- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The alleged leader of an American Indian gang that prosecutors say spread violence and drugs through Minnesota and other states was sentenced Tuesday to 43 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim said the sentence will allow Wakinyan Wakan McArthur, 36, to get out of prison at some point, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1mNzSHc ) reported. McArthur must serve 85 percent of that time.

“I don’t think you should be put away forever,” Tunheim told McArthur.

McArthur was the first of three accused gang members set for sentencing Tuesday and Wednesday. The sentences will wrap up a multiyear investigation that led to the conviction of 28 people linked to the Native Mob, which prosecutors say has been responsible for drug trafficking, robberies and drive-by shootings.

A federal jury convicted McArthur a year ago on drug and weapons charges but also on a charge of racketeering conspiracy, which is often used to target organized crime. Authorities said McArthur would direct other members to carry out beatings, shootings and other violent acts to intimidate rivals.

The U.S. Attorney’s office was seeking a life term plus 30 years.

Before his sentencing, McArthur wept as he told the judge he wanted a future “however I can get it.” He said he hoped to be able to connect to his future grandchildren and “give back to my community.”

“There was no excuse,” for what he had done, McArthur said.

Tunheim told McArthur that with good behavior he could get out and have time with his family.

“He’ll get out someday, and I hope he’ll follow the judge’s words, do his time and get out,” defense attorney Fred Goetz said. Goetz had asked that McArthur get a 15-year sentence.

The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment before the sentencings.

Two of the gang’s alleged “soldiers” - William Earl Morris, 27, and Anthony Francis Cree, 27 - also were convicted of multiple charges including attempted murder in aid of racketeering. The latter charge stemmed from the shooting of another man that prosecutors alleged McArthur ordered, though his attorneys disputed the claim and McArthur was acquitted on that charge.

The 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment called the Native Mob one of the largest and most violent American Indian gangs in the U.S., most active in Minnesota and Wisconsin but also in Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota. It is made up of mostly American Indian men and boys and started in Minneapolis in the 1990s as members fought for turf to deal drugs.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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