A year-long investigation into a gang conflict in Gwinnett County led to an expansive indictment that named 26 suspects and resulted in the arrests of all but one, authorities announced Monday.
Khari Kelley, 22, of Decatur, is the lone suspect who remains at large and is wanted on a felony warrant, Gwinnett police spokeswoman Officer Hideshi Valle said in a news release. Kelley’s whereabouts are unknown, Valle said, and police are asking for help locating him.
The 25 other defendants are suspected members of two separate gangs that investigators believe were working together, the 56 Gang and the Drug Rixh gang, Valle said. Their cooperation was discovered after an initial investigation into the 56 Gang, which police said was involved in a series of violent confrontations with the Blixtz gang in the summer of 2021.
Gwinnett police realized there was a conflict when they were called to multiple shootings along Boggs Road within the same month. On Aug. 29, 2021, 18-year-old Jeremiah Pretto was shot and killed, Valle said. Investigators connected his killing to the 56 Gang and linked the gang to a series of violent crimes, which included multiple armed robberies, aggravated assaults, carjackings and more, Valle said.
In December 2021, the scope of the investigation widened into a racketeering case and detectives found that 56 Gang was working with Drug Rixh, according to Valle. Multiple alleged members of both gangs were charged in cases that were rolled into January’s indictment.
Gwinnett police specifically noted the arrests of suspected leaders for both gangs. Ladavion Smith, 22, and Cameron Hamilton, 18, are allegedly the two leaders of 56 Gang, Valle said. Dalemonte Neshawn Stilley, 24, and Zaion Sharif Martinez, 27, are believed to be high-ranking members of Drug Rixh, according to police.
The indictment named 21 other defendants and included 210 separate counts, Valle said. In addition to charges of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, other counts include murder, armed robbery, carjacking, aggravated assault, terroristic threats and various gun charges.
Charges stemmed from crimes committed across the wider metro Atlanta area and as far away as Carroll County, Valle said. Gwinnett police and the district attorney’s office partnered with the Gwinnett sheriff’s office, U.S. Marshals Service, DeKalb County police and the FBI to make the arrests.
Anyone with information about Kelley’s whereabouts is asked to contact detectives at 770-513-5300. To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.stopcrimeATL.com.
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC