Forty-eight alleged members of the violent Gangster Disciples gang, including the top leaders in Tennessee and Georgia, were charged in two indictments (unsealed Wednesday) and accused of conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that included multiple murders, attempted murder and drug crimes.
Asst. Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney John A. Horn of the Northern District of Georgia, U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III of the Western District of Tennessee, Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Division and Special Agent in Charge A. Todd McCall of the FBI’s Memphis Division made the announcement in a press conference.
A 12-count indictment was returned by a grand jury on April 27 and unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia. Thirty people were taken into custody Wednesday and two remain at large.
A 16-count indictment was returned by a grand jury on April 22 and unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Tennessee. Fifteen people were taken into custody today and one remains at large.
“It is the very of core of law enforcement’s mission to ensure that everyone feels safe in their homes and neighborhoods, and it is a hard reality that many people across our country simply do not enjoy this basic sense of security because of gangs like the Gangster Disciples,” said Caldwell. “That is why it is so significant that today’s indictments charge top leaders within the Gangster Disciples. There are a lot of people out there willing to join gangs, and eager to get easy money from criminal activity. But there are far fewer people with the wherewithal to lead organizations like the Gangster Disciples. These are the people who keep gangs like the Gangster Disciples alive, year in and year out, generation after generation. Cases like these make a difference, and I want to thank all the law enforcement and U.S. Attorney Office and Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecutors who worked so hard to build this case.”
“Atlanta has historically been resistant to the incursion of these national gangs, but unfortunately today’s indictment shows how this landscape has changed in just the last few years, as the Gangster Disciples are only one of several gangs that now boast a strong foothold,” said Horn. “These charges show how a national gang like Gangster Disciples can wreak havoc here and in communities across the country, with crimes that run the gamut from murder to drug trafficking to credit card fraud. Within Georgia, the leadership of the Gangster Disciples resided mostly in metro Atlanta, yet the reach of the crimes committed extended into far south and west Georgia. We hope this indictment warns the leaders of these gangs that Atlanta is not a good place to do business.”
“As the indictment alleges, the Gangster Disciples flooded communities throughout the southeast and beyond with large amounts of drugs, and ruthlessly used fear, intimidation and even murder to promote and protect their nationwide criminal enterprise,” said Stanton. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to eliminate the terror gang members inflict upon our communities and will exhaust every available resource, including the federal RICO statute, to bring them to justice. Dismantling violent gangs at the highest levels remains a priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
“Today’s Gangster Disciple arrests across nine states merely marks the first wave of the FBI’s strategic campaign to dismantle this violent criminal organization,” said Johnson. “The Gangster Disciples are a highly organized and ruthless gang that recognizes no geographical boundaries and its members have far too long indiscriminately preyed upon and infected the good people of our communities like a cancer. The FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Forces recognize no boundaries either, and we are committed to identifying, disrupting and dismantling the most violent gangs that seek to harm our communities. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to seeing this campaign through and once and for all putting an end to the Gangster Disciples’ reign of violence.”
According to court documents, the Gangster Disciples is a national gang, active in more than 24 states, with a highly organized structure including board members and governor-of-governors who each controlled geographic regions; governors, assistant governors, chief enforcers and chiefs of security for each state or regions within the state where the Gangster Disciples were active; and coordinators and leaders within each local group. The documents say to enforce discipline among Gangster Disciples and adherence to the strict rules and structure, members and associates were routinely fined, beaten and even murdered for failing to follow the gang’s rules.
The scope of the Gangster Disciples’ crimes is wide and consistent throughout its national operation. The RICO conspiracies charged include attempted murder, narcotics trafficking, extortion, firearms crimes, obstruction of justice and other crimes in furtherance of the Gangster Disciples enterprise and to raise funds for the gang. In Georgia, for example, the Gangster Disciples brought money into the gang through, among other things, drug trafficking, robbery, carjacking, extortion, wire fraud, credit card fraud, insurance fraud and bank fraud.
