05/20/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/20/2019 14:52
ATLANTA - A federal jury has convicted five members of the Gangster Disciples ('GD') national criminal organization of offenses including racketeering, conspiracy involving murder, carjacking, attempted robbery, and other crimes.
'The defendants in this case were each responsible for horrific violent crimes,' said U.S. Attorney Byung J. 'BJay' Pak. 'It should give the community comfort to know that justice has been done and that each defendant faces a long prison sentence in a federal facility. Gangs like this cannot hide behind a veil of performing community service while at the same time encouraging crimes such as murder and robbery. We, along with our local law enforcement and district attorney partners, will continue to vigorously prosecute gangs and seek punishment for their leaders.'
'I would like to thank the FBI led Safe Streets Gang Task Force and its state and local partners, in particular in this case, the Atlanta Police Department and DeKalb County Police Department, for their efforts in making this case and making our streets safer,' said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. 'The Gangster Disciples are a ruthless gang that has preyed upon the good people of our communities for far too long. We are dedicated to continue dismantling these organized and violent criminal enterprises until we reach our ultimate goal of ending their reign of terror.'
'This case is a great example of the value of interagency cooperation on a state and federal level. We are proud to stand with our Federal partners in an effort to dismantle dangerous gang operations plaguing our communities. We hope these convictions, along with the previous Gangster Disciple convictions in our local jurisdiction, send a strong and clear message that those who choose to engage in violent behavior will pay a price,' said DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston.
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: The Gangster Disciples are a national gang with roots in Chicago dating back to the 1970s. The gang is highly structured, with a hierarchy of leadership posts known as 'Positions of Authority' or 'POAs.' The gang strictly enforces rules for its members, the most important of which is 'Silence and Secrecy' - a prohibition on cooperating with law enforcement. Violations of the rule are punishable by death.
The evidence showed that the defendants and their fellow gang members used the gang's structure to carry out a pattern of violent and serious crimes, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, bank and wire fraud, drug trafficking and extortion. The jury heard testimony and other evidence about twelve victims murdered by Gangster Disciples and another twelve non-fatally shot.
Included in those murders was the killing of a man as he and his family walked home from a convenience store, leaving the man shot and dying in front of a 4-year-old child. The jury also saw surveillance footage from a shooting inside a Macon nightclub that left three people dead and another three injured. The jury also heard from a victim who was shot more than a dozen times because he refused to take part in a Gangster Disciples' sponsored community clean-up.
Evidence of other crimes included a recording that captured a gang meeting where members planned to rob over $80,000 from another fraudster and recorded phone calls where defendants planned and then committed a carjacking.
Among the defendants convicted, three were Gangster Disciples with high-level state leadership positions. The evidence at trial showed that Alonzo Walton was the 'Governor,' or highest-ranking Gangster Disciple in the State of Georgia, overseeing the entire state. Kevin Clayton was the 'Chief Enforcer' for the state, responsible for violently maintaining discipline among members. The state's enforcement structure included a specialized team known as the 'Hate Committee,' led by Donald Glass and responsible for carrying out shootings, robberies and murders.
Also convicted was Vancito Gumbs, a former DeKalb County police officer who was a Gangster Disciple member and self-professed 'hitman' for the gang while serving as an officer. Evidence showed that Gumbs relayed law enforcement information to the gang and provided guns. The jury also convicted Antarious Caldwell, who took part in murders and robberies as a member of the 'Hate Committee.'
The defendants convicted in this case were found guilty of the following charges:
Previously, 18 defendants pleaded guilty, and there are 15 defendants presently awaiting trial in this case.
This case was investigated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, DeKalb Police Department, DeKalb District Attorney's Office, and Atlanta Police Department.
Assistant U.S Attorneys Kim S. Dammers, Chief of the Organized Crime and Gangs section, Ryan K. Buchanan, Deputy Chief of the Violent Crime and National Security section, and Erin N. Spritzer of the Northern District of Georgia, and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Conor Mulroe of the Criminal Division's Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney's Public Affairs Office at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.