigator on the case from the FBI’s Charlotte Division and a member of the FBI-led Raleigh-Durham Safe Streets Task Force.

Daye had a cartel connection in California that supplied the drugs, and Mitchell was affiliated with members of the United Blood Nation’s Omega Line, a violent street gang operating within the Raleigh-Durham area known as the Triangle. That partnership resulted in the distribution of significant quantities of illegal drugs—and violent acts that stemmed from those crimes.

“For the past five years, factions of the same Bloods gang have been fighting amongst themselves, largely over the drug trade,” said Tim Thomas, a Durham Police Department detective and task force member.

The culture of violence is so strong among rival gang factions that many have their own rap musicians who post music videos on social media platforms to intimidate and threaten their enemies. These “dis videos”—where targets were disrespected on social media—often resulted in violent encounters, Thomas said. “They were more about sending a message than music.”

“This was a great team effort. Dismantling the Maurio Mitchell organization made the community a safer place.”

Steve Jessup, special agent, FBI Charlotte

The FBI case against Mitchell’s organization began in the summer of 2015 in response to a spike in gang violence in the area—the result of the Bloods’ turf wars surrounding the drug trade. In January 2016, the task force initiated a court-ordered wiretap of Mitchell and others.

The evidence revealed that the organization was receiving large quantities of cocaine in the Triangle area—much of it shipped from California in containers used to package furniture—and that gang members were being used as distributors and enforcers.

During the three months the wiretap was in place, evidence showed that Mitchell and his associates distributed 23 kilos of cocaine. When the group members were arrested in April 2016, task force members seized 7.6 pounds of cocaine and 3.5 pounds of heroin. Also seized were weapons, kilo presses—which the traffickers used to form powder cocaine into bricks—and jewelry, including a $50,000 wristwatch.

The traffickers were charged federally with a variety of drug trafficking offenses, because federal sentencing guidelines provided lengthier prison terms than state charges. The nine members of the Maurio Mitchell Drug Trafficking Organization, all convicted in 2016 and 2017, were sentenced in October and December 2017.

“A lot of these guys have been known locally to law enforcement for their criminal activity, and many have significant records,” Thomas said. “We hope the federal charges and long prison terms in this case send the appropriate message to anyone with intentions to fill the criminal void they left behind.”

In addition to FBI and Durham Police Department personnel, members of the Raleigh-Durham Safe Streets Task Force include officers from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Also taking part in the Mitchell investigation were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division.

“This was a great team effort,” Jessup said. “Dismantling the Maurio Mitchell organization made the community a safer place.”

Recent Comments

Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

Recent Posts