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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Members of prison gang with Hawaii roots indicted

APA federal grand jury has indicted 18 men in a multistate prison gang that has spread as Hawaii sends inmates to mainland prisons.

The racketeering indictment unsealed Tuesday alleges the men are members of a prison gang known as "USO Family" (OO'-soh) involved in drug-trafficking, bribery and violence. One defendant is a former prison guard.

The FBI says the gang operates in Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada prisons. Hawaii sends about one-quarter of its inmates to private prisons on the mainland because of a lack of space at island facilities.

Vida Bottom, special agent in charge of the FBI's Honolulu division, says Hawaii inmates formed the group in an Oklahoma prison in 1998.

The IRS alleges the gang used refunds from fraudulent tax returns to fund their operation.

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