Nine members and associates of a New Orleans-based motorcycle gang have admitted using stolen U-Haul trucks to steal over $200,000 in motorcycles and 4-wheelers from shops in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
Beginning in February 2017, members and friends of the East Side Wheelie Kings in New Orleans, stole from motorcycle shops in Alabama and Louisiana and in over five Mississippi counties, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathlyn Van Buskirk.
The thieves loaded the stolen bikes on to U-Haul trucks, then transported them back to New Orleans to sell on Instagram and other Internet sites.
Suzuki City in Biloxi and Halls Motor Sports in Ocean Springs are among the shops targeted in South Mississippi, though other thefts occurred in other counties, including in nearby Pearl River County.
The crime spree went on for more than a year, ending in May 2018 after the theft of over 100 motorcycles, Van Buskirk said.
A federal grand jury later indicted all nine suspects on charges of conspiracy and transportation of stolen motorcycles across state lines.
The last of the nine of defendants pleaded guilty to federal charges in November and each of are awaiting sentencing. A conspiracy charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, while a charge of transportation of a vehicle across state lines is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Here’s a list of those arrested and the charges they pleaded guilty to in a plea deal with the federal government:
- Jerrell Maxon Jr., of New Orleans, Louisiana; transportation of stolen vehicles across state lines
- Wallace King, of New Orleans, Louisiana; conspiracy
- Jermaine Neal Mitchell, of Edgard, Louisiana; conspiracy
- Emmett Hills, of New Orleans, Louisiana; conspiracy
- Kentrell Hubbard, of New Orleans, Louisiana; conspiracy
- Brandon J. Johnson, of Mirror, Louisiana; conspiracy
- Tim Jackson, Of New Orleans, Louisiana; conspiracy
- Brandon Soublet, of Violet, Louisiana; conspiracy
- Byron Blunt, of New Orleans, Louisiana; transportation of stolen vehicles across state lines
Authorities in South Mississippi arrested some of the suspects on state charges prior to a federal grand jury heard evidence in the case and indicted them on additional federal charges.
In February 2017, Biloxi police arrested Soublet and Johnson after dispatchers got a call about people loading motorcycles into a U-haul truck outside the store on Beauvoir Road.
Authorities later found a U-Haul on I-10 in Biloxi, where Johnson, Soublet and Maxon reportedly bailed out of the moving truck just west of the Tchoutacabouffa bridge near Cedar Lake Road exit and ran into into the woods. Authorities arrested Soublet and Johnson the same day and arrested Maxon a short time later.
Biloxi police arrested Mitchell, Hubbard and Hills in May 2017 after a patrol officer spotted two U-Haul trucks in the parking lot of Suzuki City on Beauvoir Road. As the officer walked toward the U-Haul trucks, he saw four men running away, though they were later identified and captured.
In addition to federal charges, the suspects are facing states charges of burglary or receiving stolen property or both.
All are still awaiting sentencing on the federal violations.