Columbia’s fierce Bloods gang — known mostly for its male members alleged to rob, mug, kill and traffic in drugs — has a female cadre known as the “Bloodettes,” a federal agent revealed Tuesday.
“The males are called the Bloods; the females are called Bloodettes,” testified FBI agent Kevin Conroy at the Matthew Perry U.S. Courthouse in Columbia.
Conroy, a lead investigator in the case that resulted in the June indictments of 38 alleged Bloods and Bloodettes, testified at an hourlong hearing about whether alleged Bloodette Shantane Simmons, 31, could have a bond set. According to a 100-page indictment, she faces racketeering charges.
At the hearing’s end, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paige Gossett ruled that Simmons poses a danger to the community and declined to set bond.
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Simmons’s court-appointed lawyer, William Hodge, had argued that she was a lifelong Columbia resident, not a flight risk and that the government hadn’t proved its case.
But Gossett was convinced by almost an hour of Conroy’s testimony. He answered question after question from Assistant U.S. Attorney J.D. Rowell designed to show that Simmons and other Bloodettes lived a life rife with drugs and violence.
What, Rowell asked Conroy, did your investigation reveal about Columbia’s Bloods and Bloodettes?
“The Bloodettes would have a leader as well, which would be the head Bloodette,” testified Conroy. “Most people considered Shantane Simmons to be the head Bloodette.”
As the FBI agent, a 17-year veteran, testified, Simmons looked on, sitting beside Hodge. She wore an orange jail jumpsuit and hand and foot chains. Her short dark hair was dyed carrot-red on top.
Numerous sources, including wiretaps, video surveillance and “cooperators” — Bloods gang members who are now informing on their fellow Bloods — gave the information to indict Simmons, Conroy testified.
One of Simmons’ duties was deciding “who was going to get beat in the gang, and who was going to do to beating,” Conroy testified. A key way of joining the Bloods is to let other members “beat in,” or pummel and kick, a new member during initiation for 31 seconds, Conroy testified.
In a related matter, indicted alleged Bloods member David Jenkins — whom authorities arrested in California and have described as the ringleader of Columbia’s Bloods group — pleaded not guilty before Gossett. Jenkins, 34, whose clear-frame glasses, inquisitive gaze and slight build give him a studious air, was then taken from the courtroom. He has had no bond hearing in Columbia.
“We certainly dispute that Jenkins was a ringleader,” said his court-appointed lawyer, Jonathan Milling, after court Tuesday. “At this point, we have no knowledge of what evidence they’re relying on to make that assertion.”