United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that four individuals from Reading were convicted at trial of offenses including 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.
The individuals convicted at trial are: Shaquile Newson, 29; Alexander Malave, 31; Karvarise Person, 33; James Goode, 47.
In January 2020, fourteen defendants were charged by Superseding Indictment in connection with this case. The charges stemmed from a years’ long investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Reading Police Department into a racketeering conspiracy operating out of the boarding house as far back as December 2017 until roughly March 2019.
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 fourteen 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 U.S. Attorney Williams.
“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.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Reading Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sherri A. Stephan and Justin Ashenfelter.
“The defendants in this case committed truly heinous acts, treating living, breathing human beings like commodities for their own greed and profit. With this verdict, we hope the victims traumatized by The Sevens gang receive a measure of justice key to their healing,” said Homeland Security Investigations, Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker.
“This investigation took years to conduct and the single-minded commitment of HSI special agents, Reading Police Department detectives and officers, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. HSI is grateful to our partners and will continue with our dedication to dismantle human trafficking operations and connect victims with services they need.”