When Dontray Johnson visited Dante Bailey at the Baltimore County jail and told him he had killed fellow gang member Brian "Nutty B" Johnson for refusing to pay gang dues, Bailey approved.
"I told you about this," the leader of the Murdaland Mafia Piru (MMP) said, according to a wiretapped conversation included in a second superseding federal indictment of the Baltimore-based Bloods gang set that was quietly unsealed in June. "Blow a fucking head off! Blow another nigga's head off! I said I'm through. . . . Don't play with 'em. Make 'em scared!"
Johnson assured Bailey that he was on collection duty and would continue to instruct members to "kick that money out."
Brian Johnson, 29, was at the gang's headquarters, a BP gas station on the 5200 block of Windsor Mill Road, on Sept. 29, 2015, when Dontray Johnson shot him in the chest. It was not Dontray Johnson's first murder, according to the indictment: On Nov. 22, 2012, Johnson had killed another fellow Murdaland Mafia member, Antoine "Poopy" Ellis, 23, on Bailey's orders.
Ellis was the 198th murder in Baltimore that year.
After shooting Ellis, Johnson posted on his Facebook page: "198 n risen."
The vignettes are two of dozens in the indictment depicting beatings, shootings, and murders carried out with work-a-day nonchalance amid constant deals to buy and sell heroin and cocaine. Baltimore police confirm that the two murders described above were "closed by exception" in June when federal prosecutors unsealed the superseding indictment.
Three others were also closed in the wake of the federal case, which was announced last September with the indictment of 24 gang members.
Delante "Tay Tay" Lee pleaded guilty in federal court on Sept. 18 to dealing heroin and trying to kill a rival drug dealer, and to accidentally shooting himself as he reholstered his gun on Jan. 8, after chasing the rival (identified only by the initials "B.W." in the plea agreement) into traffic and shooting him in the arm.
Lee was the 12th MMP member or associate to plead guilty in the case. The group operated for years from the gas station, which lent them the nickname "5200 Boys" and, the feds assert, gave them easy access to customers driving into Baltimore on I-70.
The gas station was a notorious hotspot for shootings, beatings, and other mayhem before the city closed it under its nuisance ordinance in June of 2016.
"When you have gun-toting drug dealers who take over this gas station as if it's their sovereign piece of property, it's our responsibility to take action, and that's what we're doing," Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said at the time.
Yet the case has gotten little attention since then, even as gang members have copped to plea deals and details have emerged in court about the group's crimes. Lee faces up to life in prison but most of the defendants so far have gotten between 10 and 15 years.
The gang, allegedly formed by Dante Bailey in 2010, controlled multiple drug shops in North and West Baltimore, and extracted tribute from other dealers, according to the indictment.
Bailey was obsessed with Italian Mafia language and tradition, according to the second superseding indictment, and was rapping under the name "Gutta" and "Gutta Almighty." Bailey (who also called himself "Wolf") can still be seen on YouTube waving guns around, fanning currency, driving his Audi, and rapping.
According to the second superseding indictment, Bailey himself shot James Maurice "Bangout" Edwards, a subordinate in the gang, on the 300 block of Collins Avenue on Feb. 12, 2015.
His lawyers did not respond to City Paper's requests for comment.
The indictment alleges that Bailey and Jamal Lockley killed Anthony Hornes, a 34-year-old African-American man, on April 28, 2016, because they believed (incorrectly) that Hornes was responsible for the murder of fellow MMP member Maurice "Mookie" Braham. The indictment also says Bailey ordered the murder of Ricardo Johnson, a 47-year-old African-American man who was found dead in the back of a minivan in Westport on Aug. 10, 2016.
According to the feds, Sydni Frazier and at least one co-conspirator abducted, bound, and murdered Johnson, then tried to burn the body. Later that same day, Frazier fled from police, flinging two handguns from his vehicle, the indictment says.
A Baltimore Police spokesman says the department cleared that homicide by Frazier's arrest. State court records indicate that Frazier was previously charged with illegal gun possession in Dec. 2014, with the case dropped in May 2015.
When the federal indictment was announced, the ATF agent in charge asserted that federal grand juries had, in the previous 17 days, indicted 51 people responsible for 25 murders and 36 non-fatal shootings.
"Our goal is to make this the last Bloods case," then-U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod Rosenstein told reporters. "Most shootings in Baltimore are committed by drug dealers, and conspiracy cases get their attention. We can reduce violence by prosecuting members of gangs that foment violence."
Since then, 342 people have been murdered in Baltimore.
The indictment and related plea deals open a window into Baltimore's crime wave. One member of the gang, Melvin "Menace" Lashley, allegedly bragged about assaulting Bobby Shmurda, a Brooklyn-based rapper "associated with the rival Crips gang," according to the indictment. Shmurda took a seven-year plea deal in federal court in Manhattan last fall in a rather infamous case covered extensively in a sympathetic GQ profile which asked, "does the justice system fundamentally misunderstand the world of rap?"
