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Detroit — Three members of a Detroit-area street gang have been indicted by a federal grand jury on several drug-related charges, officials said Wednesday.

Johnnie Ross Jr., 47, of Redford, Rishard Collins, 31, of Detroit, and Keith Spann, 39, a Michigan prison inmate, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and using a communication facility to commit the drug conspiracy offense, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement.

If convicted, the conspiracy to distribute charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The second charge is punishable by up to four years in prison

Schneider said the three men are members of the Almighty Vice Lords Nation gang and the indictment against them was unsealed Tuesday.

Federal officials accuse the men in a scheme that sold drugs in the Detroit area as well as in a Michigan prison. The group smuggled drugs, such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine, in to Spann, who is serving a sentence for two separate 2016 convictions involving cocaine possession and marijuana trafficking, they said.

Collins was also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of the drug conspiracy. He faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of life in prison if convicted of the firearm possession charge. The sentence for the charge must be served consecutively to any other conviction.

Collins is on parole for a 2017 conviction on a malicious destruction of police property charge. He has previous convictions for weapons and drug charges. 

Spann is also serving a 6-20 year sentence at the state prison in Ionia for an assault with intent to murder charge and a first-degree home invasion charge, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections. The earliest date he could have been released was in May and the latest date is Nov. 14, 2034.

Federal officials said Spann was caught at the prison with suboxone, a drug used to treat pain and addiction to narcotic pain relievers. He was convicted in a Jackson County court of being an inmate in possession of contraband.

“Our office, along with our State and Federal partners, is committed to aggressively prosecuting members of violent street gangs involved in drug trafficking,” Schneider said in the statement. “We are especially committed to stopping the flow of drugs into the Michigan prison system, especially when it is fueled by gang members of the Vice Lords, and this case is just one example of our teamwork.”

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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