35 Years for Violent Racketeering-Related Crimes for Leader of Two Midwestern Gangs
The individual who served as National President of the Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club and a “Three-Star General” of the Vice Lords street gang has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for violent racketeering-related crimes.
Antonio Johnson, aka Mister Tony, MT or Big Bro, 39, of Detroit, led the Detroit-based Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club and was also a member of the Chicago-based Vice Lords leadership structure.
According to evidence presented at trial earlier this year, the Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club and its members were involved in criminal activity that included conspiracy to commit murder, shootings, robbery, extortion and the possession and sale of stolen vehicles and motorcycles. Evidence also presented at trial demonstrated that the leadership of the Phantoms, including Johnson, were heavily involved with the Vice Lords, and that Johnson used the Vice Lords to assist the Phantoms in criminal activities, such as hunting down and attacking rivals of the Phantoms.
Evidence presented at trial showed that in September 2013, Johnson ordered numerous Phantoms to forcibly steal the “rags,” or motorcycle vests, of members of the rival Satan Sidekick Motorcycle Club. During the Phantoms’ attempt to carry out the order, a Satan Sidekick member was shot in the face and a Phantom member was stabbed, according to evidence presented at trial.
According to additional evidence presented at trial, a few weeks later Johnson and members of the Phantoms plotted the murder of three members of the rival Hell Lovers Motorcycle Club suspected for the shooting death of a member of the Phantoms. The plot involved killing the three Hell Lovers members, and then ambushing an anticipated wake at the Hell Lovers’ clubhouse, shooting all the members in attendance.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) intervened before the attack took place.
Johnson was convicted of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of firearms at a multi-week trial earlier this year.
“Gang wars fuel violence in our community, and the resulting drive-by shootings create unacceptable risk to innocent lives,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan. “The Detroit One partners are systematically dismantling violent street and motorcycle gangs that are destroying the peace in our neighborhoods.”
“This significant sentence is the result of our on-going state and federal effort to combat gun violence in our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Robin Shoemaker. “This investigation and resulting convictions is proof again that the Detroit One initiative and the CVRP are making a significant difference in our communities, there is a lot of work to do, but ATF is committed in the fight against violent crime.”
The arrest and conviction of Johnson, along with, to date, 12 other defendants, are the result of the Detroit One Initiative, a collaborative partnership between the community and law enforcement to reduce homicide and violent crimes in Detroit. Representatives with the FBI, ATF, Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police, and Michigan Department of Corrections are participants of the Comprehensive Violence Reduction Partnership Task Force.
“Through his leadership positions in two gangs, Johnson spread violence in Detroit and beyond,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. “Here, through the Detroit One initiative, the collective efforts of federal agents, state and local police, and private citizens helped thwart a mass murder plot and ensure the convictions and lengthy prison sentences of Johnson and his fellow gang members. This case is emblematic of law and order at its best: a true partnership between law enforcement authorities and the community they serve.”
Posted in The Takedown