Operation GUNSMOKE: 26 indicted on gun, drug charges

Operation GUNSMOKE: 26 indicted on gun, drug charges

AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - On Tuesday afternoon, law enforcement officials from across the CSRA held a press conference at the new Aiken Department of Public Safety headquarters to discuss the results of a long-time investigation into illegal gang activity in our area. Bobby Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said, “This investigation will make a difference in this community for years to come.”

On Tuesday morning, posts began circulating on social media about a large law enforcement presence across the area. People spotted ATF agents in Augusta in unmarked vehicles getting ready for a large operation. That turned out to be Operation GUNSMOKE.

The investigation started back in 2017. Christine said, “A joint federal, state and local investigation began with members of the Bloods, a violent, criminal street gang, and this investigation, that stated in Aiken County, eventually reached across the river to Richmond and Burke Counties.” The investigation has resulted in the arrest of 26 individuals: 17 in South Carolina and 9 in Georgia. Brian Mein with ATF Charlotte Field Division said, “The individuals that were arrested today and will be arrested in the coming days are not under investigation by chance. They are under investigation because they are among some of the most violent folks of this area.”

  • George Edward Powell, 51, of Blythe - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • Keldrick Demonta Streetman, 36, of Augusta - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Distribution of Cocaine and Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • Jermarce Antonio Smith, 32, of Augusta - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • Brandon Jermal Jenkins, 29, of Augusta - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • Carl Walker, 56, of Augusta - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and multiple counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Gwendolyn Johnson-Hill, 53 - of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • John Willie Powell, 39, of Augusta - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and multiple counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • Ziquane Sandford, 21, of Hephzibah - charged with Conspiracy to Engage in the Business of Dealing in Firearms Without a License, False Statements in Acquisition of Firearms, Engaging in the Business of Dealing in Firearms Without a License, Possession of an Unregistered Short-Barreled Shotgun, and False Statements Concerning Information Kept by Firearms Dealer
  • Jacquetta Yarbray, 23, of Hephzibah - charged with Conspiracy to Engage in the Business of Dealing in Firearms Without a License, False Statements in Acquisition of Firearms, and False Statements Concerning Information Kept by Firearms Dealer
  • Ronald Gartrell, a/k/a “RJ,” 33, of Aiken - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, multiple counts of Distribution of Crack Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Heather Collins, 42, of Aiken - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, and multiple counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine and Crack Cocaine
  • Cornelious F. McKie, 42, of Aiken - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine
  • Reihn Dracon Jennings, a/k/a “Red,” 28, of Aiken - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, Distribution of Crack Cocaine, multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime
  • Christopher Johnson, a/k/a “Crip,” 32, of Aiken - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, Distribution of Crack Cocaine, and multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Quinton De’Shaun White, a/k/a “Q,” 29, of North Augusta - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, Distribution of Methamphetamine, and Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime
  • Kevin D. Sheppard, a/k/a “Bean O”, 35, of Jackson - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License
  • Benjamin Roper, 42, of Aiken - charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Dealing in Firearms without a License
  • Jerome Morris Simmons, 38, of Aiken - charged with Distribution of Cocaine, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License
  • Antonio Maurice Scrivens, a/k/a “Bucko,” 34 - of Aiken, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License
  • Keith Williams, 29, of Beech Island - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Distribution of Methamphetamine, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License
  • Larry Thomas, 20, of Aiken - charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Distribution of Methamphetamine, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License
  • Charlie Edward Carter, 31, of Beech Island - charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Dealing in Firearms without a License
  • Rudolph Keith Scott, 27, of Beech Island - charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • Ray Hampton Baughman, 48, of New Ellenton - charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Xavier Mathaney, 26, of Aiken - charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Rashad Lundy, 27, of Aiken - charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt said Operation: GUNSMOKE makes a very clear statement. He said, “The message we want to send today is that we are simply not going to tolerate gang-related violent crimes in our neighborhoods.” Chief Charles Barranco with Aiken Department of Public Safety added, “This is also a message from our community that they’re tired of the violence as well.”

The prosecution is still in its early phases and the investigation into these crimes is still ongoing. From law enforcement in the room, the message is clear: “There will be more arrests. If we didn’t get you today, we will be coming again.” and “We will not tolerate gang-related violence in our neighborhoods."

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