According to documents, the gang protected its power and operation through threats, intimidation and violence, including murder, attempted murder, assault and obstruction of justice. It also promoted the Gangster Disciples enterprise through member-only activities, including conference calls, birthday celebrations of the gang’s founder, the annual Gangster Ball, award ceremonies and other events.
The gang also provided financial and other support to members charged with or incarcerated for gang-related offenses and members who were fugitives from law enforcement were provided “safe houses” to hide from police. To introduce the criminal nature of the Gangster Disciples to a new member, older members and leaders in the various local groups ordered newer members to commit crimes, including murder, robbery and drug trafficking. Gangster Disciples members would teach other members how to commit certain crimes, including frauds and would provide drugs on discount to other Gangster Disciples members for resale.
The Atlanta RICO conspiracy indictment names the following defendants and their alleged roles within the Gangster Disciples:
- Shauntay Craig, 37, of Birmingham, held the rank of Gangster Disciples board member;
- Alonzo Walton, 47, of Atlanta, held at different relevant times the positions of governor of Georgia and governor of governors, the latter position controlling Georgia, Florida, Texas, Indiana and South Carolina;
- Kevin Clayton, 43, of Decatur, Georgia, was the chief enforcer for the state of Georgia;
- Donald Glass, 26, of Decatur, served as a first coordinator of the eastside group of the Gangster Disciples;
- Lewis Mobely, 38, of Atlanta, was an enforcer;
- Vertious Wall, 40, of Marietta, was a first coordinator for the Macon Gangster Disciples group;
- Adrian Jackson, 37, of San Jose, California, was the national treasurer for the Gangster Disciples;
- Terrence Summers, 45, of Birmingham, held at different relevant times the positions of governor of Alabama and governor of governors for Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida;
- Markell White, 43, of Atlanta, was a regional leader in Macon;
- Ronald McMorris, 34, of Atlanta, was first coordinator of the Atlanta group;
- Perry Green, 29, of Decatur, was a member of the Gangster Disciples and acted as enforcer of a Gangster Disciples group;
- Dereck Taylor, 29, of Macon, was a member of the Gangster Disciples and acted as security for a Macon group;
- Alvis O’Neal, 37,of Denver, was a senior member of and money launderer for the Gangster Disciples;
- Jeremiah Covington, 32, of Valdosta, Georgia, was a first coordinator for the Valdosta region;
- Antonio Ahmad, 33, of Atlanta, was the chief of security for the state of Georgia;
- Eric Manney, 39, of Atlanta, was a member of the Gangster Disciples and stored multiple guns at his house;
- Quiana Franklin, 33, of Birmingham, served as treasurer for the state of Alabama;
- Frederick Johnson, 37, of Marietta, was a chief enforcer for a Gangster Disciples group;
- Charles Wingate,25, of Conyers, Georgia, was chief of security for a Covington, Georgia group;
- Vancito Gumbs, 25, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, was a member of the Gangster Disciples while at the same time serving as a police officer with the DeKalb County Police Department;
- Thomas Pasby, 42, of Cochran, Georgia, was a member of the Gangster Disciples;
- Denise Carter, 41, of Detroit, was a member of the Gangster Disciples;
- Carlton King Jr., 25, of Cochran, was a member of the Gangster Disciples;
- Kelvin Sneed, 26, of Cochran, was a member of the Gangster Disciples;
- Arrie Freeney, 32, of Detroit, was a member of the Gangster Disciples;
- Myrick Stevens, 26, of Madison, Wisconsin, was a member of the Gangster Disciples;
- Curtis Thomas, 45, of Cochran, was a member of the Gangster Disciples;
- Yohori Epps, 36,of Marietta, was a member of the Gangster Disciples; and
- Michael Drummound, 49, of Marietta, was a member of the Gangster Disciples.In addition to the RICO conspiracy, Glass and Mobely are each charged with committing or attempting to commit murder in aid of racketeering and using firearms during those crimes. Mobely, Glass, Craig, O’Neal, Covington and Travis Riley, 35, of Wichita, Kansas are also charged with various drug distribution crimes and Mobely and Glass are further charged with related firearms crimes. Walton, Ahmad and Laderris Dickerson, 45, of Chicago, are also charged with carjacking and Walton and Dickerson are charged with a related firearms offense.