Lashley pleaded guilty on May 23 to racketeering and drug-dealing and was scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 29, but the sentencing was cancelled and his lawyer withdrew from the case.
The indictment also alleges that, in 2015, Bailey formed the "Black Blood Brotherhood," an alliance with other gangs, mainly the Black Guerrilla Family, "as an efficient market for contract killings." The feds allege that, "for instance, if a BGF leader wanted someone killed, he might pay Bailey to subcontract the murder to a subordinate of MMP, or vice-versa. By contracting out murders to members of other gangs, Bailey and other gang leaders made it more difficult for law enforcement to solve murders and apprehend those responsible."
According to the indictment, Bailey and fellow gang member Randy Banks burglarized Hopkins Beauty Supply on the 1700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue during the April 28, 2015 riot.
In June of that year, Bailey uploaded a 10-minute music video called 'White America' which appends political rhetoric to his drug dealing come-up.
"I own the night," he raps, shirtless, in the first section. "I'm up early."
The video then switches to scenes from the Baltimore Uprising, with Martin Luther King in voiceover:
"The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war."
Then it cuts again, with Bailey outside in a crowd, rapping about another million-man march: "Black power, bitch, I'm the fuckin' last Don. Fuck the police. They ain't scarin' us. It's a pop song what's up White America?" Then: "I feel like Malcolm X, getting by any means, I'm gon' fulfill my dreams . . . like Dr. King."
On July 21, 2015 Bailey called an associate in the Baltimore City Detention Center, ordering him to punish a gang member who was thought to be cooperating with law enforcement.
"You supposed to slap the shit out shorty. . . . Punish that nigga!" he said, according to the indictment. When the other man agreed to assault the target, Bailey replied, "I got you, I'll send you a money order. . . . Destroy that nigga, yo!"
The next day, Bailey and Dominick "Fish" Kane were with a third man (called an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment) at their BP gas station headquarters, when they tried to murder another man and ended up in a shootout.
Bailey spoke to the other man, identified only as L.S., while Kane and the other crew member snuck up to L.S.'s vehicle and shot L.S. several times. But L.S.'s boys then roared up in another vehicle, guns blazing, hitting Maurice "Reece" Pollock and Brian "Nutty B" Johnson—the man Dontray Johnson would kill in September.
Gang members talked about the shootout on wiretapped phones, the indictment says. They weren't especially careful on social media either, uploading pictures, videos, and other evidence the feds found useful: On July 27, William Banks texted Bailey, "The Feds got Instagram dummy u know that."
On July 29, 2015, Bailey was arrested and held without bail in the Baltimore County jail, charged with drug dealing. He stayed inside through the spring of 2016, and the feds say he was recruiting new gang members in the jail.
The indictment says federal agents seized papers from one of Bailey's prospects, in which Bailey explained that the gang was 25 percent Piru Bloods and 75 percent Mafia, which he called "our bloodline."
Bailey, who earned a seven-year federal prison sentence in 2004 for being a felon with a gun, also recounted the history of the MMP gang, beginning with its creation on March 2, 2009, when "Bad Guy," who was an "OOOG of TTP," set out "to separate the real brothers from the fake" after "the Don of Tree Top told the Feds on his brothers."
Bailey continued: "In 2010, Bad Guy & Wolf [Bailey's name for himself] finally reunited in USP [penitentiary] Lee County & the structure of the MOBB was put into effect… Bad Guy & Wolf made history together for the MOBB by smashing the New York & New Jersey Blood sets in USP Lee, sending a message to the Bloods on the East Coast that we, Murdaland Mafia, run Murdaland."
Bailey explained that by 2012, "Mobsters had taken over Baltimore drug corners including Greenmount and Ilchester, 27th and Boone, Lauretta & Warwick & part of North & Pulaski." He wrote about the bits of ink flair members could earn: an "M" tattoo for taking the mafia oath, a lightning bolt for murdering on behalf of the gang, a pink rose for "Mafia wife," a "badge of honor" for a "made man," a "wolf imprint" for "direct descendant of Werewolf, who has killed," and a "Mafia shield" for "Capo of the MOBB."
On April 4, 2016, Bailey made bail. Three weeks later, at 7:38 p.m. on a Thursday night, Maurice "Mookie" Braham, an MMP member, was gunned down on the 4700 block of Gwynn Oak Avenue. At his funeral, on May 9, the gang draped a red MMP banner over his casket, and, after the viewing, Bailey hung a diamond-studded necklace bearing the letter "M" around his dead comrade's neck.
The superseding indictment alleges that on May 17, 2016, in addition to having 94 grams of heroin for sale, Bailey had "an autobiographical screenplay featuring members of MMP and describing acts of violence very similar to ones MMP members are known to have carried out."
The feds also claim to have an undated letter Bailey allegedly wrote to a made member of the gang. It warns the man, who is not named, that he "failed to follow the protocol" and that Bailey would be watching him for the next 90 days to make sure he staffs-up his crew with the required underboss, capo, and lieutenant, and kisses all their cheeks to signify that they are each also "made men."