WASHINGTON – Two members of the Cowboys street gang have pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and attempted murder in aid of racketeering for their roles in gang-related shootings in South Carolina.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge C.J. Hyman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Charlotte, North Carolina, Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta Field Office; Solicitor Duffie Stone of the 14th Judicial Circuit; Solicitor David Pascoe of the First Circuit; Sheriff R.A. Strickland, of the Colleton County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office; Chief Wade Marvin of the Walterboro, South Carolina, Police Department; Sheriff Al Cannon of the Charleston County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff L. C. Knight of the Dorchester County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office; Captain Jon Rogers of the Summerville, South Carolina, Police Department; Director Jerry Adger of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services; and Chief Mark Keel of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division made the announcement.
“These convictions are the result of a team of Federal and State officials working together, using all available resources, to rid our community of gangs,” said Solicitor Duffie Stone. “We have an excellent partnership with the United States Attorneys’ Office. Our office’s investigators, intelligence analysts and prosecutors will continue to work with them to bring career criminals throughout the Fourteenth Circuit to justice.”
Christopher Sean Brown, aka Rougish, 23, of Walterboro, pleaded guilty today to attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity. Matthew Rashaun Jones, aka Boogie Mac, 23, also of Walterboro, pleaded guilty today to racketeering conspiracy. Both defendants admitted their involvement and membership in the Cowboys street gang.
According to admissions made in connection with the plea agreements, the Cowboys is a violent criminal street gang operating in South Carolina since at least 2009, with members who resided in an area known as the “Eastside” of Walterboro. Members of the Cowboys show their allegiance by wearing red, white and blue clothing and carrying rags in these colors, including depictions of the American flag. Further, members of the Cowboys greet each other and show their membership in the gang using a set of hand-signs intended to evoke the shape of a “b.” This hand sign also shows an affiliation with the “Bloods” gang. Members of the Cowboys also show allegiance to the gang by having the words “Cowboy(s)” or “GMC” tattooed to some part of their body.
As part of their plea agreements, Brown and Jones admitted that during the time of the conspiracy, they and other members of the Cowboys were involved in robberies, attempted murder and narcotics trafficking. On or about May 30, 2013, Brown and Jones participated in a drive-by shooting. Specifically, Brown and Jones, both passengers in the vehicle, admitted that they fired multiple shots at a residence where suspected members of the Dooley Hill gang – a rival of the Cowboys – were believed to reside.
As part of his plea agreement, Jones admitted that on or about May 12, 2011, he shot at a person whom he believed was an associate of a rival gang, which had an ongoing dispute with the Cowboys. This shooting led to a retaliatory shooting on May 14, 2011, during which an innocent bystander was shot and injured.
Brown, Jones and seven other members and associates of the Cowboys gang were charged in a Feb. 9, 2016, indictment with racketeering conspiracy and related offenses including attempted murder in aid of racketeering and firearms offenses. An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
ATF, HSI, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, the Walterboro Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, the Summerville Police Department and the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office are investigating the cases. The Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section is prosecuting indictments against the Cowboys gang in partnership with the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.