Federal agents held a press conference today to announce the arrests of multiple members and associates of the national gang on RICO charges stemming from an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 27, 2016.
Forty-eight alleged members of the violent gang—including the top leaders in Tennessee and Georgia—have been charged with conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that included multiple murders, attempted murder, and drug crimes.
Among the four dozen alleged Gangster Disciples members charged in indictments unsealed Wednesday, one sticks out: an Atlanta-area police officer who prosecutors say claimed to be a hit man for the violent gang and tipped off other members about police activity.
An indictment filed in federal court in Atlanta last week names 32 people and a second indictment in Memphis, Tennessee, charges 16 more. The 48 alleged gang members are accused of participating in coordinated criminal activity, including murder, drug trafficking, robbery, carjacking, extortion and fraud. Most of them face racketeering charges.
All but two have been arrested in nine states — Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin — after a three-year investigation.
Vancito Gumbs was an officer in DeKalb County, who reportedly tipped off fellow gang members to police activity. According to the indictment, Gumbs also told someone he killed people as a hit man for the gang.
Gumbs resigned in October after someone reported that he was using drugs, said DeKalb County police Chief James Conroy, who described Gumbs as “a bad apple.”
Conroy said he has no reason to believe any other DeKalb officers were involved.
“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.
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.
The Gangster Disciples is a violent gang that began in Chicago in the 1970s when the Black Disciples and the Supreme Gangsters merged, the indictment says. It’s a highly structured and hierarchical organization divided into geographic groups, with Atlanta being homebase for their Georgia operation.
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.
The indictment alleges that Gangster Disciples members committed 10 murders, 12 attempted murders, two robberies, the extortion of rap artists to force the artists to become affiliated with the Gangster Disciples, and fraud resulting in losses of over $450,000.
The indictment also says that in November 2012 the gang threatened a rapper, identified only by the initials “R.R.,” with violence unless he paid them for using the gang’s name and symbols.
Prosecutors declined to identify the artist, but rapper Rick Ross has mentioned the gang in lyrics.
Ross canceled shows around the time the threats were made, but claims in interviews that the shows were canceled “due to a promoter, because he wasn’t really handling his business. … Never was it due to any threats.”
In addition, the Gangster Disciples trafficked in large amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, illegal prescription drugs, and marijuana. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of 34 different firearms seized as part of the investigation.
In the Georgia indictment alone, the grand jury indicted Gangster Disciples members from multiple cities in the state to include Atlanta, Decatur, Stone Mountain, Marietta, Valdosta, Macon, and Cochran. They also arrested gang members in Birmingham, Alabama; Denver, Colorado; Wichita, Kansas; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Madison, Wisconsin; and San Jose, California. (source)
Those indicted in Georgia and Tennessee include some top leaders in those states, authorities said.
“These are individuals that are allegedly calling shots and making leadership decisions,” said Edward Stanton III, the U.S. attorney in Memphis, who has been nominated for a federal judgeship.
Among those indicted in Atlanta were three people who prosecutors say served as governors of governors at various times: Alonzo Walton oversaw a region that included Georgia, Florida, Texas, Indiana and South Carolina; Terrance Summers oversaw Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida; and Adrian Jackson was governor of governor for the western states, including California, and then served as national treasurer.
This case is being investigated by the FBI Atlanta’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force (composed of members of the FBI, Alpharetta Police Department, Atlanta Police Department, Clayton County Police Department, DeKalb Police Department, Forest Park Police Department, Georgia Dept. of Community Supervision, Georgia Dept. of Corrections, Gwinnett County Police Department, and Marietta Police Department), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the United States Marshal’s Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Services.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kim S. Dammers, Stephanie Gabay-Smith, and Ryan K. Buchanan, and DOJ Organized Crime & Gang Section Trial Attorney Hans B. Miller are prosecuting the case.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.