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Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Release
North Florida Gang Member Gets 15 Years for Criminal Racketeering
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that a member of a violent “hybrid” gang in Gadsden County has pleaded guilty to criminal charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Gabriel James was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his involvement in the Gadsden County gang.
James, 26, is one of seven men who were arrested earlier this year during a coordinated operation by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Attorney’s Office for the Second Judicial Circuit. All seven were prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
In October, an Orange County jury returned guilty verdicts against two of James’s codefendants, Terrance Shorter, 28, for racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, 400 grams or more; and Daltonica Shorter, 33, for racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Terrance Shorter was sentenced to 45 years in prison and Daltonica Shorter was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Codefendant Aaron Thomas, 29, pleaded guilty earlier this month and was sentenced to three years in prison. Charges against Quintarius Shorter, 25; Ladipo Chad Bethea, 33; and Laterrance Parks, 27, are still pending. The case was prosecuted in the Ninth Judicial Circuit because some of the narcotics-related charges were related to criminal activity in Orange County.
The gang had been classified by investigators as a “hybrid gang,” one which operates locally without national ties. Hybrid gang members rarely exhibit the traditional gang signs and colors, but are often just as dangerous if not more destructive than traditional gangs and hold smaller communities hostage under their violent and terrifying influence.
The arrests marked the end of a lengthy investigation into a series of murders in Gadsden County. During the course of the murder investigations, evidence of numerous other crimes, such as home invasion robberies, drug trafficking and various other violent crimes, was developed and led to the indictments. The investigation identified the alleged gang members as individuals connected to widespread criminal activity including several murders, statewide drug trafficking and witnesses tampering. The 18th Statewide Grand Jury issued indictments for the men in February.