Little Joe Gustafson guilty on racketeering charges

Duane "Little Joe" Gustafson was found guilty on a dozen charges yesterday in Hennepin County.

Prosecutors says Gustafson is second-in-command of the "Beat-down Posse," a violent and notorious gang that terrorized the North Side. Charges against Gustafson include: racketeering, terroristic threats, kidnapping, mortgage fraud, drug trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm.

"The Beat Down Posse is no more," says Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman in a statement. "Thanks to the fine efforts of our prosecutors, Minneapolis police, Minnesota Department of Commerce, FBI and IRS investigators, the Gustafsons and their followers can no longer terrorize Minneapolis' North Side. I couldn't be happier."

We first reported about Gustafson two years ago in our cover story, "Fallen Angels." Little Joe and his father, "Big Joe" Gustafson, were already the targets of a federal investigation by then.

According to the charges, the Gustafsons ran a highly organized criminal operation. They recruited members to join the Beat-down Posse based on specific skill sets, and held weekly meetings to discuss the gang's business.

Big Joe, a former Hell's Angel, was sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this year. Little Joe will face sentencing April 24. If the prosecutors get away, he'll get 20 years.

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