Feds bring stiff penalties to gang case

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Feds bring stiff penalties to gang case

2016-03-02

The (Walterboro) Press and Standard

By GEORGE SALSBERRY

gsalsberry@lowcountry.com

 

When federal law enforcement officials joined the investigation into the alleged criminal activities of two Colleton County-based street gangs, they brought RICO with them. RICO, the federal government’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, is a prosecutorial tool not available to local law enforcement.

 

South Carolina does not have a similar law on the books.

 

“The federal government has a couple of things that are beneficial to the criminal justice system,” 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said.

 

The RICO act was originally passed by federal officials to give them another tool to bring criminal organizations to court. To be indicted on RICO charges, the federal government needs to be able to show that an individual is part of a corrupt organization and has committed at least two of 35 specific criminal actions within a 10-year period. RICO, Stone explains, is not the only beneficial thing in handling a case in federal court.

 

“Equally important in moving a case into federal court is the fact that the federal government has a tougher sentencing structure. There is no parole available to those convicted in federal court,” Stone said.

 

Another factor is that federal grand juries are investigatory grand juries. There are two types of grand juries in the United States, Stone explained. The grand jury in Colleton County, and every county in the state, are screening grand juries.

 

The grand jury members are presented a case, usually after someone has been arrested and charged. The grand jury then decides if the case brought to them should be taken to trial (given a true bill) or dismissed (given a no bill.) All the federal government’s grand juries are investigatory grand juries. They meet and take testimony.

 

“They literally build a case inside the grand jury,” Stone said.

 

On Feb. 23, teams of local, state and federal law enforcement officers began rounding up members and associates of the Get Money Cowboys and the Wildboys, who had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Charleston for allegedly conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise and using firearms in the commission of attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity.

 

While the federal indictment against the suspects remains sealed, a press release concerning the indictment from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office described the Cowboys as a violent criminal street gang with members operating in South Carolina since at least 2009, who resided in an area known as the “Eastside” of Walterboro and are allegedly led by Khiry Broughton, 25, of Walterboro. The federal indictment alleges that from October 2012 to November 2015, the Cowboys reportedly committed a wide range of crimes in order to further their racketeering scheme, including attempted murders, assault with dangerous weapons, drive-by shootings, home invasion robberies, threats of violence and distribution of narcotics.

 

In addition to Broughton, the indictment against the Cowboys also charges DaShawn Trevell Brown, 23, of Walterboro; Clyde Naquan Hampton, 23, of Summerville; Zaquann Ernest Hampton, 22, of Summerville; Matthew Rashaun Jones, 22, of Cottageville; Christopher Sean Brown, 22, of Walterboro; Bryant Jameek Davis, 21,Walterboro; William Lamont Cox, 38, of Walterboro; and Quinton John Fishburne, 35, of Walterboro.

 

The indictment further alleges that for a period of time, the Cowboys were aligned with another violent criminal street gang in Walterboro known as the Wildboys.

 

The indictment filed against the Wildboys alleges that it is a violent criminal street gang with members operating in various cities in South Carolina, including in Summerville and Walterboro. Wildboys members and associates reportedly committed a wide range of racketeering activity, including assault with dangerous weapons, murder, robbery and narcotics trafficking.

 

Those named in the Wildboys indictment are: Joshua Edward Manigault, 30, of Green Pond; Kelvin Mitchell, 28, of Ruffin; Damien Robinson, 19, of Green Pond; and Devin Brown, 21, of Green Pond.

 

When the indictments were announced, Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland said, “Over 15 months ago, my office began an investigation that would link the indicted individuals to the alleged violent crimes. As the investigation began to grow, my office began seeking assistance from other local, state and federal agencies. I am pleased to announce our efforts were successful.”

 

By the time the indictments were secured, the Alcohol-Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, Walterboro Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Summerville Police Department and the Fourteenth and First Circuit solicitor’s offices played a role in the investigation. "I hope that these indictments serve as lesson to our impressionable youth that there is no future in a gang.

 

These gangs say they can take care of each other, but like we have shown, they will always lead a person to a deadend future,” Strickland added. The sheriff suggested that the indictments are not the end of the case. “The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate information that may lead to future arrests.” A mixture of local and national prosecutors will handle the charges when the cases hit federal court in Charleston.

 

A member of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in Washington will head the prosecution team. Stone said Colleton County’s prosecution team will be directly involved. Tameaka Legrette, who heads the Career Criminal Prosecution Team in Colleton County for the 14th Judicial Circuit, “is in the process of being named a special assistant so she can work with them on the trials,” Stone said.

