Sheriff: 76 local gang members indicted after joint RICO investigation


More than 75 people are in custody or being sought for arrest following a several months long investigation initiated by the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.

Beginning in December 2022, the SCSO S.T.I.N.G. and Special Operations units began targeting the “Neighborhood Bloods Rollin’ 20’s Zoo Krew,” which officials describe as the most violent criminal street gang operating in the city of Griffin and Spalding County.

The SCSO also says the Zoo Krew is a criminal organization directly responsible for the increase in drive-by shootings and other crimes that have resulted in injuries and deaths in Griffin and Spalding County, and allege these activities are funded by illegal narcotics, firearms and other crimes.

Investigators say this criminal street gangs specifically targets local youth for recruitment.

SCSO gang investigators requested assistance from partners with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Gang Task Force and Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Marie Broder’s office.

Ultimately, 12 law enforcement agencies contributed to this joint operation including the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, GBI Gang Task Force, GBI West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office, Georgia Department Of Community Supervision, Georgia Department of Corrections, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives: Atlanta Field Division, US Postal Service: Atlanta Field Division, Upson County Sheriff’s Office, Butts County Sheriff’s Office, Henry County Police Department, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and the city of Dublin Police Department.

In February 2023, the joint investigation evolved from alleged violations of the Georgia Criminal Street Gang Terrorism Act to include violations of the Georgia Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.

The culmination of the investigation began April 19, when a Spalding County grand jury handed down indictments on 76 Zoo Krew gang members, targeting its leaders, hierarchy and chain of commands.

Authorities began making arrests at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday.

“None of these people were indicted because of what they look like, where they live, or who they hang-out with. That’s not how this works. It works because this in-depth investigation proves that illegal narcotics and firearms are being trafficked to fund their ongoing criminal enterprise. They are active participants who profit from or gain from their gang activities.”

As of Friday afternoon, 57 of the 76 indicted gang members have been captured or were already in custody on other charges. Other jurisdictions are working with the SCSO to locate those who are outside Spalding County.

More than a dozen search warrants have been executed since this investigation began, and more than 25 firearms have been seized from gang members.

“I am proud of the work the men and women of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office do every day. I am proud of the work Spalding County Special Operations, STING Unit, GBI Agents assigned to both their gang and drug units, and District Attorney’s accomplished with this operation. They work in unison, work hard, and are the best of the best. I would put them up against anybody when it comes to gang investigations, their knowledge of gangs, and prosecution of gang crimes,” said Sheriff Darrell Dix.

Dix also addressed those who would deny the existence or minimize the devastating effect of legitimate criminal street gangs in the city of Griffin and Spalding County.

“Criminal street gangs in Georgia have affiliations and ties to other criminal street gangs across this nation and are not wannabees or kids playing games of make believe. Their victims don’t make believe when they are shot by wannabees, and parents don’t play make believe when their children are being targeted in gang shootings or imprisoned,” Dix said. “Talk to the parents and family of Jacqueris Holland, a young man who was graduating college and had his own business. Jacqueris, who was well loved and respected by family, friends, and classmates, was murdered, in the middle of North Hill Street in an act of gang violence on May 22, 2022. Convince them that there are no real gangs here. Talk to the parents and family of Asijah Jones, an 11-year-old child who was laying in her bed with her sister in Spalding Heights when she was murdered by a bullet fired by an admitted gang member on March 14, 2023. Convince them that there are no real gangs here. Convince the families of many others who have been shot, injured, killed, or imprisoned because of gang violence right here. I’ve stood in courtrooms and watched angry parents who swore that their sons were not gang members, cry as their children admit they are gang members in front of them and a judge. Parents, be parents and be aware of what your kids are doing. I’ve stood in front of you many times just like I am today and I’m saying to you without a doubt that none of the agencies involved believes in wannabees, and we all refuse to play a child’s game of make believe when it comes to stopping gangs and gang violence in our communities. We stand with the people who are real victims, their families, those who are terrorized by gangs, and those living in fear in their own neighborhoods.”

Sheriff Dix stressed that his office, the law enforcement partners that participated in this joint investigation and community members are fed up with gang violence.

“Today, you’re not going to hear the same old clichés, telling gang members they aren’t welcome here, or warning gang members about coming here because of our hard stance on gangs. Everyone standing here today or who has assisted in this investigation are past that. The people who live in this city and county are past it too,” he said. “Our stance speaks clearly for itself, and is echoed by everyone here today. Go ahead…Get out while you can and live a productive life, become a statistic, or get assigned a GDOC prisoner number. One way or another, fool around and find out.”

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