TEMPLE, Texas — Six members and associates of a local gang called “Killas With Aggression” were arrested in Temple this morning, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas.
"Today's indictment and the related complaint reveal a reign of terror perpetrated by a violent enterprise resulting in death and suffering on a frightening scale," United States Attorney Gregg Sofer said.
A federal grand jury indictment, unsealed today, charged the three individuals who were arrested today, along with six other KWA members who were already in custody, with racketeering, Hobbs Act violations and federal drug trafficking charges.
Jason Mayse, Christopher Meyers and Reginald Williams were arrested today without incident, according to the release. Six other indicted defendants were already in custody and include Desmond Wilkerson, Atorius Marquis Williams, Demonta Daniels, Trashawn Lamar Alexander, James Roy Whitfield and Jyraciel Whitfield. According to PAO with the U.S. Attorney's Office Western District of Texas Daryl Fields, the six previously arrested defendants were arrested throughout the last three months of 2019. A seventh indicted defendant, Dominic Johnson, is considered a fugitive.
Defendants Wilkerson, Williams, Whitfield and Meyers are charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, according to the release. The indictment alleges that they conspired with others to commit five murders, “multiple violent assaults,” extortion, drug trafficking and armed robberies “in furtherance of the criminal enterprise.”
Specifically, the indictment alleges five acts to include murder: one committed in November 2015 by Williams in Hearne; the second committed September 2017 by Williams and Daniels in Belton; the third in December 2017 committed by Williams and Alexander in Temple; the fourth January 2018 in Temple by Williams and Daniels; and the fifth in Temple on January 2018 committed by Daniels and Alexander.
The RICO conspiracy charge also alleges defendants committed multiple assaults resulting in serious bodily injury and armed robberies against individuals for not using KWA as their source of supply for narcotics distribution, according to the release.
The indictment charges all of the defendants, except Mayse, with conspiracy to violate the Hobbs Act or affect commerce by robbery. The indictment states that since September 2017, the nine defendants conspired to “affect commerce by robbery, committing acts of physical violence and threatening to coming acts of physical violence to steal controlled substance and proceed from persons engaged in illegal drug distribution.”
Johnson, Wilkerson and Mayse are charged in the indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. According to the indictment, the three KWA gang members are responsible for trafficking more than 100 kilograms of marijuana throughout Central Texas since 2014.
A related federal criminal complaint, also unsealed today, charged Temple residents and KWA affiliates Christopher Kelso, Emanuel Padilla and Darius Hellums with conspiring to violate the Hobbs Act. This complaint alleged the three robbed a Temple home in July 2019, which resulted in an occupant being seriously injured after being shot by one of the defendants. The three defendants reportedly targeted the occupants of the house due to the sale of marijuana and firearms at that location.
The defendants remain in federal custody, according to the release.
"It's my hope that this operation sends a message that this type of activity will not be tolerated in the city of Temple," Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds said.
According to the release, upon conviction of the RICO conspiracy charge, the defendants face up to life in federal prison. For the Hobbs Act conspiracy, the defendants could face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted. In regards to the conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, if convicted defendants could face between five and 40 years. If convicted of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, defendants face not less than seven years in federal prison consecutive to any other prison term. If convicted of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, the defendants face a mandatory ten years in federal prison consecutive to any other prison term.
The case was a part of project Safe Neighborhoods. It brings together all levels of law enforcement and communities they serve to reduce violent crime. Federal, state and local authorities were all part of the investigation.