Home » Grand Jury Indicts 18 St. Tammany Residents In Racketeering Gang Case

Grand Jury Indicts 18 St. Tammany Residents In Racketeering Gang Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 19, 2020

Grand Jury Indicts 18 St. Tammany Residents In Racketeering Gang Case

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced during a press conference Monday that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury returned a historic 49-count felony indictment and 12 misdemeanor counts, charging 18 individuals with racketeering for their participation in a violent gang operating in the West 30s neighborhood.

Montgomery said the gang, known as the “Vulture Gang” or the “Hunger Gang,” has committed attempted murders, drive-by shootings, armed robberies, drug distribution, and all kinds of gun violence throughout the neighborhood, located just steps from the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center.  The gang used violence to perpetuate a climate of fear, he said.

This is the largest known racketeering indictment on the Northshore, as well as the largest collaborative effort among law enforcement agencies, Montgomery said. The District Attorney’s Office began working with local, parish, and federal law enforcement agencies about a year ago to investigate the cause of a string of shootings in the West 30s community. The FBI dedicated a full-time agent, who has worked exclusively on the case for the past several months from the District Attorney’s Office, which has been base camp for all involved. The Covington Police Department and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office also spent many hours working on the investigation.

“This is an important indictment,” Montgomery said. “It begins the removal from our community of a violent gang, and it also reflects the cooperation and collaboration between federal, parish, and municipal law enforcement officials. I’m grateful for the hard work between members of my staff and these respected law enforcement officers.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Bryan Vorndran said his office joined the investigation in October 2019 at the request of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office. “The FBI has always and will continue to dedicate significant time and resources to these investigations because of the effect drugs and violence have on our communities,” he said. “Too many lives have been tragically lost to these acts of violence and we are committed to enforcing the laws that take these dangerous criminals off of the streets.”

Collin Sims, Chief of the Criminal Division in the District Attorney’s Office, said the gang communicated threats to potential witnesses via rap songs that were published on the internet. Sims praised D.A. Investigator Molly Richmond and Assistant District Attorneys Blair Alford and Blake Peters for their participation in the case, as well as Covington Police Detectives Jessica Restel, Kevin Collins, and Bart Ownby. Other agencies that participated in the investigation include the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office.

Some of the suspects named in the indictment were in jail already on various criminal charges, but those charges were tied into the racketeering indictment. The indictment also includes several new charges for additional crimes that came to light during the investigation.

“We’re not going to allow lawlessness and disorder to flourish in St. Tammany Parish,” Montgomery said.

Those charged with racketeering and any additional charges include:

  • Avery Jules Fabre, Jr., 20, of Covington, five counts of assault by driving by shooting, aggravated criminal damage to property, contraband in municipal or parish prison or jail, attempted second degree murder, illegal carrying of weapons while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance (marijuana), less than 28 grams, disguising transactions involving drug proceeds, second degree battery, along with misdemeanor charges of two counts of possession of marijuana (14 grams or less), two counts of using or possessing drug paraphernalia, and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles
  • Cedric Dejuan Laurant, Jr., 21, of Covington, two counts of simple burglary of a vehicle, two counts of attempted simple burglary of an auto, two counts of attempted first degree murder, and illegal use of a weapon during drug offense or crime of violence
  • Tarus Murdell McDowell, Jr., 19, of Covington, five counts of illegal use of a weapon during a drug offense or crime of violence, armed robbery, second degree battery, illegal possession of stolen firearms, possession of or dealing in firearms with obliterated number or mark, and second degree battery
  • Johnterrius Devell Mcdowell, 20, of Covington, five counts of assault by driving by shooting, aggravated criminal damage to property, two counts of illegal possession of stolen firearms, second degree battery, along with misdemeanor charges of illegal carrying of weapons and resisting an officer by flight
  • Jalen Ladarrion Dillworth, 20, of Covington
  • Jaydon Terry Carter, 19, of Covington, second degree battery, five counts of assault by driving by shooting, aggravated criminal damage to property, illegal use of a weapon during drug offense or crime of violence, and obstruction of justice by tampering with evidence
  • Markell Devon Powell, 27, of Covington, attempted second degree murder, possession with intent to distribute heroin, disguising transactions involving drug proceeds, conspiracy to introduce contraband into municipal or parish jail (less than 28 grams of a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance), as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana (14 grams or less)
  • Mikhail Omar Washington, 27, of Covington, attempted second degree murder, as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana (second offense)
  • Joshua Dwayne Price, 19, of Covington, first degree rape, illegal possession of stolen firearms, conspiracy to possess pornography involving juveniles, possession of pornography involving juveniles, along with misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana (14 grams or less), possession of drug paraphernalia, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, resisting an officer by flight, and possession of marijuana (14 grams or less)
  • Thomas Denzel Celestine, 21, of Covington, first degree rape
  • Cole Anthony Anderson, Jr., 20, of Covington, obstruction of justice by tampering with evidence, second degree battery, along with misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana (14 grams or less), possession of drug paraphernalia, and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles
  • Christian Manuel Montana, 22, of Covington, conspiracy to distribute pornography involving juveniles and distribution of pornography involving juveniles
  • Rico Alonzo Bedford, 26, of Covington, possession of firearm or carrying concealed weapon by a convicted felon, attempted possession of firearm or carrying concealed weapon by a convicted felon, as well as a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia
  • Bennie Selvage, Jr., 36, of Covington, conspiracy to introduce contraband into municipal or parish jail (less than 28 grams of a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance)
  • Mitreon Brumfield, 25, of Covington
  • Ava Bleu Williamson, 20, of Covington, illegal carrying of weapons while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance (marijuana), less than 28 grams, disguising transactions involving drug proceeds, as well as a misdemeanor charge of using or possessing drug paraphernalia
  • Roniesha Adriane Cooper, 29, of Covington, conspiracy to introduce contraband into municipal or parish jail (less than 28 grams of a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance)
  • Colleen Gabriela Calderon, 37, of Folsom, conspiracy to introduce contraband into municipal or parish jail (less than 28 grams of a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance) and contraband in municipal or parish prison