RICO topic of monthly Gang Task Force meeting

ALBANY, Ga. — “Operation Shock” on Aug. 21 targeted about 54 Crips gang leaders by serving nearly 400 warrants for racketeering and other charges.

Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard invited Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards to talk at the Gang Task Force meeting at noon today about the RICO, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, used for the warrants.

Anyone who wants to hear about the RICO law is invited to the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave., for the meeting, Howard said. The law could put the Crips away for 25 years on top of underlying charges against them such as rape, aggravated assault and armed robbery.

Under the statutes, a member of a gang is criminally responsible for whatever criminal activity members of his gang execute in furtherance of the gang’s actions.

Edwards said at the time of the arrests, “We have overwhelming evidence — without a reasonable doubt — that each is a gang member with rank and standing in the gang hierarchy.”

All the Crips charged with racketeering range from 17 to 33 years of age. They are in the leadership hierarchy, the core of the gang.

Taking what he called “the first step” against the Crips, Edwards plans to continue the fight against the Bloods, Rattlers, El Monte Flores and other gangs under the racketeering statutes.

Just as in Operation Shock many agencies, some of which will be represented at the Gang Task Force meeting, could assist the Gang Unit to serve warrants, make arrests and put gang members in jail in the future.

Federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the U.S. Marshals Service and state agencies could also once again assist in putting gang members under arrest for racketeering crimes.