‘Beat Down’ Gang Leader Convicted

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Prosecutors in Hennepin County say the conviction of a gang leader ends the reign of the so-called “Beat Down Posse.”

Joseph Duane Gustafson Jr. was convicted Tuesday for his role in a family bail bonds business that prosecutors say was actually a front for a criminal gang that terrorized north Minneapolis.

“The Beat Down Posse is no more,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. “The Gustafsons and their followers can no longer terrorize Minneapolis’ North Side. I couldn’t be happier.”

Two weeks ago, Gustafson’s father was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors say the father and son ran the gang that robbed, beat and stole at their direction, going by the names “Big Joe” and “Little Joe,” respectively.

Freeman thanked prosecutors, Minneapolis police, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and investigators with the FBI and the IRS.

According to the commerce department’s commissioner Mike Rothman, “Insurance fraud was the Achilles’ heel that helped bring down one of North Minneapolis’ most violent and notorious gangs.”

Sentencing for Gustafson Jr. has been set for April 24. Prosecutors will seek a 20-year prison sentence.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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