Acting Cobb District Attorney John Melvin (left) and Cobb County Police Chief Michael Register confer before announcing an indictment charging 11 alleged members of the criminal street gang known as “1831” with crimes, including racketeering, gang act violations, armed robbery, aggravated assault, battery, and narcotics and firearm charges. Most of those charged were taken into custody Friday at various locations in Cobb, Paulding, Fulton, Fayette and Baldwin Counties, including Milledgeville. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Cobb indictment charges 11 in Bloods-related gang

The Cobb County District Attorney has released a 74-count indictment against 11 members of an offshoot of the infamous Bloods street gang.

Eleven members of the 1831 Piru sect were indicted Friday in a move prosecutors hailed as another blow to rising gang influence in Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp made curtailing gang-related crimes a key issue for his campaign, and President Trump has cited the peril of gangs, particularly the MS13 group from El Salvador, as one reason for the need for tighter immigration control.

Charges in the indictment range from racketeering, violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism Act, armed robbery, aggravated assault, battery and drug and firearm offenses.

Acting District Attorney John Melvin said most of the suspects were taken into custody Friday morning when search warrants were executed in Cobb, Paulding, Fulton, Fayette and Baldwin counties and the city of Milledgeville.

Melvin said the indictment targets Etheridge Mosley, whom he referred to as the gang’s “triple OG,” or original gangster. Melvin alleges Mosley brought the gang, named after the date Nat Turner was hanged after leading a slave rebellion in Virginia, from California to Milledgeville. He expanded his base to Atlanta, and moved into Cobb County while maintaining contact with members of the original gang in California, the acting district attorney said.

Other alleged gang members indicted are Alejandro Jose Alcala, Alexander Lee Blanton, Juan Manuel Contreras, Malique Jose David, Manuel Salvador Gomez, Raul Medina, David Deon Smith, Michael Anthony Soto, Raynal Williams and Orlando Zapata. Nine of the 11 men have been taken into custody, and two remain at large.

The indictment says 1831’s actions date back to December 2012 and while gang members have been identified in all parts of Cobb County, they are more prevalent in southeast and southwest Cobb.

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Melvin, who succeeded Vic Reynolds as district attorney, said Friday’s indictment showcases Cobb’s commitment to wiping out gang activity in the county, and goes hand-in-hand with Gov. Brian Kemp and his former boss’s pledge to address gang activity across Georgia.

The acting district attorney also said that if convicted, those indicted will spend hundreds of years in jail.

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“While that’s true, this indictment ultimately is directed to take down as much of the Blood Piru sect as we could so we could send an undeniable message that you’re not welcome in Cobb County and you’re not welcome in the state of Georgia,” Melvin said, adding the gang members often boasted on social media that the county gives out RICO (racketeering) charges like “speeding tickets.”

Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register added the gang arrests could not have been possible with out the partnership between state, local and federal entities.

“These gangs have tentacles all across Georgia, all across the United States and in some cases, globally,” he said.

READCobb DA: 16 indicted on gang, racketeering charges

Melvin went on to say the indictment is a “huge” development for Cobb. In 2016, 46 defendants were indicted in a case and they all entered guilty pleas. In that same year, the District Attorney’s Office released another indictment charging 22 defendants with crimes and they also pleaded guilty. Following those two indictments, Melvin said the county saw a 50 percent reduction in gang-related activity.

“These indictments and this aggressive approach … has real-world effects,” he said. “[With] this indictment, we hope this contributes in being able to cut down on criminality in Cobb County.”

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