 

He added that Legrette and the members of the 14th Judicial Circuit’s criminal intelligence unit have been working with the other agencies involved in the investigation for several months.

 

“They (federal prosecutors) have been working with a lot of agencies.” Putting together a case that involved the sheriff’s departments from Colleton, Dorchester and Charleston counties, as well as the Walterboro and Summerville police departments, was a critical factor in painting the picture of the two gangs’ allegedly criminal activities.

 

In the past when interviewed about combating career criminals and street gangs, Stone pointed out that investigations into gang activities frequently involve multiple jurisdictions because gang members are often engaged in criminal activities that span community and county borders. Because the gangs travel well, law enforcement agencies often share information about gangs and other criminal activities. “There is continuing conversation among all those agencies; this came out of that continuing relationship,” Stone said.

 

An examination of the pending criminal charges facing the suspects arrested on the federal indictments paints a picture of the gang’s criminal activities in Colleton County. Robinson faces five counts of attempted murder and single counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, obstructing justice and failure to stop for a blue light filed in April of 2015.

 

Manigault faces five counts of attempted murder and single counts of possession of a stolen pistol and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime filed in April of 2015.

 

Devin Brown faces five counts of murder and a charge of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime filed in April of 2015. Davis faces charges of attempted murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime filed in March of 2015 and a charge of inciting prisoners to riot filed in June of 2015.

 

Broughton faces charges of armed robbery attempted murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime filed in November of 2015, a charge of second-degree assault and battery filed in April of 2015 and a charge of obstructing justice filed in October of 2014. Fishburne faces charges of armed robbery, attempted murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime filed in November of 2015.

 

Quenton Jones faces a charges of failure to stop for a blue light, unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of cocaine filed in September of 2015, a charge of inciting prisoners to riot filed in June of 2015 and a charge of obstructing justice filed in October of 2014. Zaquann Hampton faces a charge of inciting prisoners to riot filed in June of 2015 and a charge of obstructing justice filed in April of 2005. Mitchell faces a charge of possession of cocaine filed in February of 2015.

 

In Dorchester County General Sessions Court, Dashawn Brown faces a charge of murder and two counts of attempted murder filed in August of 2013.

 

Cowboys indictments

 

  • Khiry Broughton, 25, Walterboro: conspiracy to participate in a pattern of racketeering activity, attempt to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity and use, carry, discharge of a firearm during and in relation to and in furtherance of a crime of violence. William Lamont Cox, 38, Walterboro: RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.

 

  • Clyde Naquain Hampton, 23, Summerville: RICO conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering activity; and use, carry, discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in the furtherance of, a crime of violence.

 

  • Bryant Jameek Davis, 21, Walterboro: violent crime in aid of racketeering activity; and use, carry, discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence.

 

  • Christopher Brown, 22, Walterboro: violent crime in aid of racketeering activity; and use, carry, discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence. 

 

  • DaShawn Trevell Brown, 23, Walterboro: the return of the arrest warrant document has not been filed as yet. Another court document reports the charges as racketeering activity, murder/kidnapping.

 

  • Matthew Rashaun Jones, 22, Cottageville: conspiracy to participate in a pattern of racketeering activity; attempt to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity; and use, carry, discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence.

 

  • Quintin John Fishburne, 35, Walterboro: attempt to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity, and use, carry, discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence.

 

  • Zaquann Ernest Hampton, 22, Summerville: violent crime in aid of racketeering activity; and use, carry, discharge of firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence.

 

Wildboys indictments

 

  • Devin Brown, 21, Green Pond: attempt to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity; use, carrying, brandishing, discharging of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime and violence; aiding and abetting.

 

  • Damien Robinson, 19, Green Pond: attempted to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity; and using, carrying, brandishing, discharging of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence; aiding and abetting.

 

  • Kelvin Mitchell, 28, Ruffin: violent crime in aid of racketeering activity; and use carry, discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence.

 

  • Brian Manigo, 24, Green Pond: violent crime in aid of racketeering activity; and use, carry, discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence.

 

  • Joshua Edward Manigault, 30, Green Pond: attempt to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity; and using, carrying, brandishing, discharging of a firearm during, and in relation to, and in furtherance of, a crime of violence; aiding and abetting.

Duffie Stone

Solicitor Duffie Stone