Griffin murder part of extensive GBI Gang Task Force case

Present for a press conference on Operation Caged Dove were numerous local law enforcement officials – including Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix, Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore, Thomaston Police Department Chief Mike Richardson, Fayetteville Police Chief Scott Gray and Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb – Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Marie Broder, Governor Brian Kemp, Attorney General Chris Carr and GBI Director Vick Reynolds. Photo credit: Sheila Mathews/The GRIP

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The July 24 murder of 26-year-old Jeffery Ryan Deluca, of Griffin, has been linked to Operation Caged Dove, an extensive criminal street gang operation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Gang Task Force with the assistance of numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Operation Caged Dove was initiated upon a request by Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Marie Broder, who asked the GBI to take a deep look into connected crimes in Spalding, Upson and Pike counties.

Broder said this year-long investigation was a group effort that was important to her. She said she has seen firsthand the “suffering and evil” criminal street gangs inflict on the community.

“They thrive by targeting those who are often overlooked, promising easy money and often delivering nothing but a criminal record and a lifetime of regret. They are violent criminals that deprive our community of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Broder said. “But through the hard work of our law enforcement officers who truly came together as a united front to take down these violent gang members and thanks to our governor, who understands the threat that this criminal element poses in our community, we stand ready to send a message to those of you who commit organized crime.”

Altogether, Operation Caged Dove resulted in the indictment of 46 individuals on 96 counts of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, 59 counts of violating the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, three counts of trafficking methamphetamine, three counts of trafficking heroin, five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, three counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, five counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, two counts of financial transaction card fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit financial transaction card fraud, 24 counts of aggravated assault, four counts of kidnapping, four counts of battery, two counts of tampering with evidence, four counts of felony murder and four counts of armed robbery.

Authorities say the operation established that between May 2014 and September 2020, the people indicted by an Upson County grand jury allegedly participated in a pattern of racketeering activity as part of the criminal enterprise known as the Rollin’ 20 Neighborhood Bloods.

Officials allege the Rollin’ 20 Neighborhood Bloods are active statewide, including but not limited to Spalding, Upson, Fayette, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Richmond, Greene, Telfair and Washington counties, and throughout the United States.

Alleged crimes include drug trafficking, assault, theft of money and personal property, conspiracy to assault inmates and recruiting gang members.

Thus far, of the 46 indicted, 25 suspects have been arrested and 21 are identified as fugitives sought by law enforcement. (The GRIP will report more extensively on those indicted, arrested and their individual charges in a separate article.)

Operation Caged Dove was executed with the assistance of agencies including the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Georgia National Guard – Counter Drug Unit, the Griffin Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, the Thomaston Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Atlanta Division, the Upson County Sheriff’s Office and the Upson County District Attorney’s Office.

The criminal cases will be prosecuted by the Upson County District Attorney’s Office.

The GBI Gang Task Force is comprised of the Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta, and the Georgia National Guard.

In addressing those involved in criminal street gangs, Broder said, “Don’t come here. The Griffin Judicial Circuit is my home, and it is my hometown. In my opinion, it is the greatest circuit in the state, and as your district attorney, I will do whatever it takes to protect this place that we call home. That is why I have partnered with all of these agencies to bring this case to an Upson County jury. See, over the past several years, I have watched as gangs infiltrate our circuit. It is time to drive them out. Gang members, this is for you. Make no mistake. If you choose to commit crime in the Griffin Judicial Circuit – whether you wield the gun yourself or direct another to wield it in your place, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. No matter how many miles we must travel, we will find you. Justice will not be denied.”

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