Federal and local law enforcement officers have been conducting a long-term investigation into a gang they say is responsible for drug trafficking and a slew of robberies, according to a federal court document.
The court records shed light on a larger ongoing law enforcement investigation into gang members and reveal the inner operations of a Bloods gang thought to be responsible for significant crimes in Omaha.
Members of the NIKE gang are suspected in numerous bank and commercial robberies as well as in the sale and transportation of narcotics, and in felony assaults and homicides, according to FBI Special Agent John Hallock.
The court documents do not name specific NIKE gang members who have been arrested or charged with committing the crimes.
The FBI and the Omaha Police Department joined forces from June to November 2014 to investigate a rash of robberies at banks in the city.
About 30 banks were robbed in Omaha in 2014, a noticeable increase over previous years. Police have reported arrests in seven of those robberies.
Law enforcement officials determined that NIKE gang members were involved with the robberies, Hallock said.
The federal government sought a warrant last week to search a home of an associate of the NIKE gang. The search warrant was part of a larger ongoing investigation involving gang members who traffic narcotics, according to court documents.
“The investigation has determined that numerous NIKE Gang members sell narcotics as a way to fund the illegal activities of the NIKE Gang,” Hallock wrote.
Since 2013, local and federal authorities have worked together to conduct two lengthy investigations, Operations Wipe It Down and Purple Haze, which led to the arrests of gang members who dealt drugs and possessed firearms. Thirty people were arrested as a result of Wipe It Down, and Operation Purple Haze landed about 10 gang members behind bars.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer told The World-Herald earlier this year that police are working on another long-term investigation into violent gang members.
The NIKE gang surfaced in recent years, formed after gang members from the 38th Street Gang, 29th Street Gang, Victor Street Bloods, Bottoms Bloods and the Jaynes Street Bloods banded together, court records said. Local gang experts have said many of NIKE’s members are in their teens and 20s and are among Omaha’s fourth generation of gang members.
The NIKE gang has a strong presence on social media to further its message and advocate violence. It posts music videos showing the gang members pointing guns at the camera, talking about killing people, doing drugs and counting drug money.
Police and community organizations have condemned these videos, saying they glorify gang activity and could encourage more violence and gang retaliation. Police say the music videos can steer teenagers to join gangs.
Citing an ongoing investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Schmaderer declined to answer questions about the investigation.
World-Herald staff writer Emerson Clarridge contributed to this report.
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