FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A Georgia 18-year-old is facing nearly two dozen felony charges for threatening to kill the Fulton County sheriff over the arrest of Young Thug and other members of the YSL organization, officials say.
Deputies took 18-year-old Quartavius Mender into custody on May 26, 2022.
According to investigators, Mender wrote multiple death threats in comments of Instagram posts of Sheriff Pat Labat, the Gwinnett County Sheriff, the Fulton Clerk, and more after the arrest of Atlanta rapper Young Thug, Gunna, and 26 other associates on racketeering charges.
Quartavius Mender (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)
In the comments, officials say Mender wrote he was going to kill Sheriff Patrick Labat, his wife Jackie Labat, and Atlanta Public Schools Police Chief Ronald Applin unless one of the high-profile defendants in the case was released from custody.
Fulton County Sheriff Patrick "Pat" Labat unveils the RAPIDS Project at a press conference on March 1, 2021. (FOX 5)
"We take these kinds of brazen threats seriously," Sheriff Labat said in a statement. "Social media cyberbullying, and hiding behind a keyboard will not protect someone from criminal prosecution. Our investigators are diligent in seeking individuals who mean to do harm to anybody, and I am grateful to them for ensuring the safety of myself, my wife, and all citizens of Fulton County."
Mender is charged with 23 counts of terrorist threats, all felonies. He is currently in custody at the Fulton County Jail without bond.
Young Thug and Gunna's arrests and bond status
Young Thug, whose legal name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was arrested in Buckhead as part of the sweeping gang indictment Fulton County prosecutors allege those named in the indictment are members of the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang, which has engaged in criminal activity in the city since 2012. .
In the 88-page indictment, prosecutors allege Williams is a co-founder of YSL. The indictment also gives a detailed account of various crimes alleged members of YSL are accused of, and documents social media posts and rap lyrics by Williams that reference YSL.
Thursday, a judge denied bond for Williams after expressing concerns over threats he may have made.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville said he took several things into consideration. That includes a threat introduced to the court attributed to Williams from 2015 that states "Anybody goes into courtroom and tells the god's honest truth, they'll be f---ing killed." The judge said the validity of that threat would need to be proven in court, but it speaks to his possibly being a danger to the community.
"The two things that the court has significant concerns about are him being a danger to the community and flight," Judge Glanville said during his ruling.
Gunna, who is also charged with violating the RICO Act, had his bond denied in May. A judge set his court date for January 2023.
What is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act?
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, was developed to fight organized crime. It was enacted in 1970 after being signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
Federally, RICO was originally was intended to be used to combat the Mafia. It draws from a list of 27 federal crimes and eight state crimes committed repeated over the course of a 10-year period. Those crimes can include fraud, theft, computer crimes, embezzlement, credit scams, investment schemes, human trafficking, illegal gambling, bribery, kidnapping, murder, money laundering, counterfeiting, and various drug charges.
The Justice Department has used RICO to dismantle multiple crime families and weed out corruption in several city police departments. Prosecutors have also used RICO to try to dismantle several street gangs and helped in prosecuting businesses that break federal law.
Georgia’s RICO statutes are similar to the federal version , but are much broader in that the criminal "enterprise" does not have to be around as long. Georgia is one of only 33 states that has its own RICO statutes. However, in both state and federal laws, a pattern of criminal enterprise has to be established.