ROME, Ga. Federal and state agents have arrested 23 members and associates of the Ghostface Gangsters prison gang, which originated in the Cobb County, Georgia jail in 2000, and has since spread through Georgia jails, prisons, and beyond. A federal grand jury returned a 21-count indictment on Feb. 8, 2018, which was recently unsealed. The crimes alleged in the indictment range from wire fraud to murder.
The Ghostface Gangsters might have started as a jailhouse gang, but they have evolved into a violent and murderous criminal enterprise which has moved into our communities, said U.S. Attorney Byung J. BJay Pak. Their members allegedly commit drug trafficking crimes in and out of prison to make money, violently attacked each other as well as innocent citizens, and even killed law enforcement officers. Through our partnerships with local and state law enforcement agencies, including the Georgia Department of Corrections, we intend to eradicate this criminal enterprise.
As a result of this operation, ATF has disrupted a dangerous and pervasive threat to the local community, said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge John Schmidt. The Ghostface Gangsters gang flourished through recruitment, intimidation, and perpetration of heinous crimes, and it is critical that law enforcement agencies take aggressive actions against these criminals. This investigation is an example of ATF remaining on the frontline of preventing violent crime through excellent cooperation with our law enforcement partners.
The recent federal indictments of this dangerous gang demonstrates how effective and important interagency collaboration is between federal, state, and local partners, and also demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement entities at every level to keep the communities across this nation as safe as possible, said Chief Michael Register, Cobb County Police Department.
As part of our commitment to ridding our prisons of criminal activity, we maintain a robust plan for identifying and managing those participating in gang activity, said Corrections Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier. The use of contraband cell phones by these individuals as a tool to carry out their crimes, is a fight we continue to battle. We appreciate the support and assistance of our law enforcement partners on every level, in our efforts to see that justice is being served on those who pose a threat to the safety of the public and the operations of our facilities.
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Beginning in the year 2000, the defendants named in the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy charge allegedly plotted to commit murders, kidnapping, firearm crimes, drug trafficking, assault, witness tampering, wire fraud and other crimes in furtherance of the Ghostface Gangsters criminal enterprise. Other members and associates are charged in a drug conspiracy, and with separate counts of Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering, including carjacking, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury and maiming.
Ghostface Gangsters are organized into different positions of leadership, including the founding pillars, those having a seat at the table, First Lady, state-wide positions consisting of security, violator, structure board, education coordinator, living coordinator, communications coordinator, investigator, enforcement coordinator, recruiter, planning and strategy, treasurer, legal coordinator, meeting coordinator and event coordinator.
Members within the prisons used contraband cell phones to continue their drug sales both within and outside the prison, and used the phones to communicate regularly with other gang members one-on-one and even conducted video conferences with multiple members about decisions to be made by the gang.
Since the early 2000s, Ghostface Gangsters and their associates have trafficked methamphetamine, marijuana and illegal pills, both inside and outside prisons throughout Georgia. Some of the defendants in this case have committed multiple violent acts to include:
- On July 5, 2016, defendant Victor Manuel Dejesus allegedly violently carjacked a citizen using a firearm and threatened to kill her. He took the car, then picked up defendant Christopher Marlow, and together they fled from a Cobb County Deputy Sheriff. Dejesus shot at the deputy from inside the car and later threw the gun out the window. The gun was later turned over to police after a citizen found it lying on the side of the road.
- On December 2, 2016, defendant Cody Ryan Todd, upon receiving an order from defendant David Gene Powell, allegedly joined other GFG members to kidnap one of their own members for violating gang rules. Todd and the other members of the GFG beat the victim badly, including trying to pull out his teeth with plyers. They videotaped the incident, which showed the victim lying down and pleading for help because he could not breathe.
- In December of 2016, defendants Christopher Jarman Davis and Jonathan Stubbs, under the orders of defendant Jeffrey Alan Bourassa, allegedly kidnapped another GFG member in order to beat him out of the gang for violating gang rules. After the beating, they held him at gunpoint and cut off his tattoo with a knife.
- On March 8, 2017, defendant William J. Goodman allegedly stabbed another GFG member in the neck and back for violating gang rules, causing severe blood loss, serious bodily injury, and a collapsed lung.
- On October 29, 2017, defendant Richard B. Sosebee shot a man in the eye during a drug deal, causing him to lose his eye.
- On December 11, 2017, defendant Kevin Scott Sosebee was a passenger in a car pulled over in a traffic stop. The Cobb County Police officer who pulled the car over was alone. Before the officer could exit his car, Sosebee allegedly shot at him several times and then fled from the officer.