A federal grand jury indicted four Buffalo men Friday in connection with three separate gang- and drug-related murders in the summer of 2009.
The indictment also charges one of the men, Johnny Rounds, with leading an East Side drug gang that prosecutors are calling the Rounds Crew.
Rounds, who was charged under the so-called "Drug Kingpin" law, is the only defendant accused in all three murders.
"This represents the second time in seven days that we have used the federal racketeering law to dismantle a violent street gang," said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.
The 28-count indictment charges Rounds and others with taking part in the 2009 murders of Brandon Haugabook, Larry Crosland and Shawn Kozma.
The grand jury also indicted Donald Rounds, Lorenzo Hunt and Demario Stewert in the murders.
Two other men, Ricky Proctor and Broderick Robinson, also were indicted on nonmurder related charges. The indictment was accepted Friday by U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr.
The indictment represents the government's latest attempt at using federal racketeering law to prosecute violent crimes such as murder. The same law was used last week in an indictment of Seventh Street gang members on the West Side.
"This allows us to hold them accountable for every bad act they committed on behalf and in furtherance of their drug-distribution network," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti, the prosecutor handling the case.
Together, the six men are accused of numerous acts of violence and narcotics trafficking on the East Side. All six face life in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines could result in shorter sentences.
The allegations in the indictment suggest Johnny Rounds and others took part in three separate murders:
*The shooting death of Haugabook on July 10, 2009, near the corner of Paderewski Drive and Townsend Street.
*The murder of Crosland on Aug. 12, 2009, on William Street.
*The murder of Kozma on Aug. 13, 2009, on Reed Street. Kozma's body was later burned and dumped in a vacant lot on Smith Street.
Another member of the gang, Adrian L. Traylor, already has pleaded guilty to shooting Crosland and taking part in the murder of Kozma. He was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
The government is using the "Drug Kingpin" law to claim that Johnny Rounds acted as leader of the gang.
The indictment also accuses Rounds and the others of narcotics trafficking and claims they used violence and intimidation to protect their drug enterprise.
The indictment was the result of an investigation by the FBI, Buffalo Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Erie County District Attorney's Office.