JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, State Attorney Angela Corey and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Friday that six of eight Grand Park Gang members are behind bars.
The investigation began in 2006 into what Sheriff Rutherford referred to as "the enterprise," as he described the Grand Park Gang.
Gang activity, according to Rutherford, included multiple shootings in 2007 and 2008, as well as the selling of narcotics and other violent crimes.
At the height of the gang's activity, Grand Park had 43 members ranging in age from 15 years old to 32 years old, Rutherford detailed. Members used hand signals to communicate and often were tattooed with a superimposed GP.
Law enforcement made headway with dismantling by the end of 2010 through partnering with FDLE and using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
In all, the Grand Park Gang is suspected to have committed 77 felonies and 65 misdemeanors. Additionally, 13 firearms were recovered by investigators during the process of dismantling the gang.
Drugs were a major source of the gang's revenue, according to Rutherford, and a lot of narcotics were recovered in the investigation, including ecstasy and cocaine.
The Grand Park Gang was also allegedly using guns to control the neighborhood and, "take away people's right to thrive," Rutherford added. "The gang ran the neighborhood like terrorists."
The gang was able to thrive by enforcing what Rutherford described as a "snitch culture." Which, Rutherford said, shows there is a need in the community: "if you see something, say something."
It is believed that Johnnie "J.R." Hoover, who was shot and killed in a 2010 drive-by, was the one time leader of the Grand Park Gang until his murder. Hoover's death is an ongoing investigation.
Sedgewick Denon Spencer, 30, is suspected to have taken Hoover's place as the gang's leader following the killing.
Other prominent members include Marcus Maurice Mitchell, 26; Darryl Markanthony Lundy, 26; Warren Jamaal Dixon, 31; and James Edward Hall, 23; all of which have been convicted on RICO charges connected to their gang activity.
The following Grand Park Gang members have been convicted and sentenced:
-Darryl Markanthony Lundy, racketeering and conspiracy to commit RICO, six year sentence
-James Edward Hall, racketeering and conspiracy to commit RICO, four year sentence and six years probation
-Marcus Maurice Mitchell, racketeering and conspiracy to commit RICO, (pled guilty) sentencing range 10 years to 23 years
-Sedgewick Denon Spencer, racketeering and conspiracy to commit RICO, five year sentence and five years probation
-Warren Jamaal Dixon, racketeering and conspiracy to commit RICO, eight year sentence and two years probation
-Michael Dewayne Merriwether
, racketeering and conspiracy to engage in pattern of racketeering activity, 10 years
There are two additional unnamed Grand Park Gang members currently facing RICO charges for their involvement in the enterprise.
According to Rutherford, there are still Grand Park Gang members, but the enterprise is not as organized as before.
The investigation is ongoing.
First Coast News