16-month investigation results in dozens of gang arrests

November 14, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- 71 suspected gang members now in custody and the number may continue to grow. 68 of those 71 suspected gang members were arrested early Wednesday morning in a crackdown that has been in the works for over a year.

Over a hundred local, state and federal officers began making arrests early this morning.

This is the largest undercover operation in the history of Richmond County, and one of the most successful investigations of its kind in the history of the ATF.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength announced this morning that after a 16-month investigation with ATF and the US Marshal's service, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office has begun making arrests related to gangs, guns, and narcotics in the area.

Arrests began at 4 o'clock this morning.

Richmond County Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden tells News 12 no Richmond County students have been picked up, and there hasn't been any activity at the schools.

Gangs involved in the investigation are:

Georgia Dudley Boyz
East Boundry Boyz
Circle Boyz
Uptown-Fairington Gangster Thugs
O-Dubs
Meadowbrook Clique

You may be familiar with some of the gang names, since they've been on the news before. Some of these gangs have been plaguing Augusta for more than a decade.

The Georgia Deadly Boys are known to hang out in the Hephzibah area. The East Boundary Boys are primarily in east Augusta. The Circle Boys are known to be in the Glenn Hills area. Uptown Farrington Gangster Thugs are off Tobacco Road. Meadowbrook Clique and the O-Dubs operate in south Augusta.

The O-Dubs is the largest and oldest gang in Augusta.

All of the gangs are known to be dangerous and highly involved in crime.


Below is a news release from Sheriff Ronnie Strength:

Today, in the predawn hours, officers with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Marshal Service, executed 50 federal arrest warrants, 18 state arrest warrants and 7 state search warrants. As of this time 68 of 93 targets to be arrested are in custody.

The arrests today are the result of a storefront undercover operation started by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in July of 2006. Three months later we partnered with the ATF. As you will see, the results speak for themselves.

In an effort to combat street gang activity, I tasked my department to use all of its available resources to develop a comprehensive gang strategy to gather intelligence, identify local gangs and conduct proactive enforcement initiatives. Thus Operation "Augusta Ink" was born, the most successful undercover operation in the history of Richmond County and one of the most successful operations in the history of the ATF.

The 16-month undercover sting operation was conducted out of the "Colur Tyme" Tattoo Parlor, located on the 2700 block of Tobacco Road. Undercover officers posed as owners and employees of the business who were interested in making illegal firearms and drug purchases from the criminal element. The undercover officers immediately began making contacts with multiple suspects, many of them gang members, and purchasing drugs, stolen vehicles and firearms. Officers established contacts with members of the Georgia Deadly Boys Gang aka: 23'rd, Only with True Thugs aka: O-Dub, The Circle Boys (Glenn Hills), Uptown Boys/ Fairington Gangster Thugs, East Boundary Boyz and the Meadowbrook Clique. The gangs mentioned are mostly neighborhood-based gangs that encompass neighborhoods of the downtown and southern areas of Augusta.

During the operation, undercover officers purchased 337 firearms to include, handguns, rifles, assault rifles, shotguns and sawed-off shot guns. Several of the purchased guns are known to have been used in violent crimes or stolen in burglaries of homes and licensed gun dealers. The investigation into the members of these gangs revealed that many of the individuals are felons and have previous convictions for violent offenses, including assault, robbery, burglary, narcotics trafficking and firearms violations.

Through this operation we identified approximately 143 potential targets. Nearly 100 of those targets are known gang members, 43 of whom will be charged with crimes uncovered by this operation. The arrests today are among the first wave of arrests expected as a result of this operation.

To date over 400 firearms have been taken from the streets of Richmond County, numerous stolen vehicles were recovered, and multiple burglaries, car jackings and armed robberies have been cleared, one of which occurred at the Richmond Hill Market, where a convenience store owner was shot during a robbery of his business. Also seized was over 54 pounds of marijuana, 1,196 grams of powder and crack cocaine, along with quantities of ecstasy and illegally sold pharmaceuticals.

During the course of today's arrests, an additional 63 firearms,
a small amount of marijuana, and 3 ½ ounces of crack cocaine has been seized.

I assure you that this aggressive local and federal partnership does not end here… it is now… the regular course of business in Richmond County. We will be relentless in removing gang members off the streets of our community.

In closing I would like to thank all the officers and agents that participated in this investigation for their dedication to duty and commitment to keep Augusta safe. I would especially like to recognize the courage shown and personal sacrifice made by those undercover officers who risked their lives on a daily basis to infiltrate the ranks of these violent criminals. This operation could not have been a success without them.


Below is a news release from the US Department of Justice:

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Edmund A. Booth, Jr., United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced that a federal grand jury last week returned indictments against 48 defendants, for a combined total of 124 counts related primarily to firearm and drug offenses.

Booth stated that the indictments stem from a 16-month undercover operation conducted out of the “Colur Tyme” Tattoo Parlor on Tobacco Road in Hephzibah, Georgia. Sheriff Ronald Strength and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) initiated the investigation in the Summer of 2006, and within a few months, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) joined in the operation, bringing additional resources and personnel to assist in the effort. Undercover agents and detectives posed as owners and employees of the business who were interested in making illegal firearms and drug purchases from the criminal element. These undercover agents and detectives immediately began making contacts with multiple suspects, many of them gang members, and purchasing drugs, stolen vehicles and firearms. Through the investigation officers and agents established contacts with members of several local gangs including the Georgia Deadly Boys Gang aka 23’rd, Only with True Thugs aka O-Dub, Glen Hills Boys Gang, Uptown Boys/Farington Gangster Thugs and the Meadowbrook Clique throughout the investigation. These gangs are mostly neighborhood-based gangs encompassing neighborhoods of the downtown and southern areas of Augusta.

