United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan

12/09/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/09/2023 14:52

Three Leaders of a Violent National Gang Convicted of RICO in Detroit

Press Release

Three Leaders of a Violent National Gang Convicted of RICO in Detroit

Saturday, December 9, 2023
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT - After a six-week trial in federal court, a jury convicted three high-ranking leaders of the Almighty Vice Lords Nation of RICO conspiracy, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today. Ison was joined in the announcement by James Deir, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Evidence at trial proved the Almighty Vice Lords Nation (AVLN) was a sprawling criminal enterprise which committed acts of violence, drug dealing, and other crimes, across the country. The AVLN enterprise began in Chicago, which is still considered its headquarters. The AVLN are divided into different branches, each with their own leadership that answers to a "board" in Chicago. The trial involved leaders of two branches, the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, and the Insane Vice Lords. The jury convicted:

  • Martin Murff, 54, of Chicago, who had the title of "Prince" and was the highest-ranked Mafia Insane Vice Lords in the country and a member of the national leadership of the AVLN;
  • Kevin Fordham, 53, of Detroit, another "Prince," who was the highest-ranked Insane Vice Lord in Michigan and a member of the national leadership of the AVLN; and,
  • Eddie Reid, 39, of Detroit, a "Chief" and the highest ranked Mafia Insane Vice Lord in Michigan.

The evidence at trial showed that these leaders worked together under the umbrella of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation and agreed that they or their enterprise members would commit acts of racketeering, including murder, narcotics trafficking, and witness intimidation. In one seizure alone, law enforcement intercepted over 2.5 kilograms of pure fentanyl destined for Detroit.

"The Almighty Vice Lords Nation is a criminal enterprise that followed its own laws rather than the laws of the United States. Through the hard work of this investigation and trial, we have said no more; we will not tolerate the violence and criminality the Vice Lords stand for and perpetuate," United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison said. "With this verdict, we have dismantled the leadership of multiple branches of this criminal organization and disrupted their ability to operate in our neighborhoods."

"The Almighty Vice Lord Nation is a shell of what it was. Today's verdict against Martin Murff, Eddie Reid, and Kevin Fordham sends a strong message to gangs across the Detroit - Chicago metropolitan areas….cease and desist with poisoning and terrorizing our communities with senseless gun violence and drug trafficking. If you do not, serious consequences will come," said, ATF Special Agent in Charge James Deir "These defendants posed as legitimate community members while overseeing an interstate criminal enterprise that killed and maimed people in both Michigan and Illinois. Their flagrant assault on our way of life ends today with this just verdict."

The jury acquitted Kenneth Johnson, who will be returned to the Michigan Department of Corrections to serve a lengthy sentence for an unrelated conviction.

More than 20 other members of the AVLN were indicted as a result of this investigation and await trial in federal court.

Updated December 9, 2023
Violent Crime