Dozens of known gang members arrested, 29 face indictments
By Matt Barbour, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Several known gang members and other violent offenders are now locked up, some facing major time in prison. It is all a part of the crackdown on Chattanooga gang activity by federal, state and local law enforcement.
Close to 30 people were arrested in this roundup, 25 from Chattanooga and four from Marion County. At least 16 of those indicted are known gang members.
"The gangs have to be flushed out of their illegal activity," says U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.
Of the 29 people arrested in the round up, almost half are known gang members, coming from gangs like the Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples and the Aryan Nation.
Law enforcement are still looking for five fugitives, four from Chattanooga, one from Marion County.
"We expect people to know who the criminals are," says Killian. "And we expect them to know who we've indicted and why."
These are the first arrests and prosecutions to come from the joint initiative from all levels of law enforcement.
"It is working," says Killian.
"This is just the beginning," says Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield.
Littlefield says he is determined to take back the city from the grip of gangs. "The important thing to remember here is, this is where people in the gang lifestyle are going to end up, either arrested like this or dead," he says.
"I think it's important that the result that we're seeing now is the result of a combined, coherent strategy," says District Attorney General Bill Cox.
"While there have been collaborations against gang members in the past, in 2012, in Chattanooga, every law enforcement agency that has any lever throw against gangs, are all on the same page," says Boyd Patterson.
Patterson, Coordinator of the Chattanooga Gang Task Force, says the focus remains on punishing known gang members, encouraging current members to get out and to prevent young people from joining.
"Every kid out there should look at this today and understand what the real consequences of being involved in a gang will bring," says Patterson.
Those arrested face a variety of state and federal charges, including distributing illegal drugs and firearms.
Many have pleaded not guilty and are set to go to trial this December. Some of those with federal charges face up to life in prison with no parole.
Four Chattanooga defendants and one Marion County defendant remain at large: ALFRED FORD, QUINLIN NEWBY, CORTNEY NELSON, and BRANDON MORRIS of Chattanooga and PAMELA WALTERS of Marion County.