During the undercover operation, agents and officers purchased over 330 firearms to include, handguns, rifles, assault rifles, shotguns and sawed-off shot guns, along with narcotics and stolen cars. Evidence obtained suggests that some of the purchased guns may have been used in violent crimes or stolen in burglaries of homes and of licensed firearms dealers. In addition, the investigation revealed that some of the individuals who sold firearms in the storefront were felons having previous convictions for violent offenses, including assault, robbery, burglary, narcotics trafficking and firearms violations.

“I hope this undercover operation sends a message to gang members and other criminal elements of our county that the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work hard to arrest and convict anyone involved in illegal activity,” said Sheriff Ronald Strength. “Also, I hope the law abiding citizens of Richmond County will be assured that our agency will never stop working to take criminals off our streets that do so much harm in our community”

Booth commented that “this undercover operation is a prime example of exceptional cooperation between federal and local law enforcement in addressing violent crime and gang related activities in this community.” Vanessa L. McLemore, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Atlanta Field Division added that “ATF remains relentless in its efforts to reduce violent crime and rid our streets of criminal gangs like these. Today ATF is reinforcing the message that we have zero tolerance for the existence of armed gang violence and the drug trade that fuels it.”

"The success of this undercover operation and the prosecutions now underway, demonstrate the resolve that will be necessary to successfully fight organized gang activity," said District Attorney Daniel J. Craig whose office is separately prosecuting several other cases arising from the undercover operation. "By using the most sophisticated law enforcement measures that have been developed to date, we have gained control of dozens of criminals who believed they could terrorize our community. We won’t quit until the last one has been sentenced."

Booth commended the dedication and service of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives throughout the investigation.

Booth stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Booth noted that these cases were federally prosecuted as part of the district’s Project Ceasefire initiative, a program devoted to reducing gun violence by prosecuting individuals found in possession of firearms who cannot legally possess them, such as felons and drug dealers. The Government is being represented in these prosecutions by Assistant United States Attorneys Nancy C. Greenwood and Patricia G. Johnson, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Wright, who is also an Assistant District Attorney in District Attorney Craig’s office.


The following 48 people were indicted in Operation Augusta Ink:

XAVIER ZANE BAKER
JIMMY BONAPARTE, aka "Rugged"
JONATHAN DAVID BRIDGES
JUSTIN BRIAN BOSSICK aka "SLIM"
DEWANE MAURICE CAIN
ROBERT EUGENE HALE, aka "Juan" and "Slim"
KENNETH WAYNE CAMPBELL
TIMOTHY DAVID CHALKER
DARRELL MARQUAIL COUNCIL
CHRISTOPHER LORENZO CURTIS,
CEDRIC DERELL DAVENPORT
PATRICK LORENZO DAWSON, aka "BLACK"
GREGORY HUMPHREY aka "MAURICE"
DENNIS DURHAM, aka "Greedy"
JONATHAN MARCELL JOHNSON, aka "Jon Jon"
JAMES LEWIS JACKSON, JR. aka "Rock" and "Big Roc"
MARVIN HIKEEM GRIFFIN
BALAAM BENJAMIN GRINNAGE, a.k.a. "Bizo"
JERMAINE HANNAH aka "SNOOP"
SERRANO MARQUESE WILLIAMS
RANDY EUGENE HARRIS
LARRY THOMAS HARRIS
ANTONIO PEREZ JOHNSON
GEORGE EDWARDS, JR.
DONIEL JAMAL HICKS, aka "Black"
VACHAEL JESSIE aka "Kell"
KEDRICK MARQUIEZ JOHNSON
WILLIE JAMES JOHNSON, aka Slim
TEKEIL DARRIS LEE
JAMES SHUBERT CLIFFORD, JR.
AMTRON QUINTEZ MCCLADDIE, aka Antron McCladdie
DANASCHIO DONTE MURPHY, aka "Donte", "DJ", "DT", "GT"
JOHN ANTHONY OSBORNE, aka "Hood"
MOSES ADAM JAMES PIERCE, III, aka "Mo"
BRENT GUILLOME PROCTOR
KELCEY DWAYNE ROBERTS
TYRONE ROBINSON, aka "Ty"
MARCUS DARRELL SALMOND, a.k.a. "Jay"
JAMES ERNEST SHAFFER
JUMAR ANTWAN SHEPPARD aka "Jamal"
JAMES DAVID SIMMONS, SR. a.k.a. "Don"
JAMES BARTELL SMILEY
WILBUR ST. SURIN, aka "Frost"
DWAYNE CLEON O'SULLIVAN, aka "Rasta" and "Donavan Jackson"
SAMUEL VANESSA SUNKETT
MARQUELL WASHINGTON
TERRENCE QUINTON WILLIAMS, aka "Q"
JERELL DEANGELO WILSON


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