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The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) allows for criminal penalties for offenses committed by multiple people as part of a singular ongoing criminal organization. It was first enacted as a federal law in 1970 as an attempt to diminish organized crime, but now, many states—including Minnesota—have their own adaptations of the federal law. Essentially, it allows law enforcement to charge multiple people with the crimes committed by the organized group as a whole. RICO is commonly used to bring charges against gangs and other forms of criminal organizations.
Today, a high-profile RICO case remains at the center of the rap world. Rappers Gunna and Young Thug have been in custody since May 9, 2022, on charges resulting from their alleged participation in a ‘violent street gang’ named YSL. But Gunna and Young Thug aren’t the only defendants. 26 other defendants have been joined in the case as they, too, are suspected of being involved with the gang and are charged with conspiracy to violate Georgia’s state RICO Act. The 88-page indictment first claims that a conspiracy exists between members of YSL, then enumerates over 180 offenses committed in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy, taking place between January 2012 and April 2022.
To be found guilty, the prosecutors must show that the 28 defendants committed two or more offenses during a 10-year period that were part of a racketeering scheme.
So, what will happen?
It’s unclear how these charges will play out for Gunna, Young Thug, and the other defendants. If an individual is found guilty, they could be convicted of many offenses in the lengthy indictment, including murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, theft, possession of a firearm, and possession of controlled substances, in addition to the conspiracy charge. The penalties for a RICO conviction alone could mean up to 20 years in prison, a fine, or both.
In Minnesota, Minn. Stat. § 609.903 addresses racketeering. It states that a person is guilty of racketeering if the person:
- Is employed by or associated with an enterprise and intentionally conducts or participates in the affairs of the enterprise by participating in a pattern of criminal activity;
- Acquires or maintains an interest in or control of an enterprise, or an interest in real property, by participating in a pattern of criminal activity; or
- Participates in a pattern of criminal activity and knowingly invests any proceeds derived from that conduct, or any proceeds derived from the investment or use of those proceeds, in an enterprise or in real property.
Racketeering charges are serious. They call for a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. If you have questions about your situation, please give us a call at 763.421.6366.