16 Alleged Gangster Disciples Members Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges
Memphis, TN – Sixteen alleged members of the Gangster Disciples, a nationwide violent criminal organization, have been indicted for allegedly conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Dozens of alleged Gangster Disciples members have also been arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, on a separate indictment. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee; and Gerard J. Cocuzzo, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Memphis Field Office, announced the indictment today.
All 16 defendants were taken into custody today. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participated in the early morning round-up.
"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 U.S. Attorney Stanton. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to eliminate the terror gang members inflict upon our communities. And we 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."
According to the indictment, the defendants named in the RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute charges committed attempted murders; robberies; assaults; distribution of large quantities of heroin; cocaine and marijuana; firearms trafficking; kidnappings; intimidation of witnesses and victims; extortion; obstruction of justice; and other offenses in furtherance of the Gangster Disciples enterprise and to raise funds for the gang.
The Gangster Disciples were organized into different positions, including board members and governor-of-governors who each controlled geographic regions; governors, assistant governors, chief enforcers, and chief of security for each state or regions within the state where the Gangster Disciples were active; and coordinators and leaders within each local group. To enforce discipline among Gangster Disciples and adherence to the criminal organization’s rules and structure, members and associates were routinely fined, beaten and even murdered for failing to follow the gang’s rules.
According to the indictment, the Gangster Disciples has a highly-organized structure with a nationwide reach. In addition to Tennessee, the gang reportedly operates in more than 35 states.
"The coordinated arrests of Gangster Disciples around the country today should send a message to all those intent on victimizing our communities through acts of violence and racketeering," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Cocuzzo. "The FBI is constantly working in Memphis, in Tennessee, around the country, and globally, along with our federal, state, and local partners, to mitigate the threat of violent gangs. We will relentlessly pursue those who terrorize our neighborhoods, whether in urban or rural areas; and today's law enforcement actions demonstrate our commitment to this fight."
The following defendants have been indicted on RICO conspiracy charges in West Tennessee. They have also been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilos of cocaine; 280 grams of cocaine base; and 1,000 kilos of marijuana:
• Byron Montrail Purdy, a/k/a "Lil B" or "Ghetto," 37, of Jackson, Tennessee. Purdy held the rank of Governor of Tennessee;
• Derrick Kennedy Crumpton, a/k/a "38," 32, of Memphis, Tennessee. Crumpton held the rank of Assistant Governor of Tennessee;
• Demarcus Deon Crawford a/k/a "Trip," 32, of Jackson, Tennessee. Crawford held the rank of Chief of Security of Tennessee;
• Henry Curtis Cooper, a/k/a "Big Hen," 36, of Memphis, Tennessee. Cooper held the rank of Chief Enforcer for Tennessee;
• Rico Terrell Hassis, a/k/a "Big Brim," 43, of Memphis, Tennessee. Hassis held the rank of Enforcer of Memphis;
• Shamar Anthony James, a/k/a "Lionheart," 37, of Memphis, Tennessee. James held the rank of Governor of a region in Memphis;
• Demario Demont Sprouse, a/k/a "Taco," 35, of Memphis, Tennessee. Sprouse held the rank of Chief of Security of a region in Memphis;
• Robert Elliott Jones, a/k/a "Lil Rob" or "Mac Rob," 36, of Memphis, Tennessee. Jones held the rank of Governor of a region in Memphis;
• Denton Suggs, a/k/a "Denny Mo" or "Diddy Mo,"40, of Memphis, Tennessee. Suggs held the rank of Chief of Security in a section of Memphis;
• Santiago Megale Shaw, a/k/a "Mac-T," 23, of Jackson, Tennessee. Shaw was a member of the Security Team or Blackout Squad in Jackson;
• Tarius Montez Taylor, a/k/a "T," 26, of Jackson, Tennessee. Taylor was a member of the Security Team or Blackout Squad in Jackson;
• Tommy Earl Champion, Jr., a/k/a "Duct Tape," 27, of Jackson, Tennessee. Champion held the rank of Chief of Security of Jackson;
• Cory DeWayne Bowers, a/k/a "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, a/k/a "G30," 30, of Jackson, Tennessee. Hampton was a member of the Security Team or Blackout Squad in Jackson;
• Daniel Lee Cole, a/k/a "D-Money," 37, of Jackson, Tennessee. Cole acted as Assistant Governor and Assistant Education Coordinator for the Gangster Disciples in Jackson; and
• Tommy Lee Wilkins (Holloway), a/k/a "Tommy Gunz," 28, of Memphis, Tennessee. Wilkins was a member of the Security Team in Memphis.
The RICO conspiracy charge in this case carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute charge carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, and a fine up to $10 million.
Five of the defendants — Crawford, Shaw, Champion, Taylor, and Bowers — are charged with seven counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. They are also charged with seven counts of using a firearm during the commission of those offenses. Those crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for each offense, and a fine up to $250,000.
This case is being investigated by the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, which is comprised of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Memphis Police Department; and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Other agencies contributing to the investigation include the Drug Enforcement Administration; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI); the 28th District West Tennessee Drug Task Force; the 25th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office; the Jackson Police Department Gang Enforcement Team; the police departments of Bartlett, Tennessee; Germantown, Tennessee; Columbia, Tennessee; and West Memphis, Arkansas; and the Sheriff’s Offices for Tipton, Desoto, Madison, and Fayette Counties.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jerry Kitchen, Samuel Stringfellow, Beth Boswell, and Michelle Parks. David N. Karpel, trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, is also assisting with this case’s prosecution.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.