A local Gangster Disciple was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Wednesday for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise, U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant announced.
Robert Elliott Jones, who also goes by “Lil Rob” and “Mac Rob,” pleaded guilty in July, admitting he was the governor of Section 4, which includes Tipton County.
He declared Tipton County “GD Land” and supervised criminal activities of the members and associates of the Gangster Disciples, issued orders to kill rival gang members and subordinate gang members whom he believed had violated the gang’s rules of conduct and presided over meetings where criminal activity was discussed, proceeds were collected and beatings of fellow gang members were administered.
Further, Jones issued an order to kill a fellow member of the Gangster Disciples he believed had cooperated with law enforcement and, when the regional enforcer for the state of Tennessee was “looking for all money stealers,” Jones sent a photo of the treasurer from Section 4 because he stole $2,300.
“Despite Lil Rob’s declaration, Covington is not and will not be ‘GD Land,'” said Dunavant. “We are fighting to reclaim our cities, towns and neighborhoods from the gangs, and are effectively dismantling their leadership and influence. Lil Rob will now serve big time for his violence and racketeering that has terrorized Tipton County, and the citizens are safer for it.”
He was indicted in May 2016 during “Operation .38 Special,” through which 16 Memphis-area men and 32 Atlanta-area members of the Gangster Disciples were charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The indictments suggested the men trafficked drugs and weapons, committed several types of financial fraud, extortion, murder, kidnapping assault, intimidation of witnesses and victims and distributed narcotics in an attempt to further the gang’s enterprise.
Who are the Gangster Disciples?
The Gangster Disciples are a criminal street gang formed in Chicago in the late 1960s. Their allies are the Crips and Folk Nation. Their rivals include the Bloods and People Nation; in Tipton County these are Vice Lords.
Members often designate themselves as part of the gang by wearing blue and black clothing. They commonly use the six-pointed star and pitchforks as symbols. (The Vice Lords use red and black as their colors and five-pointed stars as their symbols.)
The Gangster Disciples have a clear organizational structure which reportedly includes a chairman, board members, governor of governors, governor, chief enforcer and count.
This is just one of the more than three dozen gangs found all over Tipton County. An estimated 2,000 people have been identified by police as members of gangs.
Law enforcement began publicly discussing the need to control gang activity as far back as November 1994.
Jones’s criminal history
Robert Jones has been arrested many times in both Tipton and Shelby counties over the past two decades.
His criminal history dates back to June 1998, when he was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in Tipton County.
Jones, who turned 40 on Dec. 3 and was a former resident of Tatlock Circle in Covington, spent more than a year in the Tipton County jail for armed robbery, theft over $1,000, tampering with evidence and false imprisonment after a July 2001 arrest.
An affidavit for a May 2008 arrest in Memphis shows he spent six years in prison for that conviction. That day he was arrested by Memphis Police for unlawfully possessing a firearm. He’d driven erratically in front of two detectives who pulled him over for not wearing a seatbelt. They found a pistol in the vehicle.
State and federal laws prohibit him from legally carrying a firearm after his felony conviction for armed robbery.
Jones told the detectives he was also under indictment in Shelby County for eight charges of aggravated robbery and one charge of threatening to assault someone.
In November 2008, in Tipton County, he was arrested for driving on a suspended license and possession of marijuana with the intent to sell.
In April 2009, he and four others were arrested in Tipton County for inciting a riot on Wilkinsville Road. According to the affidavit of complaint, when deputies arrived, they found 10-12 men in the middle of the road trying to assault a member of the the Vice Lords. He was also charged with disorderly conduct and being a convicted felon with a firearm.
Two months later, in June, he was charged with aggravated assault without injury and vandalism. In July 2009 came another weapons charge and in August he was arrested for having marijuana and driving on a suspended license.
In September 2009 he spent two weeks in jail after an arrest for reckless endangerment and a third weapons violation.
On Nov. 26, 2009 he was charged with driving on a suspended license, speeding and not having car insurance. A week later he was charged again with driving on a suspended license.
He spent 10 weekends in jail for a marijuana possession conviction during the winter and spring of 2010, then 44 days in September after being convicted on the weapons and reckless endangerment charges.
Jones was last booked in Tipton County on Oct. 26, 2010. He spent 47 days in jail after being convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
From March 2012 to January 2016, he received five traffic tickets in Shelby County for illegal window tint. He’s also had several tickets for driving without insurance, not wearing a seatbelt, not restraining a child properly and passing a stopped school bus.
In January 2016, he was ticketed for not having his vehicle registered and making an unsafe turn. In April 2016 he was charged with not having his vehicle registered.
He was indicted in “Operation .38 Special” three months later, but also charged by Shelby County for failing to pay county fines in August 2016. He still has an open case from September 2016 for the same charge.
Jones will serve his 120-month sentence day-for-day as there’s no parole in the federal system. Upon release, he will have three years supervised probation.