Seven Mile Bloods members face prison in Detroit gang crackdown
Detroit — A federal judge has started handing out stiff prison sentences to members of the Seven Mile Bloods, the strongest gang in one of the deadliest parts of America’s most violent big city.
U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh sentenced Corey Bailey, 31, a founder of the gang on Detroit's east side, to two life sentences last week and Tuesday gave Seven Mile Bloods member Arlandis Shy, 30, more than 18 years in federal prison for racketeering conspiracy.
Seven Mile Bloods leader Corey Bailey, aka Cocaine Sonny. (Video: YouTube)
The sentences mark the latest fallout for members of a gang that prosecutors say terrorized neighbors, fueled the opioid epidemic and assassinated rivals who were targeted on Instagram hit lists.
The government's years-long crackdown on violent street gangs in Detroit was chronicled in "Death by Instagram," a serial narrative published last year by The Detroit News.
Federal prosecutors have indicted 21 alleged Seven Mile Bloods members and associates, including leader Billy Arnold, who is charged with racketeering conspiracy, two counts of murder and nine counts of attempted murder and will stand trial in September 2020 in a rare death-penalty case.
Billy Arnold (Video: (YouTube)
Bailey, meanwhile, received two life sentences and three 10-year sentences after having been convicted of racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering and attempted murder in aid of racketeering.
He was convicted for participating in the murder of Djuan "Neff" Page, 22, who was killed during a drive-by shooting on the city's west side in 2014.
Page and other members of the rival Hustle Boys gang were riding in a white Chrysler Sebring when they were ambushed by the Seven Mile Bloods near Grand River and Oakman, prosecutors said.
Djuan "Neff" Page (Photo: Instagram)
Arnold and Bailey leaned out of the Seven Mile Bloods’ car and opened fire, according to the government.
Bullets struck Page in the left eye and upper body.
His friends flagged down social worker Silhouette O’Neal, who was headed back to work after lunch.
They asked O’Neal for a ride to the hospital.
O’Neal was afraid and initially wouldn’t look at Page.
When she finally looked, O’Neal screamed.
“All I saw was an eyeball out of the socket,” she testified.
Page was alive, barely.
He lingered in a coma for several weeks before dying.
The homicide sparked a gang war escalated by hit lists posted on Instagram.
The Seven Mile Bloods participated in more than 14 shootings, at least four homicides, 11 attempted murders and drug crimes that eroded the quality of life in the gang’s home turf, known as "The Red Zone," according to the government.
The gang’s turf is in the northeast corner of the 48205 ZIP code between Seven Mile and Eight Mile roads, east of Gratiot and west of Kelly.
The ZIP code is so dangerous some locals call it the 4820-Die.
This animated map shows the location of homicides in the 48205 ZIP code from 2009-18.
Seven Mile Bloods members also operated a pain-pill pipeline between Detroit and Charleston, West Virginia, the epicenter of the nation’s opioid crisis, prosecutors said.
Shy helped funnel drugs from Detroit to West Virginia, according to the government.
"Shy involved himself in gang violence, advocated for his cohorts to commit violent criminal acts, and conspired to assault with intent to kill rival gang members," Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Bilkovic and Tare Wigod wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Arlandis Shy (Video: YouTube)
There is no evidence Shy sold drugs for the benefit of the gang, his lawyers argued.
"In fact the cooperating witnesses for the government corroborated that they all sold for their individual gain, not to benefit a larger cause or organization," defense lawyers Mark Magidson and John Theis wrote in a court filing.
Shy, who was acquitted of of six other crimes, including murder in aid of racketeering and three counts of attempted murder, has undergone a profound change, the lawyers wrote.
"Gone is the anger. Gone is the depression and feelings of hopelessness and feelings of inadequacy," they wrote. "What has replaced those emotions is confidence and strength that he can shape his own destiny and that he can accomplish success through hard work."