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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Governor of Tipton County Gangster Disciples Sentenced to 10 Years for RICO Conspiracy

Memphis, TN – Robert Elliott Jones, 39, a/k/a/ "Lil Rob," a/k/a/ "Mac Rob" has been sentenced to 120 months in federal prison on conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty plea today.

According to the superseding indictment, the Gangster Disciples is a highly-organized criminal street gang with nationwide reach. In addition to Tennessee, the gang reportedly operates in more than 35 states. 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.

During the change of plea hearing on July 25, 2019, Jones admitted that he was the Governor of Section 4, which covers Tipton County, TN, including Covington. The superseding indictment that Jones entered a guilty plea to indicates that as Governor over a region he was responsible for supervising the criminal activities of the members and associates of the Gangster Disciples enterprise; issuing orders to kill rival gang members and subordinate gang members who he believed had violated Gangster Disciple rules of conduct; and presiding over Gangster Disciple meetings where criminal activity was discussed, proceeds were collected and beatings of fellow gang members were administered.

Jones was among a total of 16 leaders and members of the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang originally indicted in 2016 in "Operation .38 Special" for federal racketeering offenses, including conspiracy to commit 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 superseding indictment further alleged that Jones declared Covington, TN as "GD Land" and issued a green light to a subordinate gang member to kill rival gang members in Covington, TN.; he issued an order to kill a subordinate gang member whom the Gangster Disciples believed had cooperated with law enforcement; and sent a photograph of the Treasurer of Section Four who stole $2300 from the Regional Enforcer for the State of Tennessee who was "looking for all money stealers".

On December 11, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes, Jr., sentenced Jones to 120 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Despite Lil Rob’s declaration, Covington is not and will not be ‘GD Land.’ We are fighting to reclaim our cities, towns, and neighborhoods from the gangs, and are effectively dismantling their leadership and influence. Lil Rob will now serve big time for his violence and racketeering that has terrorized Tipton County, and the citizens are safer for it."

This prosecution was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations, and to diminish the violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, money laundering, and violent organizations.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Jackson Police Department Gang Enforcement Team, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 28th District West Tennessee Drug Task Force, 26th, 25th, and 30th Judicial District Attorney’s General Offices, Sheriff’s Offices for Tipton, DeSoto, Madison and Fayette Counties, Police Departments of Bartlett, Germantown and Columbia, TN.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Beth C. Boswell and Annie Christoff of the Western District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Shauna Hale of the Criminal Division Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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Contact: 
Cherri Green Public Affairs (901) 544-4231 Cherri.Green@usdoj.gov
Updated December 12, 2019