Gang Leaders Receive Life Sentences for Racketeering Conspiracy and Murder
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Five leaders of the Gangster Disciples, a gang with a long history of lawlessness and violence, were sentenced in the Southern District of Illinois for their participation in a years-long interstate racketeering conspiracy involving drug trafficking, witness tampering, and multiple murders.
The following are the defendants and their sentences:
- Frank Smith, aka Little Frank, aka Red Beard, 50, of Naperville, Illinois, was sentenced today to life in prison.
- Warren Griffin, aka GG, aka Big Head, 54, of Glenwood, Illinois, was sentenced on July 18 to life in prison.
- Sean Clemon, aka Pops, 53, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was sentenced on July 19 to life in prison.
- Dominique Maxwell, aka D-Mac, aka Monster, 31, also of Cape Girardeau, was sentenced on July 20 to life in prison.
- Anthony Dobbins, aka Crazy, aka Tony Rome, 55, of East St. Louis, Illinois, was sentenced on July 21 to 32 years in prison.
Smith, Griffin, Clemon, and Maxwell were convicted of racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms offenses after a six-week jury trial. Dobbins pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and related firearms offenses.
“With life sentences imposed on four defendants and a 32-year sentence for a fifth defendant, law enforcement has delivered a devastating blow to the Gangster Disciples criminal enterprise,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Dismantling violent, criminal organizations is a priority for the Justice Department, and a goal we share with our law enforcement and prosecution partners across the country.”
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to dismantling criminal organizations, holding gang members accountable, and pursuing justice for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe for the Southern District of Illinois. “By prosecuting the leaders of criminal enterprises, the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are working to uphold the rule of law and punish violent offenders who terrorize our communities.”
According to court documents, the five defendants were national and regional leaders of the Gangster Disciples, a criminal organization with a presence throughout the United States, including in federal and state prisons. The gang employs a structured hierarchy, with leadership positions such as national “Board Members” and state “Governors.” As part of their efforts to maintain control of the gang, the defendants murdered two other Gangster Disciple leaders who opposed their regime.
On April 28, 2018, Clemon and Maxwell, on orders from Smith, fatally shot a Gangster Disciples leader and injured two other men in a public park in Bridgeton, Missouri. The shooting was part of a leadership dispute in which Board Members Smith and Griffin sought to remove another Gangster Disciple member from his position as Governor of Missouri. Smith texted “Mike Tyson Punch Out” to Maxwell prior to the shooting, which was an order to commit “extreme violence,” including murder. The gang members fired more than 70 shots during the attack. Both Clemon and Maxwell were promoted to leadership positions within the gang after committing this murder.
Then, on May 18, 2018, Board Members Griffin and Dobbins drove to the south side of Chicago to murder a former powerful Board Member because he opposed their status as leaders in the gang. Griffin lured the victim into the street, and Dobbins came up behind the victim and shot him three times in the back and once in the face.
The defendants’ other acts of violence included a nightclub stabbing in East St. Louis and another shooting in Cape Girardeau. Gangster Disciples members also engaged in various acts of drug trafficking, including a scheme to smuggle the synthetic drug “K2” into Missouri state prisons.
“Drug trafficking organizations like this one employ violence and intimidation to further their criminal enterprise,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael A. Davis, head of the division that leads Drug Enforcement Administration investigations in Missouri, Kansas, and southern Illinois. “Unfortunately, we are well aware that violence is too often an element of drug trafficking. These men are an extreme example of that terrible combination. Our communities are well-served with this group off our streets.”
DEA investigated this case in partnership with the ATF, Federal Bureau of Prisons, FBI, Missouri Department of Corrections, Illinois State Police, Chicago Police Department, Bridgeton Police Department, Cape Girardeau (Missouri) Police Department, Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis, and O’Fallon (Illinois) Police Department investigated the case. BOP employees from the National Gang Unit worked in conjunction with outside law enforcement to provide relevant documentation and testimony in support of the investigation and trial leading to the convictions.