Rapper Gunna arrested on RICO charges in Atlanta related to gang indictment of Young Thug
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Atlanta rapper Gunna, best known for his Billboard Top 10 hit "Pushing P," is in custody in Fulton County as part of an investigation into a group officials say is a violent street gang that committed multiple murders, shootings and carjackings over roughly a decade.
The rapper, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, has been booked into the Fulton County jail on RICO charges. He's slated to have his first appearance in court Wednesday morning.
The 88-page indictment filed Monday in Georgia’s Fulton County quotes lyrics from multiple music videos as evidence and accuses alleged gang members of committing violent crimes to collect money for the gang, promote its reputation and enhance its power and territory.
Sergio Kitchens (Fulton County Jail)
READ THE FULL LIST OF THOSE INDICTED AND THE CHARGES
"It does not matter what your notoriety is, what your fame is, if you come to Fulton County, Georgia, and you commit crimes, ... you are going to become a target and a focus of this district attorney’s office, and we are going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said Tuesday at a news conference announcing the charges.
The massive indictment claims that Gunna was part of a gang that has terrorized Atlanta for a decade. In total, 28 people are indicted on a list of crimes tied to gang activity.
RAPPER YOUNG THUG'S RICO ACT CHARGES EXPLAINED
The indictment also accuses members of the gang of trying to kill rapper YFN Lucci, whose given name is Rayshawn Bennett, by "stabbing and stabbing at" him with a shank in the Fulton County Jail. YFN Lucci was among a dozen people charged in another gang-related RICO indictment in Fulton County a year ago.
Gunna's arrest comes days after police arrested rapper Young Thug, whose given name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, at his Buckhead home.
What is the "Young Slime Life" enterprise?
The "Young Slime Life" enterprise started as a street gang in the Cleveland Avenue area of Atlanta in 2012, according to the indictment. Williams, who also goes by "Slime," along with Murphy, who goes by "DK," and Stephens, who goes by "Tick" or "Slug," create it as an affiliate of the national Bloods gang, the court document states. Williams has been known to reference it in his songs and on social media. The indictment stated that in its 10 years, it has expanded to include "the surrounding metropolitan Atlanta area."
Some YSL members claims close ties to Blood subset gangs SexMoneyMurder or 30 Deep, the indictment continued. Associates wear red for the Bloods and green for Slime. The indictment states they also wear clothing that has "YSL" or "Slime" on it. They also might have similar pendants with those words or "SLATT" on it.
Like many gangs, YSL uses a variety of hands signs. The indictment outlines a couple including the wiping of the nose with the index finger. Another hand sign is the curling of the ring and pinky fingers inward towards the palm.
"The extended middle and index ﬁngers represent the 'Y.' The curved middle ﬁnger and curved ring ﬁnger represent the 'S.' The extended index ﬁnger and thumb represent the 'L,'" the indictment reads.
Members will also make "the 'two guns' hand sign by forming pistols with their ﬁngers, and pointing them in opposite directions."
The words "BLATT," meaning "Blood Love All the Time," and "SLATT," meaning "Slime Love All the Time," are also used, the court document shows.
"They also refer to Cleveland Avenue as 'Bleveland,' replacing the 'C' with a 'B.' Green Heart, Green Snake, Blowing Nose, and Green Vomit emojis, are also symbols commonly used by members of YSL," the indictment reads.
What is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act?
Gunna and Young Thug's arrest has thrust the common, but complex charge of RICO back into the public spotlight.
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 including the Gambions and also has helped to weed out corruption in several city police departments including those in Key West and Los Angeles. 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.
Recently, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office hired a RICO expert in its investigating potential efforts by former President Donald Trump and others to influence last year’s general election.
Violating RICO carries a maximum of 20 years and a fine that is "greater of $25,000 or three times the amount of pecuniary gain."
Under RICO, victims impacted can seek civil recourse without the defendant being able to hide behind bankruptcy to skirt judgement or restitution.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.