Gang & Drugs
In 2007, District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. created an official gang unit staffed with a single lawyer and investigator. The unit was organized around the investigation of a violent street gang known as the International Robbing Crew (IRC). After extensive investigation, prosecutors were able to identify twelve members of this gang who were responsible for eleven murders over a two-year period. The case resulted in a 60-count indictment and marked the first-time use under DA Howard’s administration of the Georgia Gang Statute.
Today our gang unit is comprised of two attorneys, two investigators and a paralegal. In the five years since its inception, the Unit’s caseload totals 195 defendants associated with 120 separate gang incidents. These gang incidents involve 23 homicides, numerous assaults, rapes, kidnappings, robberies, burglaries and drug and weapons charges. Despite the complexity of these cases, the Gang Unit has maintained a 100% trial conviction rate.
Atlanta and Fulton County law enforcement officers have identified more than 100 active gangs in Fulton County. Although many of the gangs are locally grown, several gang members have migrated from New York, New Jersey, California, North Carolina and New Orleans and Texas. The gangs encompass both male and female members between the ages of 14 and 25.
The prosecution of trafficking drug offenses and asset forfeiture also fall within the scope of duties for this unit. Working closely with law enforcement throughout the County, the Unit focuses on the immediate investigation, charging, preparation and trial of trafficking and possession cases. Prosecutors assigned to the unit are well versed in the State’s search and seizure statutes and can provide immediate guidance to police officers dealing with these crimes. The asset forfeiture function of this unit helps to put the illicit profits of drug dealers to good use. By law, all monies and valuables seized in drug prosecutions may be used as funding by law enforcement and prosecutors for important efforts such as training or the purchase of needed equipment. While 90-percent of this money goes to the local governing authority for distribution to the appropriate law enforcement agency, 10-percent of these funds are made available to the District Attorney’s Office.