Member of Eastside gang sentenced to 27 years in prison

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) --{}United States Attorney Bill Nettles and Ninth{}Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Tuesday that a gang member{}known as "Little Mike"{}was sentenced in Federal Court to 27 years in a federal penitentiary.

Michael Angelo Hayes was one of the leaders of a downtown Charleston criminal street gang known as "ESP" or the "East Side Posse."

Hayes, along with 15 other defendants, had been named in a 45-count indictment.

Other defendants in the case who have been sentenced in this case by Judge Duffy include Calvin Dixon, Kevin Coaxum, Tony Brown, Laquell Dixon, Shabazz Wise, Montrell Wise, Charles Fabers, and Kenneth Brown.

All of the men were convicted to at least five years in prison.


Assistant United States Attorney Kittrell said that Hayes was one of three individuals running a violent, loosely organized group of criminal associates and drug dealers who engaged in violence and the sale of drugs in Charleston in the Eastside neighborhood. The ESP territory was in the heart of that neighborhood, officials said. The federal prosecutors, Assistant United States Attorney Kittrell and Special Assistant United States Attorney Linder, showed in various court proceedings that gang members sold well over a kilogram of heroin and multiple kilograms of crack cocaine, using various residences and stores as distribution outlets on the East Side of Charleston.According to Assistant United States Attorney Kittrell and Special Assistant United States Attorney Linder, the drug dealers from ESP were a significant source of supply for heroin and crack for the metropolitan area and Hayes was well known in the criminal world as a leader of the group. "Mr. Hayes was someone whom others feared and during the course of the investigation intimidated witnesses. For instance, after being brought into federal court for his arraignment, Mr. Hayes rushed the rail between the well of the courtroom and the public seating, threatening someone whom he believed was cooperating," Kittrell said. The federal prosecutor said Hayes {}was a career criminal, a repeat offender with an extensive record. Hayes had 18 convictions on his record, including five felonies.{}He was arrested for 10 acts of violence, including two separate arrests for murder, strong arm robbery, assault on police officer while resisting arrest, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and simple assault and battery and simple assault. "In going after gangs, it is essential to investigate, prosecute, convict, and imprison the leaders and their associates in order to have a lasting impact. Multi-defendant violence, especially gang activity, is a continuing problem. Michael Hayes, Calvin Dixon and Arnold Bellinger were all leaders and members of ESP, which was a violent street gang and it is significant that these three got a combined total 66 years in the federal pen. It was great to see my current office was able to work so closely with my former office, where I was an Assistant United States Attorney,"{}Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said."ATF will continue to dedicate its resources in the fight against armed violent crime," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie. "ATF along with our law enforcement partners will continue to work together in our efforts to lower the rate of violent crime in affected communities."