Detroit gang member hit with racketeering charges

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A law enforcement collaboration called the Detroit One program has led to racketeering charges against a member of the Seven Mile Blood street gang, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced on Thursday.

Billy Arnold, 29, of Detroit, an alleged member of the Seven Mile Blood, was charged Thursday with attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, use of a firearm during a crime of violence and felony firearm.

Two other suspects, Steven Arthur Jr., 26, and Eugene Fisher, 35, were also charged with being felons in possession of a firearm.

According to an indictment, the gang operates on the east side of Detroit between Seven Mile and Eight Mile and between Gratiot Avenue and Kelly Road in the 48205 zip code.

Seven Mile Blood members have claimed this area as their territory and refer to it as the “Red Zone” or “4-8-2-0-Die” in some of their rap lyrics, McQuade says.

The indictment alleges that Seven Mile Blood members engaged in a gang war against an alliance of other gangs operating on Detroit’s east side stemming from a murder in July 2014.

During the past 18 months, these rivals posted “hit lists” on social media and violently attacked each other, prosecutors said.

This shooting war has caused homicide and non-fatal shooting statistics on Detroit’s east side to be considerably higher than the rest of the city. Thursday’s indictment resulted from the investigation of one of the shooting incidents in the feud between these gangs.

“The Detroit One partnership is focusing on violent street gangs, and today's indictment is just the first step in dismantling the group that calls themselves the Seven Mile Bloods and its rivals,” McQuade said.

“When we became aware of the retaliation that was occurring between these gangs last year, the Detroit Police and other partners poured resources into stopping the gun violence in this neighborhood. These efforts resulted in a dramatic decrease in homicides and non-fatal shootings in the 9th precinct during in the last several months,” she said.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the Detroit One partnership’s concerted efforts has proved to be effective in ensuring the safety of citizens and communities.

“The ongoing initiative will continue to target, disrupt and dismantle all gangs, as well as other violent offenders that pose a threat to the safety and well being of our City,” Craig said.

Under the Detroit One Initiative, investigators were able to bring together separate probes into various members of this organization and its activities into one encompassing investigation, McQuade said.

The initiative is lead by the Detroit Police Department and the FBI Violent Gang Task Force, which consists of representatives of Detroit Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Patrol, Michigan Department of Corrections and Michigan State Police.