Long-term gang investigation yields 19 drug charge arrests

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 3:22pm

For community leaders in North Nashville, the announcement that authorities have charged 19 individuals on a variety of state and federal charges connected to recent violence came not a moment too soon.

Law enforcement officials in Nashville announced Wednesday morning that a federal grand jury indictment last week charged eight persons with charges including firearm possession by a felon and drug distribution charges. In addition, 10 more face a variety of state charges filed by District Attorney Torry Johnson’s office.

One man, Christopher Bridges, 20, who was arrested Monday in connection to an Aug. 21 double homicide at a Brick Church Pike gas station, has also been charged with a federal criminal complaint for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Rev. Enoch Fuzz, of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, said for too long area residents — and not, as it should be, the criminals — have lived in fear. The general violence in his community had made some afraid to attend church, he said, adding, “sometimes I’m afraid.”

“When you have shooting within a half mile of where you live … when you hear gunfire and you just turn over and go back to sleep, it’s time for somebody to come and help us,” Fuzz said.

According to police, the three-year-old investigation leading to the charges and arrests focused on members of the 98 Mafia Crips gang, which aside from the alleged involvement in the deadly August shootings also have sought to control drug sales in the J.C. Napier and Tony Sudekum public housing developments.

Metro Gang Unit detectives and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who worked the investigation believe that many of those charged lived in or frequented the areas around Creekwood Drive and Dellway Villa Road in North Nashville.

U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said the decision to seek federal charges against some of the alleged criminals is an attempt to go after lengthy sentences for the “worst of the worst” and seeking “significant jail time with no hope for parole.”

Police Chief Steve Anderson said the charges are meant to send the message that “this summer’s gunfire and violence that has taken place in North Nashville is not acceptable.”

“We will seek federal prosecution of gang members whenever possible and upon conviction look forward to seeing them serve their sentence [in a federal prison] many miles from Tennessee,” Anderson said.

While Metro Councilwoman Edith Taylor Langster thanked Metro police for working with and responding to the community, she added a caveat for North Precinct Commander Anthony Carter. “But Commander Carter, you’ve got some more people to pick up.”

Those charged in the federal indictment include Timothy Jutodd Batey, 19, Malcolm L. Brooks, 36, Melvin Nathaniel Comer Jr., 22, Javaree Markeith Groves, 26, Lemanuel Rycole Hockett, 21, Darvis Quontez Lewis, 25, Antwan Montez Pitts, 34, and Lamont Marques Pitts, 24.

Timothy Jutodd Batey, 19, Melvin Nathaniel Comer Jr., 22, and Antwan Montez Pitts, 24, remained at large as of Wednesday. If convicted, all of those charged federally face prison sentences of between 10 years to life.

Additionally, the 10 facing state charges for alleged violent acts and drug sales include Tyquane Cruther, 21, Nathaniel Thompson, 32, Kendrick Walker, 22, Ryan Potter, 24, Quinten Dailey, 23, Kevin Fain, 22, Carlos Harp, 29, Stewart Dailey, 27, Jamahl Saunders, 23, and Clarence Shaw, 22. 

8 Comments on this post:

By: ratizbad on 9/21/11 at 4:45

I noticed they are all B lack nothing unusual.. Hang them ..i got a tree you can use
good work police ..now get other areas where they breed

By: conniem on 9/22/11 at 7:00

@ Ratizbad, are you serious right now? Really? People only know that you are stupid when you open your mouth! I don't care if they are Black, White or purple, they broke the law and they should be punished, THE END!!!! I will pray for you, as a white woman, I am hoping that you are not in my race!

By: yucchhii on 9/22/11 at 10:53

yucchhii Hey Ratizbad, I halfway agree with you. Not ALL streetgangs are BLACK! There are WHITES in streetgangs too as well as Mexicans and Chinese. I don't think hanging would do any good. I say round up "ALL streetgangs members and wanna be's, put them all in a huge steel walled round room with ak-47s for each one and lock the steel vault door! Let them all kill each other till the last one is DEAD! That vault door does NOT open till they are ALL dead!!

By: rbull on 9/22/11 at 11:53

Hey yucchhii I agree with you, but yet take these thugs and tie each to the back of a truck with chains and drag their ass through the streests of North Nashville until each is dead, like they did the black guy in Texas a few years ago. That will get the attention of any more gang members and let them know we mean business. They do not deserve to live.

By: fdanshep on 9/23/11 at 6:36

No bleeding heart liberals amongst you guys! Conniem, while Ratizbad put it rather indelically, he is literally correct; all of these arrested are a member of a black gang, 98 Mafia Crips and they seem to be the most dangerous. Yes, there are Latino gangs, Asian gangs and Kurd gangs. To my knowledge, there are no effective white gangs if you leave out some rebel motorcycle gangs, just white thugs with a few "wantabees" in the other gangs(mostly women). I agree with getting these thugs into the federal system where there is adequate money to house them for their full manditory sentence. Hopefully they all get a life sentence. Going through the stae system they are released way too quickly, either for time off for "good behavior" or overcrowding.

By: conniem on 9/23/11 at 8:16

The problem is that all of you actually believe the stuff that you are saying. There are white gangs, they started it with the KKK!!!!!! You people are the reason that the world is so screwed up now. Make me understand how it is okay for you all to decide that they need to be hunged, killed and dragged by trucks, but what the gang members are doing is NOT okay? You people are so deeply rooted in hate that you don't see that you are just like the gang members your self!!! Keep believing that White gangs are a bunch of wannabees, no, not true, white people just really don't want to claim when they do wrong!! White gangs are on crack, selling crack, killing people, and everything that other gangs are doing!!!!!!!

By: rosebud43 on 9/23/11 at 10:24

From some of these posts it just sounds like some bigots and racists voicing their own gang mentality. If you are going to express yourself about how you want these people punished can you at least explain intelligently what your angry about instead of sounding like self righteous wannabe killers. Ignorance breeds ignorance.

By: Loner on 9/27/11 at 5:44

Rev. Enoch Fuzz, of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church??!! You mean there actually is a "Pastor Fuzz"? I recall the old joke about Pastor Fuzz (past her fuzz)...somebody is actually going by that name? Let's see some ID, Pastor "Fuzz"...who is this guy, this professional zealot....really?

What are the"drugs" involved...the story does not reveal that info...was it just Cannabis? Prohibition of Cannabis has caused more human misery than good...are these young men going to a federal jail, for many years, for selling pot? In California, Cannabis is a medicinal herb....and it's treated as such...in TN, pot prohibition is a good excuse to round up the community undesirables.

I'm not saying these kids are angels; but are they getting the bum's rush?

Looks like you are treating the symptoms, not the disease itself.