Franklin, Ivor men convicted of murder plot after criminal enterprise investigation

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Three members or affiliates of a violent criminal street gang, including one member from Franklin and another from Ivor, were convicted of a murder plot following an investigation conducted by the Homeland Security Investigations Norfolk field office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington, D.C., field division, the Franklin Police Department and the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.

A Tuesday, Dec. 19, release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security noted that the three members or affiliates participated in shootings in 2017 and 2019.

Ronald Jenkins, 42, of Franklin; Japree Brooks, 40, of Murfreesboro, North Carolina; and Malik Newsome, 30, of Ivor, were convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms and witness tampering at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“These three individuals perpetuated a culture of violence that has infected our communities and continues to threaten the safety of our residents,” said HSI Washington, D.C., Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “Now, they can spend their well-deserved prison sentences pondering the wisdom of their chosen lifestyle. HSI Washington, D.C., will not allow such miscreants to endanger our public. We will continue to detect, disrupt and dismantle these illicit criminal enterprises.”

According to the investigation, Jenkins, Brooks and Newsome were members or associates of the “Franklin Enterprise,” a Blood-affiliated street gang that operates in Franklin. The group engaged primarily in narcotics trafficking, as well as some robberies and beatings to protect its territory.

When a rival Crip-affiliated gang murdered a high-ranking member of the group, the group hunted down and shot several members of the rival gang. One of the victims was shot in the hand and leg. Two other victims received gunshots to their bodies, leaving each with permanent injuries. 

Jenkins faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 16, 2024. 

Brooks faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 18, 2024. 

Newsome faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 23, 2024.

This case was investigated by HSI Norfolk, ATF Washington, D.C., the Franklin Police Department and the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office. This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Taylor and Trial Attorney Christopher Taylor of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the U.S. using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the U.S. and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.