Last Defendant in Gangster Disciple RICO Conspiracy Pleads Guilty
Memphis, TN – Tarius Montez Taylor, a/k/a "T," 30, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the guilty plea today.
This guilty plea was the last conviction in a large RICO conspiracy case known as "Operation .38 Special", which was originally indicted in May, 2016, charging a total of 16 members of the Gangster Disciples criminal enterprise with racketeering. With the addition of this guilty plea, all 16 of the gang members have now been found guilty for their roles in the conspiracy.
According to the superseding indictment, Taylor held the rank of blackout squad/security team member. The superseding indictment further stated that the defendants named in the RICO conspiracy committed attempted murders; robberies; assaults; distribution of large quantities of cocaine, crack and marijuana; firearms trafficking; kidnappings; intimidations of witnesses and victims; extortion; obstruction of justice; and other offenses in furtherance of the Gangster Disciples criminal enterprise and to promote and enhance the members’ position within the gang. This prosecution significantly damaged the national Gangster Disciples organization, eliminating some of its most powerful leaders, removing the gang from its key territory, and dismantling an important part of its organization here in West Tennessee.
The leadership of the Gangster Disciples (GD) criminal enterprise is organized into different positions, including national board members; governors of governors who controlled multiple states or geographic regions; and governors, assistant governors, chief enforcers, chiefs of security, and security team members for each state or region within the state where the Gangster Disciples were active. They also have 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 are routinely fined, beaten and even murdered for failing to follow the gang’s rules.
Other leaders and members of the Gangster Disciples have previously been sentenced for their roles in the RICO conspiracy:
• Byron Montrail Purdy, a/k/a "Lil B" or "Ghetto," 38, of Jackson, Tennessee, the GD Governor of Tennessee who received a sentence of 360 months;
• Derrick Kennedy Crumpton, a/k/a "38," 35, of Memphis, Tennessee, the GD Assistant Governor of Tennessee who was sentenced to 324 months;
• Henry Cooper, a/k/a "Big Hen," 37, of Memphis, Tennessee, the GD Chief Regional Enforcer who received a sentence of 360 months;
• Demarcus Crawford, a/k/a "Trip", 35 of Jackson, Tennessee, the Chief of Security of the State of Tennessee who was sentenced to 300 months;
• Tommy Earl Champion, Jr., a/k/a "Duct Tape," 29, of Jackson Tennessee, a GD Black Out Squad member who was sentenced to 360 months;
• Daniel Lee Cole, a/k/a "D-Money," 38, a GD Assistant Governor in Jackson, Tennessee who received a sentence of 292 months; and
• Gerald Hampton, a/k/a, "G-30", 33 of Jackson, Tennessee, a GD Blackout Squad member who was sentenced to 240 months consecutive to a 13 year state sentence.
The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. on January 28, 2021. There is no parole in the federal system.
United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Operation .38 Special demonstrates our ability and resolve to aggressively prosecute and hold accountable those who engage in organized criminal enterprises and gang conspiracies in furtherance of racketeering and violence. This successful federal prosecution has completely disrupted, dismantled, and devastated the leadership of the Gangster Disciples street gang here in West Tennessee, and ‘T’ is now teed up for a long prison sentence as well. The message from this case is clear: No matter what your role is in the conspiracy, or what your position, title, or gang nickname is, if you are a member of a criminal gang, your days are numbered and there will be a reckoning."
This prosecution was brought as part of the Department of Justice’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.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI); JPD Gang Enforcement Team; Memphis Police Department; Shelby County Sheriff’s Office; 28th Judicial District West Tennessee Drug Task Force; 26th, 25th, and 30th Judicial District Attorney’s General’s Offices; Sheriff’s Offices for Tipton, DeSoto, Madison, and Fayette Counties; and the Police Departments of Bartlett, Germantown and Columbia investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Boswell of the Western District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Shauna Hale of the Criminal Division Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.