COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A Georgia grand jury has indicted dozens of gang members with hundreds of crimes. Now, about half of these alleged criminals are behind bars.
The GBI, along with local and federal partners dubbed this operation, ‘Caged Doves’ arresting 25 members of a gang called the ‘Rollin 20s neighborhood bloods.’ They are looking for 21 others. These 46 people are facing a total of 215 charges for their crimes, ranging from drug trafficking to kidnapping and murder.
“Years ago you would think of a criminal street gang as perhaps ruling from 5th Street down to 18th Street, but that’s not the way it operates anymore," said GBI Director Vic Reynolds. "They go across state lines all motivated by one factor: greed, criminal activity, and money.”
The Rollin’ 20s neighborhood bloods are allegedly responsible for hundreds of crimes throughout the peach state. Many of its members are behind bars thanks to operation Caged Doves.
“I have seen firsthand the suffering and the evil gangs inflict on our community, our community here," said District Attorney Marie Broder said. “They thrive by targeting those who are often overlooked, promising easy money but often delivering nothing but a criminal record and a lifetime of regret.”
A local, state, and federal partnership put 25 of these gang members in jail. Officials are still searching for 21 more. Reynolds said the ring leader of this criminal enterprise is sitting behind bars in Los Angeles County, California awaiting extradition.
Reynolds said the impact of this case will be felt far beyond Upson County.
“It affects virtually everywhere in the state," he said." I think anytime you stop and dismantle a gang of this size and nature that it has a trickle down of positive impact on virtually any county in the state.”
Governor Brian Kemp said even with this extensive, successful investigation, the work is not done.
“We will continue to work hard every day to keep our citizens safe and follow these individuals who break the law, circumventing our systems, and making our communities less safe everyday.," Kemp said. “We will follow you wherever we need to all across this state, all across this country, and all across the world if needed to bring you to justice.”
Reynolds in his previous career as a district attorney said the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act is one of the strongest in the country to put away these gang members for a long time. Reynolds said they’re aware of issues all across the state and it takes many agencies working together to fight the problem.
He said no matter where these gang members are, they will be investigated, arrested, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He said all it takes is a request.
“As of right now, I do not know of us sending the task force to that area based on a request, but I will tell you unequivocally we will if asked," Reynolds said.
He said if requested, they will bring every asset and tool from the bureau to Columbus to fight the gang problem and make the community safer.