Athens-area gang members, drug traffickers and violent felons ensnared in 'Operation Tourniquet'

Updated: Nov 20, 2021


U.S. Attorney Peter Leary announces the results of Operation Tourniquet. He is flanked from left-right by Andy Smith, FBI supervirory senior resident agent for the Northern District of Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force; ACC Sheriff John Q. Williams; ACCPD Chief Cleveland Spruill

By Joe Johnson

A federal indictment was unsealed Friday that charged 13 people, including "high-level" Athens gang members in connection with an ongoing FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force investigation into an organization of alleged drug traffickers and violent offenders in Athens-Clarke County with ties to metro Atlanta.

The indicted Athens gang members belonged to 1831 Piru, said Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill during a Friday afternoon press conference at ACCPD's east precinct.

Members of the gang have previously been arrested for aggravated assaults with guns and murder.

Contraband seized during the investigation included 60 guns, $1.036 million cash, a machine gun, a land mine, and drugs with a street value of $817,710.

Those charged in the indictment are:


• Reginald Battle, Sr., 46, of Statham, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine


Reginald Battle Sr.

• Quintavious Clark aka Tre Clark, 28, of Athens, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and four counts of distribution of cocaine base and cocaine

Quintavious Clark

• TaMichael Darden aka T-Mike, 40, of Athens, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, three counts of distribution of cocaine base and one count of distribution of cocaine.

TaMichael Darden

• Mohamed Elnour, 33, of Atlanta, one count each of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Mohamed Elnour

• Daquan Faust aka Cocaine, 29, of Athens, one count each of illegal possession of a machine gun and possession of a stolen firearm

Daquan Faust

• Marqueze Johnson, 25, of Athens, one count of distribution of cocaine base.

Marqueze Johnson

• Tevondous Kinney, 29, of Athens, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug

trafficking crime, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and two counts of distribution of cocaine base.

Tevondous Kinney

• Corey Mitchell aka Murda, 37, of Athens, one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine

Corey Mitchell

• Hendrex Nicely aka Hen, 32, of Athens, two counts of distribution of heroin.

Hendrex Nicely

• Danny Sims aka Danny Boy, 57, of Hull, one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.

Danny Sims

• Miller Sutton, 64, of Winder, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Miller Sutton

• Darren Thrasher, 45, of Athens, three counts of distribution of cocaine base.

Darren Thrasher

• Gregory Wade, Sr., 53, of Athens, one count of distribution of crack cocaine and cocaine.


Initial appearances for the defendants occurred Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles H. Weigle. Their detention hearings were continued until Monday in Macon federal court.

Four firearms, 6.9 pounds of marijuana, three ounces of cocaine, 2.3 ounces of heroin and $6,491 were seized during Thursday’s operation in Athens, bringing the total amount of items seized during the course of the investigation in Athens and metro Atlanta to the following (with estimated street values of illegal drugs listed):

• 60 firearms

• $1,036,172 cash

• a land mine

•13.22 kilograms of powder cocaine ($412,000)

• 1.32 kilograms of fentanyl ($150,000)

•12.57 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine ($84,000)

• 1.39 kilos of crack cocaine ($71,750)

• 25.35 lbs. of marijuana ($62,500)

• 11.25 ounces of heroin ($28,125)

•198 doses of controlled pharmaceuticals ($2,970)

• 113 THC cartridges ($2,260)

• 81 packets of THC edibles ($405)

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The Operation Touriquet case is being investigated by the FBI’s Athens Middle Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force, comprised of members from the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Gang Unit, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia Department of Corrections in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force, the ACCPD Gang Unit, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia. Also assisting with the investgation sare the Georgia State Patrol; the Georgia Department of Revenue; the Atlanta, Brookhaven, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Henry County, and South Fulton police departments., and the Barrow County, Forsyth County, Oglethorpe County. and Rockdale County sheriff's Offices.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Morrison is prosecuting the case.

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