Law enforcement agencies in North Georgia arrested 16 people this week for allegedly being members of a gang.
As part of a targeted sweep, the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision arrested six people from Rossville, five people from LaFayette, two people from Ringgold, a man in Chickamauga, a man in Dalton and a man in Atlanta.
All 16 people arrested are part of the Ghostface Gangsters, according to the press release. This is a gang of mostly white people and began in the Cobb County Jail about 15 years ago. (Some members have contended that their formation was strictly for protection.)
Drug Task Force Commander Pat Doyle said that, over the last five years or so, agents have seen an increase in Ghostface Gangsters' involvement in the drug trade in the region — particularly with methamphetamine. Largely, their usefulness in the drug trade comes from the connections they made with people tied to cartels while in the Georgia state prison system.
Doyle said agents monitored the people arrested because the Department of Community Supervision labeled them as validated gang members. Doyle declined to comment on how long officers investigated the group, or what specifically motivated the investigation.
"They're all gang members or associates thereof," he said. "Ghostface has become the most prevalent gang in northwest Georgia."
All 16 people were arrested on charges of violating the Georgia Street Gang and Terrorism Prevention Act, which Doyle compared to a racketeering charge. Some of the defendants were also charged with other crimes, including simple battery, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of Hydrocodone and possession of a firearm.
In addition to the 16 people arrested, officers served a total of 31 arrest warrants, according to the release. Doyle said other people in the area may get arrested as part of the sweep.
This is at least the second sweeping roundup against Ghostface Gangsters in the state this year. In February, a federal grand jury indicted 26 people allegedly associated with the gang. That case is still working its way through U.S. District Court.
Here, Doyle said the charges will run through Walker County Superior Court. The 16 people arrested are:
- Joseph Tanner Smith, 23, of Rossville
- Casey Gamble, 26, of Rossville
- Levi Edgeman, 22, of LaFayette
- Luke Williams, 21, of Ringgold
- Larry Keith Smith, 25, of Ringgold
- Corey Osburne, 33, of LaFayette
- Thomas Gaines, 30, of LaFayette
- Travis Wellborn, 29, of LaFayette
- Zane Smith, 25, of Rossville
- William Wooten, 25, of Atlanta
- Chadwick Clowers, 25, of Dalton
- Amanda Wellborn, 32, of Rossville
- Katie Cox, 21, of Rossville
- Cruise Housley, 19, of Chickamauga
- Jonathan Perkins, 41, of Rossville
- Dillon Mitchell, 23, of LaFayette