Atlanta rapper Young Thug co-founded a violent street gang that committed multiple murders, shootings, and carjackings over roughly a decade and promoted its activities in songs and on social media, prosecutors allege in a sprawling indictment that charges him, rapper Gunna and 26 others with racketeering.
The 88-page indictment issued Monday in Georgia’s Fulton county mentions various music videos as evidence and accuses suspected gang members of targeting other high-profile rap artists. There is no distinction between fame and notoriety in Fulton County, Georgia; if you commit a crime and come to our office for prosecution, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, said district attorney Fani Willis on Tuesday at a press conference announcing the charges against the individuals involved.
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Young Thug, whose actual name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, co-wrote the single This is America with Childish Gambino, creating history as it became the first hip-hop track to win the song of the year Grammy in 2019. Authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, alleging he and two others formed Young Slime Life in late 2012, an extremely violent street gang that goes by the acronym YSL and is linked to the Bloods group.
He was arrested Monday at his home in Buckhead, an upmarket area north of downtown Atlanta. On allegations of conspiring to violate Georgia’s Rico Act and involvement in a violent street gang, he was being held in the Fulton County jail.
Young Thug’s lawyer, Brian Steel, told news outlets that “Mr. Williams did no crime whatsoever” and he would “fight till his last drop of blood to clear him”. Also charged in the indictment were rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, and wannabe rapper Christian Eppinger, who was already in jail and is accused of shooting an Atlanta police officer six times in February.
Young Thug was arrested on Monday on suspicion of gang involvement and conspiracy to violate the Georgia criminal racketeering law. The Atlanta rapper was indicted with about two dozen others accused of being members of a criminal street gang. https://t.co/ZLVTGyF704
— New York Times Music (@nytimesmusic) May 10, 2022
Gunna, who is charged with conspiring to violate the state’s Rico Act, was not in arrest as of Tuesday afternoon, Fulton county sheriff Pat Labat said. Additional allegations include 181 acts that were said to have been carried out beginning in 2013 as part of an alleged Rico conspiracy to advance the gang’s objectives as well as particular offenses.
In 2015, Williams rented an Infiniti automobile that five alleged gang members used when they shot and killed a rival gang member, the indictment claims. Williams and Kitchens 2017 had methamphetamine, hydrocodone, and marijuana that they intended to distribute and were involved in a traffic stop the following year in which one of the vehicles had many guns with large-capacity magazines, including an AK-47, according to the indictment.
“I never killed anybody, but I’ve got something to do with that body,” he says in one of Williams’ many music videos from 2018, and, “I told them to shoot a hundred bullets.” Willis said she appreciates the first amendment right to free speech, but she feels the song lyrics listed in the indictment are “overt and predicate acts” that support the Rico accusation.
“If it’s true, the First Amendment doesn’t shield people from prosecutors using it as evidence,” she claimed. The indictment also accuses members of the gang of trying to kill rapper YFN Lucci, whose given name is Rayshawn Bennett, by “stabbing and stabbing at” him with a shank in the Fulton County jail. YFN Lucci was among a dozen defendants indicted in another gang-related Rico indictment in Fulton county a year ago.
The indictment also states it was an alleged member of the gang who shot at a bus in 2015 that was carrying rapper, Lil Wayne. She said she intends to pursue the harshest punishments for those accused in the criminal complaint. This might be the rest of their lives in a prison of them.
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