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Bonds pending for Albany’s ‘Operation Shock’ defendants

ALBANY, Ga. —The bond decisions for individuals arrested last month as part “Operation Shock,” a movement designed to help cripple gang activity in Albany, are now pending following a bond hearing Tuesday.

The hearing took place at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Dougherty County Courthouse with Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette presiding. There, family members of the accused were present to speak on the defendants’ behalf.

Specifically, they were there to speak of their loved ones’ trustworthiness to show up for court if released on bond.

Leisa Terry, serving as a public defender on behalf of several of the accused, said that some of the defendants listed on the indictment were not listed as committing a specific offense — which makes the matter of deciding bonds difficult.

“There is no way of setting bond without knowing,” she said.

Dougherty Chief Assistant District Attorney Heather Lanier, speaking on behalf of the prosecution, seemed confident that the state could prove those listed were members of the enterprise in question — and stated that releasing the defendants on bond would risk them re-entering the gang community.

“This was not something that we made up,” Lanier said. “This (case) takes up 4 to 5-inch notebooks in our office.”

The hearing included a review of the criminal histories of the defendants, a few of whom are currently on probation for other crimes.

Lockette said he would be making a decision regarding the bonds of the individuals in the coming days.

“Operation Shock” was spearheaded by the Albany Police Department Gang Unit. The operation resulted in 10 arrests on Aug. 19 following a yearlong investigation process. When adding that group to those that were already in jail and those still on the run, that adds up to a total of 54 people listed in the indictment.

The charges brought against this group are based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Racketeering can add 25 years on top of an underlying charge against the defendants such as rape, aggravated assault and armed robbery.