Six Gangster Disciples Members, Including the “Enforcer” for the State of Tennessee, Plead Guilty to Federal Racketeering Charges
Memphis, TN – Six Gangster Disciples, including the "Enforcer" for the State of Tennessee, have pled guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty pleas today.
These guilty pleas are the latest convictions in a large RICO conspiracy case, "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 these 6 recent guilty pleas, 14 of the 16 gang members have now been found guilty for their roles in the conspiracy. The following defendants pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Memphis over the last 2 weeks:
• Demarcus Crawford, 35, a/k/a "Trip," entered a guilty plea on June 7, 2019 to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. Crawford, during the time period covered in the superseding indictment, held the rank of Enforcer for the entire State of Tennessee for the Gangster Disciples.
• Shamar James, 40, a/k/a "Lionheart," entered his guilty plea to the racketeering charge on June 6, 2019. During the time period covered by the superseding indictment, he held various positions of authority for the Gangster Disciples criminal enterprise, including Governor of Memphis, First Coordinator of Memphis, and Event/Entertainment Coordinator.
• Demario Sprouse, 38, a/k/a "Taco," pled guilty on June 19, 2019 to the RICO conspiracy. Sprouse held the prior rank of Chief of Security for a section located within Memphis.
• Rico Harris, 46, a/k/a "Big Brim," and Denton Suggs, 43, a/k/a "Denton Morman," a/k/a "Denny Mo," a/k/a "Diddy Mo," both entered guilty pleas on June 7, 2019 to the RICO charge. They both had been members of a security team.
• Gerald Hampton, 33, a/k/a "G-30," who was also a member of a security team, entered his plea on June 13, 2019.
According to the superseding indictment, 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.
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, including: 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; 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; and Daniel Lee Cole, a/k/a "D-Money," 38, a GD Assistant Governor in Jackson, Tennessee who received a sentence of 292 months.
According to the superseding indictment, the Gangster Disciples enterprise has a highly organized structure with a nationwide reach. In addition to Tennessee, the gang reportedly operates in more than 35 states.
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. This office is proud to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to disrupt the Gangster Disciples gang and punish their leaders and members for the violence and lawlessness that they perpetrate across West Tennessee. The message from these cases 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."
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. as follows: Rico Harris on August 21, 2019; Shamar James on September 19, 2019; Denton Suggs on September 20, 2019; Demarcus Crawford on September 26, 2019; Gerald Hampton on September 27, 2019 and Demario Sprouse on October 3, 2019. Each defendant faces sentences of up to life in federal prison, not more than a $250,000 fine, plus 5 years supervised release along with a mandatory special assessment.
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.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; JPD 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’s Offices; Sheriff’s Offices for Tipton, DeSoto, Madison, and Fayette Counties; and the Police Departments of Bartlett, Germantown and Columbia.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Beth Boswell and Annie Christoff 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.