25 arrested on gang-related charges in Gwinnett County; man still wanted
The death of 18-year-old Jeremiah Pretto on Aug. 29 led investigators to a gang known as “56 Gang.”
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A year-long investigation by authorities in Gwinnett County resulted in a sweeping indictment against dozens of alleged gang members, authorities announced on Monday.
The 210-count Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) indictment names 26 defendants, from, at least, two gangs. The Gwinnett County Police Department (GCPD) Gang Unit started investigating in August 2021 following several shootings on Boggs Rd in Duluth.
“Throughout the course of the investigation, officers learned it was gang-related and there were several gangs retailing against each other,” said Officer Hideshi Valle, public information officer for GCPD.
The death of 18-year-old Jeremiah Pretto on Aug. 29 led investigators to a gang known as “56 Gang.” Authorities were able to link the gang to several violent crimes including multiple armed robberies, carjackings, aggravated assaults, and more.
In December 2021, the case turned into a RICO investigation against the “56 Gang,” and numerous members were charged with even more violent cases. In addition, it was discovered that “56 Gang” was working with “Drug Rixh” gang to commit some of the crimes.
Police said the crimes included the indictment spanned across the metro Atlanta area and were charged in jurisdictions as far as Carroll County. They added that the groups committed crimes against rival gang members and innocent people.
As of Jan. 25, twenty-five of the 26 defendants had been arrested, including two minors and the top leaders of both gangs. Authorities are still looking for 22-year-old Khari Kelley of Decatur.
“It’s senseless and evil,” said Ashley Horn, mother of Jeremiah Pretto.
Horn said her son was killed after trying to help a girl who was being jumped by a group of people. She said nothing will bring back her oldest, but she’s at peace knowing those accused of killing are now behind bars.
“At least I feel like the right people will be punished for what they did,” Horn said. “So, they don’t have the chance to do this to someone else.”
The 210-count indictment includes violations of the RICO Act, violations of the Gang Act, Malice Murder, Felony Murder, multiple counts of Armed Robbery, multiple counts of Hijacking a Motor Vehicle, multiple counts of Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, various firearms offenses, and more.
“Gang criminal activity poses a threat to our community, to our citizens and our schools, and our Gwinnett County police officers, especially our gang unit officers, are working diligently to get them off the streets and get them prosecuted through the DAs office,” said Ofc. Valle.
Several agencies assisted Gwinnett’s Gang Unit, including the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, Gwinnett Sherriff’s Office Fugitive Unit, United States Marshals Service, Dekalb County Police Department Gang Unit, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation. T
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Kelley is asked to contact GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300. To remain anonymous, tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.stopcrimeATL.com.
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