St. Louis, MO – 27 January 2011 – The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that two Chicago area residents and a Denver man pled guilty this week to Racketeering Conspiracy charges in United States District Court in St. Louis.

Thomas Bailey, a/k/a “Qball,” 41, and Maurice Thomas, 32, both of Chicago, and Rasheed Jamal Brandon, 33, of Denver were indicted by a federal grand jury in June of 2011. In connection with their pleas, all three men admitted that they were associated with the Wheels of Soul Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, a nationwide motorcycle organization claiming chapters in more than 20 states. Bailey and Thomas admitted to trafficking in cocaine base (also known as “crack”) in furtherance of the Wheels of Soul enterprise. In addition to the drug trafficking activity, Bailey, once a ranking member of the Chicago Westside Chapter of the Wheels of Soul, acknowledged that he had agreed to the killing of an insubordinate member as punishment for his repeated transgressions. Brandon acknowledged that he conspired with other members of the Wheels of Soul to murder rival motorcycle club members in East St. Louis, Illinois in January 2011. He also agreed to the commission of a home-invasion robbery of a suspected drug dealer in southern Illinois.

Bailey and Thomas entered their pleas Wednesday, Brandon pled today. All defendants appeared before Chief United States District Judge Catherine D. Perry. Sentencing for Bailey and Thomas is set for April 11, 2012, Brandon is set for April 24, 2012.

“The guilty pleas this week confirm the violent nature of this outlaw motorcycle gang and the threat it poses to the safety of our communities,” said Thomas R. Metz, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI St. Louis Division.

Each defendant faces sentences of up to 20 years in prison. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

The investigation into the Wheels of Soul began in 2009 after an armed robbery and a murder occurred in St. Louis, allegedly by members of that organization’s St. Louis Chapter. Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in St. Louis later teamed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Chicago, and the investigation expanded to include targets not only in those cities, but in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Louisville, and Denver. In all, 18 defendants were charged in a multi-count indictment in which it is alleged that these members of the Wheels of Soul are responsible for multiple murders, attempted murders, conspiracies to commit murder, kidnaping, and trafficking in firearms.

As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. The remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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