Crime /

Georgia Prosecutor Vows 'Life Plus' Sentences in Major Gang Crackdown

District attorney says gang members tracked and targeted victims who flaunted their wealth on social media

Twenty-six alleged gang members were indicted on criminal charges in connection with a string of home invasions, carjackings, kidnappings, armed robberies, and shootings, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced on Aug. 29.

The 220-page indictment charges members of the Drug Rich gang — which is a “hybrid gang” including members of the Gangster Disciples, Bloods, and Crips — on violations of Georgia’s anti-gang and racketeering laws and includes alleged criminal activity as far back as 2018.

“We are working together, we are working collaboratively, and we have a message. And that is get out of this county or expect to start seeing sentences that go life plus,” Willis told reporters at a press conference. “Because I am not going to negotiate with gang members. I am not going to allow pleas. We are going to find you, we are going to convict you, and we’re gonna send you to the prison for the rest of your days. And I’m not apologizing for that.”

The sprawling indictment follows a string of crime that has targeted the home of Atlanta area athletes and entertainers who flaunt their wealth and success online. In her remarks, Willis issued a warning to such individuals.

“So, I do have a message for the public, where it is kind of fun to put your things on social media and show off. Unfortunately, these gangs are becoming more savvy, more sophisticated in the way that they target you,” she said. “And this is a way that we know that they targeted these individuals.”

Among the victims were multiplatinum recording artist Mariah Carey, Atlanta Falcons wide-receiver Calvin Ridley, Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and Real Housewives of Atlanta Star Marlow Hampton. Willis mentioned that the indictment does cover others who were not as famous, but who were also targeted for posting about their wealth on social media.

Willis also said that some suspected criminals included admission of their alleged crimes in rap lyrics, and that prosecutors would use their own songs in court as evidence against them.

When a reporter asked her to respond to criticism she was specifically targeting Atlanta’s hip-hop community, she replied, “You do not get to commit crimes in my county and then decide to brag on it, which you do that for a form of intimidation and to further the gang, and not be held responsible.”

“Well, they’re kicking in doors, committing home invasions and now I’m using those lyrics that they’re admitting to doing that, I’m going to continue to do that. People can continue to be angry about it,” she stated. “I have some legal advice: Don’t confess to crimes on rap lyrics if you do not want them used, or at least get out of my county.”

This is the second major indictment of suspected gang members on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges this year. In May, prosecutors named Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug (whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams) and fellow rapper Gunna (legal name Giavanni Kitchens) in a 56-count indictment on RICO charges. Willis, at the time of the indictment, said Williams and his associates were connected to  “more than 50 murders” and “multiple instances of gun violence” across the city.

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