A prominent member of a Minneapolis street gang has been convicted of two felonies in connection with a gun-buying operation that fueled deadly street violence for years over illicit-drug turf on the North Side.
Veltrez "Chief" Black, 26, one of 11 people indicted in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis last fall, was found guilty by jurors of two firearms-related felonies, the U.S. attorney's office announced Friday. The other 10 pleaded guilty.
When the indictments were announced last November, Hennepin County authorities said they would stifle a long run of gang violence. Prosecutors described several of the defendants as high-ranking members of the 1-9 street gang and its offshoot the Stick Up Boys.
The two gangs have been warring for years with two rival crews, the Taliban and Young 'N Thuggin', for control of drug turf in north Minneapolis, through which much of the area's narcotics trade flows. The turf war led to at least six killings.
The defendants relied on "straw buyers," people with clean records who buy weapons for criminals, according to authorities. They bought at least 10 weapons and then handed them over to known gang members.
Prosecutors say Black was in possession of 12 guns at various times while a felon and while associating with other gang members. His sentencing date has not been set.