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baltimoresun.com

The Dead Man Inc. handbook

By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

8:30 AM EST, January 9, 2013

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The founder of Maryland's largest home-grown gang, Perry Roark, may have publicly walked away from the organization at his sentencing this week on racketeering charges, but a co-defendant says he's in control of the group and working to bolster its ranks.

James Sweeney, who has also pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge and is awaiting sentencing, has been writing to The Baltimore Sun from a federal prison in Texas, seeking to dispute prosecutors' claims that Dead Man Inc. is a criminal organization and to clarify how it was formed.

Offering a rare glimpse into the inner-workings of a gang - particularly with members under an active federal indictment - Sweeney sent us 100-plus pages of what he said is Dead Man Inc.'s current manual. Interestingly, he repeatedly says Dead Man Inc. is not a gang and focuses on its messages of empowerment and unity, but also notes that it has an offshoot called "Power Over All" which is very much described as a criminal enterprise. To him, the distinction is significant.

"Enclosed you will find a modified version of the organization's original guidebook, to DMI and POA; also a copy of the new and 'official' organizational structure - which has never been seen by anyone outside DMI or POA," Sweeney wrote. "My motive for writing you and sending the enclosed is because I want it known that DMI is not a criminal organization or new-age gang. I have nothing to hide from you or the public. ... What I fear is doing nothing for the greater good of DMI, our children, families and communities."

Because of this apparent warehousing of Dead Man Inc.'s missions, within the same documents there are conflicting references like the following:

-Referring to DMI: "Let us treasure this fact my friends - as members of DMI we have embraced this common cause of the greater good. Because we have established DMI as an underground organization of power and influence, we have also taken the position to fight for the united cause of the furtherance and preservation of our members, children, families and communities."

-Referring to POA: "The goal of POA is to establish themselves within the criminal underworld and gain power over all, to become the center of the web for a wider network of criminal organizations. This guidebook is to help POA members in becoming the best organized criminals they can be come and guide them in the ways to achieve their goal."

In its messages of empowerment and unity, the DMI writings echo those of the Black Guerilla Family's "Black Book," which The Sun obtained a copy of after members of that group were indicted in 2009.

Sweeney was already in federal prison when he was indicted along with 22 other alleged DMI members in 2011, and is expected to receive a life sentence after pleading guilty to charges that could have resulted in the death penalty. Evidently, he believes that he doesn't have anything to lose - and potentially something to gain - by openly discussing the organization.