Atlanta hip-hop artist Young Thug was arrested Monday for engaging in gang activity and violating Georgia’s criminal racketeering law.
The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was indicted in a sweeping indictment before a 56-count grand jury that identified him and 27 others as members of the criminal street gang Young Slime Life, or YSL, according to Atlanta news outlet WSB TV Channel 2. Some defendants have been charged with violent crimes such as murder and attempted armed robbery, as well as participating in criminal gang activities of street.
Fulton County jail records show Williams was charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act for an offense dating back to January 2013. In addition, he is charged with participating in criminal activities of street gangs for an offense dating from May 2018.
The 88-page indictment alleges that Williams is one of the founders of Young Slime Life, which claims affiliation with the national Bloods gang. According to WSB TV, he accuses Williams of leasing a 2014 Infiniti Q50 sedan that was used in the 2015 murder of Donovan Thomas Jr., a member of a rival gang.
The indictment also charges Sergio Giavanni Kitchens, 28, a chart-topping Atlanta rapper who goes by Gunna.
Williams, Kitchens and more than two dozen others listed in the indictment are charged with conspiring to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, closely modeled on the federal law of 1970 which was used to convict major mobsters and gangsters who engaged in organized crime and frequently. escaped condemnation.
Young Thug are one of the most influential bands to emerge from Atlanta’s bustling hip-hop scene in the 2010s. Known for their melodic, mournful flow and gender-uneven fashion aesthetic, they dominated the Billboard 200 album chart three times, most recently with October’s “Punk” LP, which guest-starred Drake, Doja Cat and the late Mac Miller.
Gunna’s most recent album, “DS4Ever,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, her second time topping that list. His single “Pushin P,” featuring Young Thug and Future, peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 and helped him earn a “Saturday Night Live” performance slot in April.
Representatives for Young Thug and Gunna could not be reached for comment.
Williams’ arrest is being pursued by Fulton County Dist. Atti. Fani Willis, a Democrat who was elected in 2020 and quickly found herself at the center of the firestorm over whether former President Trump and his associates had committed voter fraud in Georgia.
For the past year, Willis has presided over an extensive investigation into whether Trump and others may have violated the state’s RICO law as they allegedly tried to overturn the 2020 election results. A jury found was selected earlier this month to hear evidence.
Willis also made tackling crime in Atlanta, a problem she blamed on street gangs, a key mission in her tenure. Last November, she told a Georgia House committee that Atlanta had the fastest rising crime rate during the pandemic of any major US city. Murders in Fulton County, she said, are up 48% since 2020.
“It’s not just the violence,” Willis told 11 Alive news, a local NBC affiliate, in February. “It’s everything from car break-ins and burglaries to human trafficking and shootings. Thus, the entire spectrum of crime is affected by gang violence.