Eric Eugene “Bug” Brice was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison on Thursday, becoming the final member of a local faction of the United Blood Nation to go to prison on racketeering and related charges.
Brice, 42, pleaded guilty in March to possession of an illegal firearm, a Maverick 99 pistol-grip shotgun.
In all, 28 members of the United Blood Nation were sentenced. The suspects, many of whom live in the Gaston County area, were arrested in a police roundup in May 2012.
The 59-page indictment detailed meetings between gang members, plans to threaten witnesses, drug transactions and a shooting. The alleged crimes were discovered by authorities during a two-year investigation.
“They brought nothing but bad news and violence to these neighborhoods,” Gastonia Police Sgt. Jeff Clark told the Observer in 2012.
The Bloods formed in Los Angeles in the 1970s and spread across the country during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, the indictment said. In 1993, gang leaders incarcerated at Rikers Island Prison in New York decided the gang should be united and created the “United Blood Nation.”
The UBN expanded across the East Coast, prosecutors said, with a strict command hierarchy and a national council.
Gang members identified factions by their area codes, with 704 representing members in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties. Most were known by gang names, including “I-Shine,” “Poo Nuk” and “Rambo.”
The man whom authorities identified as the Gaston gang’s leader, Franklin “Frankie Boo” Robbs, 43, was sentenced to 11 years of prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Gang members met regularly to talk about past acts of violence and other crimes against rival gang members, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
During those meetings, court records show, gang members talked about future crimes, shared the identities of people they suspected of cooperating with law enforcement, and discussed what action should be taken against those informants.