Four individuals from Reading were convicted of offenses stemming from a year-long investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia and the Reading Police Department into a racketeering conspiracy, June 2.
The offenses included conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise; conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion of a minor; various violent crimes in aid of racketeering offenses including kidnapping and assaults with dangerous weapons; sex trafficking including of minors; and firearms offenses; all arising from their membership and association in a violent gang called “The Sevens,” which took control and operated out of a 50-room boarding house on South 4th Street in the City of Reading.
Individuals convicted at trial:
- Shaquile Newson, 29;
- Alexander Malave, 31;
- Karvarise Person, 33; and
- James Goode, 47.
In January 2020, 14 defendants were charged by superseding indictment in connection with this case. Evidence presented at trial showed that multiple acts of violence in furtherance of the criminal enterprise were carried out as well as numerous acts involving the sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking of women and minors. Victims were raped, shot, assaulted with batons, stabbed with a knife, and hit with a hammer. A minor was forced to have a sexual encounter with a gun held to her head. Sexually explicit photographs of a minor were also used to advertise the gang’s sex trafficking business. All 14 people originally indicted have now been convicted of charges related to this case.
“‘The Sevens’ gang was a vicious and depraved group of sadistic thugs who clearly had no reservations about using and destroying human beings for their own greed,” said United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “Thanks to the hard work of the trial team and investigators, we have stopped this violence and ‘The Sevens’ will no longer menace the streets of Reading. Our Office is committed to working with all of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to rid our District of the scourge of human trafficking and the trauma that it inflicts.”
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 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 over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States and 80 overseas locations in 53 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.