More than 40 associates of the notorious Ghost Face Gangsters criminal street gang have been indicted on federal charges related to drug trafficking and firearms possession throughout eastern Georgia and beyond, the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Georgia reported.
A 93-page, 83-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed Nov. 16 in U.S. District Court in Savannah lists the charges against 43 men and women for a multitude of offenses involving trafficking methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, announced Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Federal, state and local agencies cooperated in the investigation dubbed Operation Vanilla Gorilla.
The indictment alleges that the narcotics-trafficking conspiracy began as early as 2015 and continued until the present, operating in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Emmanuel, Evans, and Tattnall Counties, in the Southern District of Georgia, and elsewhere. Members of the conspiracy associated with the Ghost Face Gangsters, a violent, white supremacist street gang operated largely from inside prisons, and with other criminal street gangs to aid in the distribution of controlled substances, for protection, and to promote a climate of fear.
Operation Vanilla Gorilla represents one of the largest take-downs of Ghost Face Gangsters associates to date, and follows the March 2018 arrests of 23 gang members in the Northern District of Georgia on federal charges, and multiple arrests in October 2018 on state charges in Spalding County, Ga.
Charges against the defendants in Operation Vanilla Gorilla include:
- 25 counts alleging the possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute;
- 18 counts alleging the unlawful distribution of controlled substances;
- 25 counts alleging prohibited persons (drug users and/or felons) in possession of firearms and/or ammunition;
- One count alleging the unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon – a sawed-off rifle;
- One count alleging the possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number;
- 10 counts alleging the possession of controlled substances, including methamphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana, and prescription pills; and,
- 2 counts alleging the possession of counterfeit currency.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of 23 firearms that were seized during this operation. The following defendants were indicted, all of them facing potential sentences of up to life in prison:
David McCloskey, 47, a/k/a “Larchmont,” of Augusta, Ga.;
Mike Penfield, 54, Pooler, Ga.;
Nick Penfield, a/k/a/ “Picnic,” 22, Pooler, Ga.;
Cody Penfield, 28, Savannah, Ga.;
Adam Cushman, a/k/a “Cush,” 39, Savannah, Ga.;
Devon Aines, a/k/a “Devon Johnson,” 32, Garden City, Ga.;
Trevor Aines, a/k/a “Sticks,” 29, Garden City, Ga.;
Avery Wiggins, 43, Guyton, Ga.;
Tyler Shuman, 25, Pembroke, Ga.;
Aaron McCarthy, a/k/a “Mustang Aaron,” 40, Pooler, Ga.;
Darren J. Driggers, a/k/a “eBay,” a/k/a “DJ,” 26, Bloomingdale, Ga.;
Crystal Wilson, 36, Bloomingdale, Ga.;
Cody Eubanks, 26, Pooler, Ga.;
Robert Fuller, a/k/a “Robbie,” 39, Richmond Hill, Ga.;
Baby Dwayne Garrison, 55, Bloomingdale, Ga.;
Jennifer J. Grooms, 36, Ellabell, Ga.;
Marcus Logan-Greco, 28, Richmond Hill, Ga.;
Brandon Chapman, 25, Savannah, Ga.;
Ronald A. Smith, 39, Newington, Ga.;
Kenneth I. Jenks, a/k/a “Juno,” 40, Savannah, Ga.;
Daniel Fleming, a/k/a “Baby Boy,” 32, Savannah, Ga.;
Andrew P. Campos, a/k/a “Chubs,” 28, Richmond Hill, Ga.;
Rodney Rose, 39, Bloomingdale, Ga.;
Cody Tracy, a/k/a “Cojack,” 33, Guyton, Ga.;
Joshua Mcnelly, 25, Savannah, Ga.;
Cynthia Miracle, 48, Ellabell, Ga.;
Dillon Myrick, a/k/a “Country Crack,” 31, Savannah, Ga.;
Amberly Knight, a/k/a “Tina Tinker,” 26, Savannah, Ga.;
Keri Ann-Marie Lewis, 28, Savannah, Ga.;
Waylon Jesse Hodges, 41, Pembroke, Ga.;
Christine Loggins, 43, Rockledge, Ga.;
William Frank Davis, a/k/a “Nitty,” 31, Guyton, Ga.;
Joseph Britt Carter, a/k/a “Crack,” 29, Savannah, Ga.;
Maurice L. Graham, a/k/a “Moe,” 45, Savannah, Ga.;
Meagan M. James, a/k/a “Meagan M. Cooke,” “Amanda Gail Page,” and “MJ,” 35, Alto, Ga.;
Shawn Hadden, a/k/a “Shorty,” 42, Bloomingdale, Ga.;
Christopher Hendrix, a/k/a “Hot Boy,” “Irish,” and “Conor Murphy,” 40, Helena, Ga.;
Elizabeth Kitchens, a/k/a “Liz,” 38, Tybee Island, Ga.;
Kerri Neely, 27, Savannah, Ga.;
David Rahn, 41, Savannah, Ga.;
Miranda Burnsed, a/k/a “Miranda Harralson,” 32, Pembroke, Ga.;
Patrick Kennally, a/k/a “Shifty,” 39, Bloomingdale, Ga.; and,
Kimberlin Johnson, 24, Rincon, Ga.
Of the 43 defendants charged, 41 are now in custody awaiting further court proceedings.
“When I was sworn in as the United States Attorney, I pledged that we would make neighborhoods safer and work hard to dismantle criminal street gangs,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “As this indictment demonstrates, we will coordinate with federal, state and local law enforcement to identify criminal organizations; we will target them; and we will dismantle them. The Ghost Face Gangsters is a gang that started in Georgia prisons. It has spread to the free world. It is my goal to end the gang where it started.”
Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) Director Everett Ragan said, “The Ghost Face Gangsters are no strangers to CNT and have been targeted in several recent high-profile CNT cases. This is a dangerous gang that promotes violence and profits from poisoning our communities. CNT understands that working investigations collectively with our law enforcement partners maximizes the impact, puts more criminals away, and is an overall win for the citizens we are sworn to protect.”
Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta Field Division said, “The mission of DEA is unwavering: We relentlessly pursue drug traffickers. This organization distributed dangerous drugs (methamphetamine and heroin) that caused immeasurable damage to communities in the Southern District of Georgia. This indictment is an example of how the law enforcement community and the U.S. Attorney’s Office work together to remove such criminals from our streets.”
“Without the phenomenal character and competence of the agents leading the investigation, this outcome would not have been possible,” said Tim Graden, Resident Agent in Charge of the Savannah Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “ATF’s Savannah Field Office and our law enforcement partners targeted focus on investigating criminal organizations and violent offenders has resulted in numerous successful prosecutions like this operation. The success of these investigations are easily substantiated by the reduction in violent crime and the increased community confidence in the areas where these criminals once committed their crimes.”
This case was investigated as an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the United States Attorney General’s drug strategy to reduce the availability of drugs by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Chatham County Narcotics Team (CNT), the Georgia Department of Corrections Intelligence Division, the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Bloomingdale Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly, Jr. and Frank Pennington.
A criminal indictment contains only charges. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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