Remarks of United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. September 19, 2016 Sentencing of Daniel Mathis, Shanti Shelton, Mersadies Shelton
and Kweli Uhuru of the 99 Goonz Syndikate
Good afternoon and thank you all for being here today. My name is John Fishwick and I’m the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. I’m proud to be joined here today by so many of our law enforcement partners who worked on this very difficult investigation and prosecution, including representatives from the Virginia State Police, FBI, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Louisa County, the Charlottesville Police Department, the Albemarle County Police Department, the Waynesboro Police Department, and the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier today I met with the family of Kevin Quick, the man who was so brutally murdered by the four defendants who were sentenced earlier in federal court. Four defendants who were members of a violent street gang, the “99 Goon Syndikate,” a sect of the Bloods Street gang.
Kevin’s family has been through so much throughout this process and I thank them for their strength, their patience and their faith in our office for
handling this very difficult case. I want talk about this case and today’s sentencings and then speak broadly about prosecuting gang cases and how effective this case was as an example of cooperative law enforcement efforts.
US v. the 99 Goonz Syndikate.
In 2013, Kevin Quick got a text message from Yadi Weaver, who was the mother of Kevin’s daughter. It was late and their newborn child was suffering
from whooping cough. Yadi was worried about the baby and asked if Kevin would come over and help. Like any good father, Kevin didn’t hesitate and left his
mother’s home in Waynesboro, where he was living at the time, and drove to Yadi’s apartment here in Charlottesville.
But Kevin never got the chance to see either Yadi or his daughter that evening because waiting in that parking lot were Daniel Mathis, Shanti Shelton,
Mersadies Shelton and Kweli Uhuru. These four individuals, who for the previous year had participated in a pattern of violent armed robberies in and around
Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Louisa County and Fluvanna County, carjacked Kevin, kidnapped him, and eventually drove him to an isolated wooded area on the border between Goochland and Louisa counties where they shot him once in the back of the head.
Kevin Quick was a father, a son, a brother, a husband and a Captain in the Waynesboro Reserve Police Department. The four individuals who were charged and ultimately found guilty by a jury of their peers for a variety of federal charges related to Kevin’s kidnapping and murder, including federal racketeering charges, were sentenced today to spend the rest of their lives in federal prison.
Now we all know these sentences won’t bring Kevin Quick back to his family, his friends or co-workers. Knowing that these individuals will spend the
rest of their lives in prison cannot heal the wounds of losing a loved one, but I do hope it brings some level of closure to Kevin’s family to know that this very strong coalition of law enforcement standing behind me justly and righteously found the individuals responsible for the senseless death of their son, their brother, their husband.
One of the issues this case highlighted for me is the continued presence of gangs in Central Virginia. If you look at the defendants in this case, most of them
are from Charlottesville, Albemarle or Louisa counties. These are local kids who grew up here and were recruited into this gang lifestyle out of our very own
communities, our schools and our neighborhoods. To see just how violent this group was, with multiple, violent armed robberies, multiple shootings and the
murder of an off-duty reserve police officer, is a stark reality to face.
But it’s also an eye-opening call-to-action, one that this community has answered with gusto. One way the communities in Charlottesville, Albemarle and
Louisa counties has responded has been the work of GRACE, an anti-gang group that focuses on gang prevention and education. GRACE has already done great work in the region and continues to be a positive force in the fight against gang recruitment. Cooperative Law Enforcement While prevention and education is a part of what we do, the biggest reason these four defendants are going to prison for the rest of their lives is because of the great work of the federal, state and local law enforcement officers standing behind me.
These individuals, and the others who operated as part of this conspiracy, participated in an escalating string of violent, armed robberies over a two-year
period that spanned multiple jurisdictions and effected the lives of multiple victims.
If not for a cooperative effort by law enforcement, this group, or some of its members, might still be free today. However, because the agencies represented by those standing behind me today came together and attacked this threat, not with ego or the desire to get the credit in the media, but rather with a focus on doing what is best for the community and for justice, this conspiracy was put to an end.
From the very beginning the Virginia State Police has been the lead investigative agency in this matter, working closely with the FBI to move this case
forward. This type of cooperation was imperative to building a strong RICO case against this violent street gang, one that allowed our office to use the federal RICO statue to charge the entire gang membership for the total scope of their actions.
This type of investigation could not be done by a single agency. It is my pleasure to welcome Adam Lee, the Special Agent in Charge of the
FBI’s Richmond Division, who will speak about the FBI’s role in this investigation.
Today’s sentencing of Daniel Mathis, Mersadies Shelton, Shanti Shelton and Kweli Uhuru is the beginning of the end in what has been a very long and arduous case. In the weeks to come, other members of this conspiracy will be in Federal court and will receive their sentences for their various roles in this tale.
Today, Judge Conrad sentenced these four defendants to spend the rest of their lives in federal prison. I hope Kevin Quick’s family can find some closure in knowing that this office and all the men and women who worked on this case, from the lead investigator all the way down, worked very hard to seek justice for their son, their brother, their husband, their friend.
I also hope that the sentences imposed today provide some closure to the other victims of this violent street gang, this includes the numerous, merchants
who were held at gunpoint, the citizens who had their homes invaded at gun point and an elderly victim who was poisoned.
Today, justice was realized. I once again want to thank all of you for coming this afternoon. We will now take a few questions and do our best to answer them.