A Minneapolis gang leader was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Tuesday for his role in a cocaine trafficking ring, authorities said.
Louis Lee Frasier Banks, 26, was one of seven defendants indicted in March 2015 that included members of the Taliban and Young 'N Thuggin' (YNT) gangs — two associated North Side gangs that for years had been locked in a fierce turf battle with the 1-9 street gang and its offshoot the Stick Up Boys.
Banks, who had strong influence in the gangs due to seniority and previous crimes, pleaded guilty last October to one count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and one count of possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
A four-year investigation by the FBI's Safe Streets task force found that Banks' organization funded its activities by trafficking drugs to St. Cloud, Duluth and Fargo, where gangs could sometimes charge double the Minneapolis rate for crack, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced Banks to 15 years in prison with five years of supervised release.
Six other gang members were also charged in the drug ring.
Carnel Lavel Harrison, Dejuan Pierre Darkyse Washington and Laquedrick Lemel As-Sidiq each received a 10-year sentence; Cortez Davon Blakemore and Donte Tramayne Smith will serve under two years; Terrell Vonshay Roberson is awaiting sentencing.
The long-running turf war between these gangs resulted in at least six killings and numerous shootings in recent years, following the high-profile killing of a high-ranking 1-9 gang member in downtown Minneapolis in 2013.
Police also believe the YNT gang is partly responsible for a bloody spring in north Minneapolis, where warring factions have been linked to at least one mass shooting.
Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648