Monday, June 8, 2009
Department of Justice
United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee
OVER FORTY ARRESTED ON FEDERAL CHARGES IN CHATTANOOGA AREA
[CHATTANOOGA, TN] — In a coordinated effort, numerous men and women were arrested this week in Chattanooga, Cleveland, Athens, and South Pittsburg by the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office, Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, Bradley County Sheriff's Office, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Marshals Service, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the 10th Judicial Drug Task Force (10th JDTF), McMinn County Sheriff's Department, Athens Police Department, Marion County Sheriff's Office, the 12th Judicial Drug Task Force (12th JDTF), and the Tennessee Department of Revenue on charges involving various violations of federal and state law.
Forty-seven individuals were indicted by federal grand juries on drug and firearms charges, all of whom are suspected of having ties to street gangs in the area. The charges include the distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, cocaine powder and marijuana, as well as the unlawful possession of firearms by prohibited persons and Hobbs Act robberies. Those indicted include members or associates of the Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, and Vice Lords. The United States Attorney's Office will be prosecuting the cases in United States District Court in Chattanooga. Information concerning some of those who were arrested and charged with federal offenses is attached to this release. If convicted, some of the defendants face minimum mandatory terms of incarceration and others could face sentences of up to life.
United States Attorney James R. (Russ) Dedrick said, "Chattanooga and the surrounding areas have been plagued by gang activity and gang violence. This cooperative endeavor between federal, state and local authorities will assist in the effort to curtail gang activity. Gang members are on notice that if their activities violate federal or state law they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible." United States Attorney Dedrick pointed out that gang members may be subject to increased punishment under federal law. "We will continue to identify, target and prosecute gang members who commit crimes," he said.
Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
For additional information, please contact United States Attorney Russ Dedrick, 865-545-4167, AUSA Chris Poole, 423-752-5140, or Public Information Officer Sharry Dedman-Beard, 865-545-4167.