JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Members of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the State Attorney's Office are announcing a successful joint investigation that led to the dismantling of the Grand Park Gang and the conviction of six men under the RICO statute.
Police have been working this case since 2007 but the investigation has picked up in the last 18 months, culminating in Friday's announcement that six men deeply involved in the gang's activity have been arrested, charged, and sentenced under the RICO statute.
"These people are the poster children for the deadly 'don't snitch' attitude," says Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.
Rutherford says this gang had the Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood living in fear and that they were a criminal enterprise dealing mainly in drugs, although he said 13 firearms were recovered in the investigation. He says it was difficult during the investigation to get many witnesses to talk because of their fear of retaliation if they gave police any details about crimes in the area. For some time many in the neighborhood believed that the crimes were being carried out by people from outside the neighborhood.
"This team was determined to bring justice to those individuals who ran the neighborhood like terrorists,"
State Attorney Angela Corey said through other previous crimes, investigators were able to link the six men to the gang and charge the entire enterprise under the RICO statute.
"What you're doing is taking this enterprise and dismantling it piece by piece and person by person," said Corey.
The gang members were charged with 77 felonies and 65 misdemeanors. Rutherford says the gang numbered 43 people at its peak with ages ranging from 15 to 32 years old.
Below are the six men who have been sentenced and their charges:
1. Sedgewick Spicer - racketeering, conspiracy to commit RICO. Sentenced to five years in prison, five years probation
2. Darryl Lundy - racketeering, conspiracy to commit RICO. Sentenced to six years in prison.
3. James Hall - racketeering, conspiracy to commit RICO. Sentenced to four yeras in prison, six years probation.
4. Marcus Mitchell - racketeering, conspiracy to commit RICO. Pled guilty, sentenced to 10-23 years.
5. Michael Merriweather - racketeering, conspiracy to commit RICO. Sentenced to 10 years.
6. Warren Dixon - racketeering, conspiracy to commit RICO. Sentenced to eight years in prison, two years probation.
*NOTE* The suspects may receive additional charges and prison time on top of the sentences they received for violating RICO depending on the outcome of other criminal charges relating to the gang.