Local prison gang indicted for racketeering

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Photo slideshow: Local Prison Gang Indicted for Racketeering

A major prison gang has been busted.

A federal indictment named more than one dozen members of the USO Family gang. It accuses them of running a crime ring from behind bars — everything from dealing drugs to stealing thousands of dollars from the IRS to fund their operation.

Halawa prison was the headquarters for the gang members now accused of tax fraud, bribery, drug trafficking, and violence.

“They are the dominant prison gang in Hawaii. And nationally, they are recognized as a major prison gang,” said Florence Nakakuni, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii.

The indictment contains a number of federal charges, the most serious including dealing the drugs crystal meth and marijuana.

Twelve others are charged in the indictment including a former corrections officer.

“This indictment details multiple instances of violence, drug activity, fraud, and bribery that have not been confined to the jail cells or the exercise yards. But instead, they have infected our local communities,” said Vida Bottom, FBI.

Authorities say some of those charged also filed false tax returns, receiving refunds of up to $7,000.

“And then that money was turned into money they used to bribe, buy drugs, pay people. They basically funded their operation stealing from the treasury,” said Kenneth Hines, IRS.

“It is our hope that this indictment will significantly impact the command structure of the Uso family prison gang,” Bottom said.

Trials for the accused are scheduled to begin Nov. 26.

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