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Alleged gang member arrested in extortion

July 14, 2009 |  2:42 pm

The leader of a gang that allegedly attacked a punk rock musician has been arrested in Los Angeles on extortion charges, the FBI said today.

Elgin Nathan James was arrested Monday night at his Silver Lake home after allegedly attempting to extort $5,000 from a Chicago-area musician, U.S. Atty. Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement.

A complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago claims James was a founding member of a street gang called FSU, which stands for Friends Stand United as well as an expletive.

James and several gang members boasted about the group's violent methods in a 2004 documentary, and FSU was featured last year in an episode of the History Channel’s “Gangland,” prosecutors said.

The victim, who was not identified, was on tour in the Chicago area in 2005 when he became involved in a dispute with an employee of another band, whose security guard is an FSU member in Chicago, prosecutors said. The incident triggered several attacks on the victim by FSU members, they said.

In the fall of 2005, James allegedly told the victim that FSU would stop attacking him if he made a $5,000 “donation,” the complaint said.

If convicted, James faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

-- Ruben Vives