In two hours on Thursday, 20 of 21 arrests were made in a three-year-long federal racketeering case against the Simon City Royals Street Gang.
The 21st arrest was made just a few hours later. Nineteen of those arrests were in Mississippi, one in Alabama, and the last one was in Arizona. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been dogging the steps of the violent street gang for this very day, officials said.
The indictment charges Allen Posey, 47; Jonathan Davis, 38; Jeremy Holcombe, 42; Jonathan Burnett, 38; Hank Chapman, 37; Jason Hayden, 41; Joshua Miller, 40; Gavin Pierson, 32; Justin Shaw, 35; Bobby Brumfield, 42; Jordan Deakles, 30; Bryce Frances, 42; Anthony Murphy, 29; Chancey Bilbo, 30; Dillon Heffker, 31; Douglas Jones, 33; Cody Woodall, 30; and Michael Muscolino, 42, with racketeering conspiracy. The indictment also charges those individuals and Valerie Madden, 53; Samuel Conwill, 43; and Jason Collins, 38, with narcotics conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Nine of the defendants – Shaw, Posey, Brumfield, Jones, Pierson, Deakles, Davis, Frances, Heffker and Murphy – are additionally charged with murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, or assault in aid of racketeering.
ATF Southern District Resident Agent In Charge Jason Denham said two special operations teams were brought in from other areas of the country to help with the operation on Thursday.
“We utilize not just our local resources, we utilitze our national assets sometimes to provide Mississippians safety and security by focusing on these violent offenders,” he said.
“This case is an example of ATF’s dedication and commitment to combating violent crime in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn of the ATF’s New Orleans Field Division. “ATF is proud to work with our law-enforcement partners to bring violent criminals to justice and to help make our neighborhoods safer.”
During the course of the investigation, preceding the enforcement activities this week, 30 more have been arrested, indicted and some sentenced, Denham said. The operation itself went without a hitch, he said.
“It was very task oriented on affecting arrests. A lot of pre-op surveillance had been conducted,” he said. “Because ew missed and social media got out, these people would flee, but as it was, there was no violence and nobody ran.”
Authorities say the Simon City Royals are a national criminal gang whose dealings include extortion, narcotics, identity-theft, money laundering and violent crime. The gang has a formalized hierarchy involving numerous “boards” and “teams,” including a team dedicated to carrying out violent gang punishments, and a “money team” responsible for earning revenue through fraud, illegal gambling, and identity theft. The group is mostly caucasian, and Mississippi has a strong presence, especially in the Metro area and on the coast. The Simon City Royals fall under the Folk Nation, which is an alliance of gangs that includes the Crips and the Gangster Disciples. The Folk Nation was founded by Larry Hoover, of Jackson, Mississippi.
According to the indictment, the defendants killed or attempted to kill several people, including a suspected law-enforcement cooperator, a rival gang leader, and individuals perceived to have shown disrespect to the gang. The defendants used various ways to hid their activities and finances, including using encrypted messages and filing articles of incorporation to establish a fraudulent nonprofit organization with the state of Mississippi.
The defendants, if convicted, could face penalties ranging from 10 years and life for narcotics conspiracy; up to 20 years for money laundering conspiracy; 20 years to life imprisonment for the racketeering conspiracy; up to 10 years in prison for attempted murder in aid of racketeering; and up to 20 years for assault in aid of racketeering; and a mandatory life in prison sentence for murder in aid of racketeering. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is a VICAR case, or Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering. According to the Department of Justice, “it is a crime to commit any of a list of violent crimes in return for anything of pecuniary value from an enterprise engaged in racketeering activity, or for the purpose of joining, remaining with, or increasing a position in such an enterprise.”
VICAR crimes are listed as murder, kidnapping, maiming, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and threatening to commit a crime of violence. Attempts and conspiracies to commit the crimes on the list are also included. All of these can fall under state or federal law.
The Mississippi ATF case includes murders, robberies, aggravated assaults, distribution of narcotics, and counterfeit money, among other violations.
This story is developing. Check back soon for more information.