The Memphis RICO conspiracy indictment names the following defendants and their alleged roles within the Gangster Disciples:
- Byron Montrail Purdy, aka “Lil B” or “Ghetto,” 37, of Jackson, Tennessee, served as Gangster Disciples leader in Tennessee;
- Derrick Kennedy Crumpton, aka “38,” 32, of Memphis, served as Gangster Disciples leader in Tennessee;
- Demarcus Deon Crawford, aka “Trip,” 32, of Jackson, served as leader of security in Tennessee;
- Henry Curtis Cooper, aka “Big Hen,” 36, of Memphis, served as leader of security in Tennessee;
- Rico Terrell Harris, aka “Big Brim,” 43, of Memphis, served as leader of security in Tennessee;
- Shamar Anthony James, aka “Lionheart,” 37, of Memphis, held the rank of governor of a region in Memphis;
- Demario Demont Sprouse, aka “Taco,” 35, of Memphis, held the rank of chief of security of a region in Memphis;
- Robert Elliott Jones, aka “Lil Rob” or “Mac Rob,” 36, of Memphis, held the rank of governor of a region in Memphis;
- Denton Suggs, aka “Denny Mo” or “Diddy Mo,”40, of Memphis, held the rank of chief of security in a section of Memphis;
- Santiago Megale Shaw, aka “Mac-T,” 23, of Jackson, was a member of the security team or blackout squad in Jackson;
- Tarius Montez Taylor, aka “T,” 26, of Jackson, was a member of the security team or blackout squad in Jackson;
- Tommy Earl Champion Jr., aka “Duct Tape,” 27, of Jackson, held the rank of chief of security of Jackson;
- Cory Dewayne Bowers, aka “Bear Wayne,” 32, of Jackson, was associated with the Gangster Disciples and acted as a member of the security team in Jackson;
- Gerald Eugene Hampton, aka “G30,” 30, of Jackson, held the rank of assistant chief of security and was a member of the security team’s blackout squad in Jackson;
- Daniel Lee Cole, aka “D-Money,” 37, of Jackson, acted as assistant governor and assistant education coordinator for the Gangster Disciples in Jackson; and
- Tommy Lee Wilkins (Holloway), aka “Tommy Gunz,” 28, of Memphis, was a member of the security team in Memphis.
In addition to the RICO conspiracy, all 16 defendants are charged with a cocaine-distribution conspiracy and Crawford, Shaw, Taylor, Champion and Bowers are charged with seven counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering and using a firearm during the commission of those offenses.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Atlanta case is being investigated by the FBI Atlanta’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force (composed of members of the FBI, Alpharetta Police Department, Atlanta PD, Clayton County PD, DeKalb PD, Forest Park PD, Georgia Dept. of Community Supervision, Georgia Dept. of Corrections, Gwinnett County PD and Marietta PD), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, United States Marshal’s Service and United States Postal Inspection Services. The Atlanta case is being prosecuted by trial attorney Hans B. Miller of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kim S. Dammers, Ryan K. Buchanan and Stephanie Gabay-Smith of the Northern District of Georgia.
The Memphis case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Memphis Multi-Agency Gang Unit; the Memphis PD; the Shelby County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office; the Jackson PD Gang Enforcement Team; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Madison County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Department; the 28th District West Tennessee Drug Task Force; the Tipton County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office; the 26th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office; the 25th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office; the Atascosa County, Tennessee District Attorney’s Office; and the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office. The Memphis case is being prosecuted by David N. Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jerry Kitchen, Samuel Stringfellow, Beth Boswell and Michelle Parks of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee.