The United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Steven D. Weinhoeft, announced today that seven alleged members of the violent Gangster Disciples gang, including top national and state leaders, have been charged in a federal indictment accusing them of a years-long interstate RICO conspiracy involving multiple murders, drug trafficking, and other crimes. Certain defendants were also charged with murder, attempted murder, and various firearms crimes.
The federal indictment was unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
“The long list of violent crimes alleged in this indictment—including two murders and multiple violent assaults—make plain the threat to our communities posed by criminal organizations like the Gangster Disciples,” said Nicholas L. McQuaid, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This prosecution underscores that coordinated criminal activity will be met with a coordinated and focused law enforcement response by the Criminal Division and our law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local level. We are committed to dismantling violent gangs like the Gangster Disciples and holding their members accountable for criminal conduct.”
“These charges target national and state leaders of one of the most notorious street gangs in America,” said Steven D. Weinhoeft, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. “The lawlessness these gangs bring to our cities is terribly destructive and oftentimes difficult to prosecute. The violence perpetrated by the Gangster Disciples in this district and nationwide has long been a particular focus of our top law enforcement agencies. With the charges unsealed today, we are taking an important, powerful step in the fight to disrupt and dismantle gangs operating in this region. I am especially grateful for the support of the ATF and the many dedicated law enforcement officers at all levels of government who contributed to this investigation.”
“ATF has no higher priority than investigating violent crime and ensuring that those who use firearms in furtherance of their criminal activities are held accountable,” said Fred Winston, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Kansas City Field Division. “This investigation demonstrates ATF’s commitment and the commitment of our law enforcement partners to ensure that Missouri and Illinois communities remain a safe place to live, work and raise families. Utilizing firearms to injure or intimidate others cannot be tolerated and there is no question that the public is safer today because of the hard work, dedication, and collaboration of all of the agencies that played a part in this investigation.”
“Today’s indictment is a result of investigative efforts in our Fairview Heights Resident Agency and strong partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” said Sean Cox, FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge. “This illustrates, when we work together, how effective our law enforcement alliances are in pursuing and eradicating violent street gangs to make our communities safer.”
According to the indictment, the Gangster Disciples is a violent street and prison gang founded in the 1960’s that has engaged in large-scale drug trafficking and violence throughout the United States. The gang employs a structured hierarchy, with leadership positions such as national “Board Members” and state “Governors.” Each of the defendants is alleged to be a member or leader of the Gangster Disciples and to have conspired to conduct the gang’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering.
Frank Smith, 47, of Naperville, Illinois, an alleged national “Board Member,” is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms crimes.
Warren Griffin, 51, of Lancaster, Kentucky, an alleged national “Board Member,” is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms crimes.
Anthony Dobbins, 53, of Troy, Illinois, an alleged national “Board Member,” is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms crimes.
Sean Clemon, 50, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the alleged “Governor” of the state of Missouri, is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms crimes.
Dominque Maxwell, 28, of Cape Girardeau, the alleged “Assistant Governor” of the state of Missouri, is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms crimes.
Perry Harris, 29, of Cape Girardeau, an alleged “Treasurer” and “Chief of Security” for the state of Missouri, is charged with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms crimes.
Barry Boyce, 44, of Charleston, Missouri, an alleged member of the gang, is charged with RICO conspiracy.
Among the crimes alleged in the indictment are two gang-related murders. On April 28, 2018, Clemon, Maxwell, and Harris, on orders from Smith, allegedly killed Leroy Allen as part of a leadership dispute at a Gangster Disciples meeting in Bridgeton, Missouri. On May 18, 2018, Griffin and Dobbins are accused of killing Ernest Wilson, a rival Board Member, in Chicago, Illinois.
Other acts of violence alleged as part of the conspiracy include a nightclub stabbing in East St. Louis, Illinois, a nonfatal shooting in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and multiple unsuccessful murder plots. The indictment also alleges various acts of drug trafficking by Gangster Disciples members, including an ongoing scheme to smuggle the synthetic drug “K2” into Missouri state prisons.
“The BOP takes seriously our mission to protect the safety and security of our correctional institutions and the public,” said Miranda Faust, Administrator of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Branch. “The BOP’s intelligence component appreciates the opportunity to assist our federal partners in detecting and disrupting criminal activity related to inmates in the BOP’s custody.”
“Investigating organized crime and related financial schemes are a top priority for CI,” said Tamera Cantu, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), Chicago Field Office. “Racketeering, such as the alleged charges today, brazenly facilitates all kinds of illegal dealings that negatively affect the community. Criminal Investigation is proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners in this case to bring these criminals to justice.”
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted of the racketeering conspiracy charged in Count 1, each defendant could receive as much as life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Murder in aid of racketeering is a death- eligible offense.
This case results from investigations by ATF, FBI, Federal Bureau of Prisons, IRS – Criminal Investigation, Missouri Department of Corrections, Illinois State Police, the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis, Bridgeton Police Department, Cape Girardeau Police Department, and Chicago Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jeremy Franker and Conor Mulroe of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali M. Summers of the Southern District of Illinois, with substantial investigative support from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Northern District of Illinois.