DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
D. Michael Dunavant
, United States Attorney
Contact: Cherri Green

Black Out Squad Member of the Gangster Disciples Sentenced to 30 Years Imprisonment for Racketeering Conspiracy and Gun Violence

 

Memphis, TN – A Gangster Disciples gang member was sentenced today to 360 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for participating in a racketeering conspiracy and for using, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

U. S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant of the Western District of Tennessee, Special Agent in Charge M.A. Myers of the FBI’s Memphis Division and Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Memphis Field Division, made the announcement.

Tommy Earl Champion, Jr., aka "Duct Tape," 29, of Jackson Tennessee, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. Champion previously pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Dismantlement of criminal gangs is a top priority of the Department of Justice, and this case represents the collaborative efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement to target and remove a significant violent participant in the Gangster Disciples organization. "Duct Tape" is now stuck with a 30- year sentence for his violent crimes. We are taking the fight to the gangs in West Tennessee, and we are relentless in our resolve."

According to the indictment, the Gangster Disciples is a highly organized national gang active in more than 35 states. The scope of the Gangster Disciples’ crimes is wide-ranging and consistent throughout its national operation. The gang protects its power through threats, intimidation and violence, including murder, attempted murder, assault and obstruction of justice. The Gangster Disciples promotes its enterprise through member-

only activities and provides financial and other support to members charged with or incarcerated for gang-related offenses.

According to court documents, Champion was a member of the Gangster Disciples and served on the gang’s "blackout squads" and "security teams." Champion was responsible for carrying out violent acts, including attempted murder, witness and victim intimidation, and assault, at the direction of senior Gangster Disciples leaders. Champion also participated in the other criminal activities of the Gangster Disciples enterprise, including narcotics distribution and weapons possession.

In addition to the racketeering conspiracy count, Champion was sentenced for using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, which, according to the indictment, occurred on June 12, 2014 in Jackson. The indictment states that the crime of violence was attempted murder, and that Champion and other gang members committed the crime for the purpose of gaining entrance to and maintaining and increasing their position in the Gangster Disciple enterprise. There were seven victims of this attempted murder noted in the indictment. Champion had previously pleaded guilty on April 2.

The FBI; ATF; the Memphis Multi-Agency Gang Unit; the Memphis Police Department; the Shelby County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office; the Jackson Police Department Gang Enforcement Team; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Madison County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Department; the 28th District West Tennessee Drug Task Force; the Tipton County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office; the 26th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office; the 25th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office; the Atascosa County, Tennessee District Attorney’s Office and the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office investigated this case. Trial Attorney Francesca Liquori of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Beth Boswell of the Western District of Tennessee and Samuel Stringfellow of the Northern District of Mississippi prosecuted this case.

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Field Division: Nashville Field Division