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Tallahassee Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal > Suspects Arrested in Fatal Drive-By Shooting Could Face Florida RICO Charges

Suspects Arrested in Fatal Drive-By Shooting Could Face Florida RICO Charges


You’ve probably heard of RICO being used to bust up organized crime rings. However, did you know that Florida has its own variation on the federal statute that is prominent in many mafia movies? Recently, Seminole County deputies announced that they arrested 13 people and are searching for a 14th after a fatal 2023 drive-by shooting killed a woman. Law enforcement characterized the incident as a high-profile dispute between music stars Kodak Black and Jackboy, with ties to gang activity. The 13 suspects face charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and racketeering under Florida’s RICO law.

What is RICO? 

RICO is a piece of federal legislation called the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It became law in 1970 and was meant to help federal prosecutors fight organized crime. The law made it possible to hold one member of a criminal enterprise responsible for the conduct of the entire enterprise. The stated purpose of the law was “the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce.”

Florida passed its own version of the RICO law which largely mirrored the federal statute. Florida’s version of the law focused on organized crime, including gang activity, taking place in the State of Florida.

Florida’s RICO statute applies to various types of crimes. It is meant to bust criminal enterprises that engage in an ongoing pattern of criminal activity. It can apply to crimes such as counterfeiting, organized retail theft, and even violent crimes like a drive-by shooting.

How to prove a RICO charge 

To prove a RICO charge in Florida, prosecutors must be able to establish that a criminal organization exists and that one or more individuals are tied to this criminal organization. There must be multiple crimes tied to the RICO charges. In the case mentioned above, you have a murder, an attempted murder, and a drive-by shooting. The defendants will face charges for the murder and the attempted murder along with RICO charges related to their criminal organization. The state will also need to show that the defendants engaged in a criminal organization during which they committed multiple crimes.

You can’t charge a defendant under RICO when there is only a single crime. The state has to be able to prove that multiple crimes were committed. In other words, prosecutors have to prove that a criminal organization or enterprise exists, multiple crimes were committed by this organization, and that those who committed the crimes did so knowingly for the organization.

Those accused of committing the drive-by are members of a street gang known as OTF (On Top Forever). OTF is a subsidiary of the national Crips street gang. They had recently become an affiliate of the Crips, and investigators believe that the gang was attempting to make a name for itself.

Talk to a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Lawyer Today 

If you are facing serious charges in Tallahassee, you need a serious criminal defense attorney to help fight the charges. Call the Tallahassee criminal defense lawyers at Luke Newman, P.A. today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.



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