Operation Vanilla Gorilla charges affiliates of Ghost Face Gangsters with drug trafficking, firearms felonies

Updated: Nov. 20, 2018 at 12:11 PM EST
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The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the indictments againts 43 white supremacist gang members charged with drugtrafficking in Coastal Empire counties

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - More than 40 defendants linked to the notorious white supremacist street gang have been indicted on federal charges related to drug trafficking and firearms possession throughout eastern Georgia and beyond.

The United States Attorney’s Office a 93-page, 83-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed on Nov. 16 in U.S. District Court in Savannah lists the charges against the 43 men and women associated with the Ghost Face Gangsters gang. The charges include trafficking methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. Federal, state, and local agencies cooperated in the investigation, called ‘Operation Vanilla Gorilla.’

The Attorney’s Office says the indictment alleges that the narcotics-trafficking conspiracy began as early as 2015 and continued until the present, operating in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, and Tattnall counties, and elsewhere. Officials say the Ghost Face Gangsters is 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 takedowns 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, as well as multiple arrests in October 2018 on state charges in Spalding County. Below is a list of the charges:

  • 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
  • 2 counts alleging the possession of counterfeit currency

Officials say the indictment also seeks the forfeiture of 23 firearms that were seized during the 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.
  • Kimberlin Johnson, 24, Rincon, Ga.

Forty-one of the 43 defendants charged are now in custody awaiting further court proceedings.

“The Ghost Face Gangsters are no strangers to CNT and have been targeted in several recent high-profile CNT cases,” said CNT Director, Everett Ragan, in a release. “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.”

This case was investigated by the ATF, GBI, DEA, 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 PD, the Pooler PD, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bloomingdale PD, 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.

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