A US prosecutor has announced a sprawling indictment targeting members of what she said is a violent street gang that has been targeting the Atlanta area homes of famous athletes, entertainers and others who flaunt expensive possessions on social media.
Singer Mariah Carey, Marlo Hampton of The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, Atlanta United player Brad Guzan and the Atlanta Falcons’ Calvin Ridley all had their homes broken into, the indictment says.
The 220-count indictment was filed on August 22 and charges 26 people, most of whom are accused of violating Georgia’s anti-gang and racketeering laws.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the crimes alleged in the indictment – carjacking, kidnapping, armed robbery, shootings, home invasions – were committed by members of the Drug Rich gang, which she said began to emerge in 2016 in a neighbouring county.
In addition to the celebrity targets, social media influencers were also victimised in home invasions and burglaries, Ms Willis said.
“What they do is target people who show their wealth on social media,” she said.
“So I do have a message for the public: Where it is kind of fun to put your things on social media and show off, unfortunately these gangs are becoming more savvy, more sophisticated in the way that they target you.”
But Ms Willis also had a message for the alleged gang members, saying: “If you thought Fulton was a good county to bring your crime to, to bring your violence to, you are wrong and you are going to suffer consequences and today is the start of some of those consequences.”
Ms Willis said the indictment, filed last week, represented a collaboration between different law enforcement agencies working together.
Cracking down on gangs is a priority for Ms Willis, and she said she intends to pursue tough penalties for people involved with violent gang activity.
“I am not going to negotiate with gang members. I am not going to allow pleas,” she said.
“We are going to find you, we are going to convict you and we’re going to send you to the prison for the rest of your days, and I’m not apologising for that.”