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16 suspected members of Columbia gang federally indicted

Thursday, January 29, 2009 | 10:54 p.m. CST; updated 4:26 p.m. CST, Friday, January 30, 2009
Interim Columbia Police Chief Tom Dresner announces the arrest of 16 suspected members of the Cut Throat gang at a news conference on Thursday at the Columbia Police Department. Dan Nelson, executive assistant U.S. attorney, right, and Dan Jones, FBI agent-in-charge, back right, led their respective departments in working with Columbia police to make the arrests.

COLUMBIA — With Thursday's announcement of federal indictments against 16 people on drug and gun charges — 14 of them from Columbia — the Columbia Police Department officially acknowledged the presence of gang activity in Columbia for at least the past year and a half.

"The days of saying there are no gangs in Columbia are over," Interim Police Chief Tom Dresner said. He added that the Police Department is now doing away with "semantic dancing" around the question of gangs.

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The 16 alleged gang members were indicted by a federal grand jury for two different drug-trafficking conspiracies that involved three drive-by shootings and other various gun-related violations, said Dresner and Dan Nelson, executive assistant U.S. attorney.

The indictments were the culmination of an 18-month investigation by the Columbia police, the FBI, the Boone County Prosecutor's Office, the Boone County Sheriff's Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab and the Missouri Department of Corrections.

All of those indicted are accused members of the Cut Throat gang in Columbia. Nine were arrested Thursday; the other seven were already in custody for various state charges, according to Nelson. All were being held without bond, described by authorities as dangerous and flight risks. Fourteen of those accused are from Columbia and range in age from 19 to 42.

Columbia residents Eric Coats, 21, Koda Coats, 22, and their mother, Donna Coats, 39; Dametrell Washington, 27; William Boyd, 21; Demarco Burnett, 24; Tarron Cason, 25; Cheviss Denny, 20; Dajuan Harris, 25; Brandon Isom, 19; Ryan Kee, 22; William Rogers, 42; Diondre Cooper, 19; and Robert Simmons, 36; along with Fayette resident Michael Stapleton, 22; and Kansas City resident Robert Jones, 19, were named in the 34-count indictment.

Each faces 10 years in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, the first count of the indictment.

From 2003 to 2007, Koda Coats was arrested in Missouri 15 times, according to previous Missourian reports.

The indictment also links Eric and Koda Coats, Boyd, Denny, Harris, Cooper, Simmons and Jones to three drive-by shootings:

  • the first near a Break Time gas station at 1000 Smiley Lane in Columbia on June 2, 2007;
  • the second near a BP gas station at 800 Stadium Drive in Jefferson City, on Jan. 1, 2008; and
  • the third near a Petro-Mart gas station at 3300 Falling Leaf Lane in Columbia on May 31.

In each incident, at least one person was injured.

Thursday’s announcement was a departure from the Police Department’s traditional disavowal of gang activity in the city, especially under the leadership of former Police Chief Randy Boehm, who was loath to describe violent crime as gang-related.

"Technically, some of those groups could be considered gangs," Boehm said in a November 2007 interview with the Missourian, referring to groups of young men the Police Department partly blamed for the increase in violent crime from 2006 to 2007. "We do have groups of really loosely organized individuals that commit crimes together."

Dresner called the indictment "significant" but clarified that it did not mean an end to gang activity in Columbia. "It's like ... the Hydra; you cut off one head and another appears," he said.

But Dresner said he hopes the indictments will deter future gang activity.

Dresner said the Cut Throat gang was in competition for territory with other “individuals.” Neither Dresner nor Nelson would say the competitors were from rival gangs.

But Nelson did acknowledge their existence, saying: "There are other gangs under law enforcement's scrutiny at this moment."


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Comments

joseph johnson February 27, 2009 | 12:49 p.m.

Criminals and the Columbia Police Department
By Johnsonjoseph

Posted February 27, 2009 at 12:44 a.m.

What about our uniformed officers that are supposed to protect and serve? This article is in regards to the Columbia Police Department and Detective Joe Jackson. Our community has received a tip from one of Detective Joe Jackson's own men. Wow!! we don't know what to think about this. Looks like Detective Jackson and his crew have been working on, and doing top secret surveillance on a few people in regards to defrauding the Social Services Welfare program (FoodStamp Program). This operation has been going on for about a year or so. I'm sure for the criminal's out there they sure do appreciate that detective giving them the heads up. I guess that's what friends are for. It's allways good to have connections on the inside. There is an article listed on MYSPACE about this situation. I am going to quote some key factors. It seems as if Joe Jackson is not liked in this town. Looks like he hasn't been able to get these gun charges to stick on some of these so-called gang members. Cases are being dismissed due to lack of evidence. What's wrong with that picture? The article on MY SPACE refers to detective Jackson and his crew "THE GOONE SQUAD". WOW, what a name for the CPD Detectives. Looks like these young kids don't trust the police enough to tell them what they want to know. Well I guess I don't blame them if you got one on the inside tipping the criminals off. These cops lie just as much and even more than the people on the street. The MYSPACE ARTICLE also says that "The Detective Goon's will be posted up (sitting) at every grocery store in Columbia, Walmart Super Center in particular. They will be waiting for people to go inside and use other's EBT cards. Once you do you will be arrested. Those that have been under surveillance will be arrested anyway. MYSPACE also has photographs showing these unmarked undercover vehicles that we would probable never have noticed if it weren't for these photo's (the photo's aren't very good, though). This sting is due to go down sometime next week!! This operation could prove to be very dangerous to innocent by standers. One of these criminals could react in a very violent way. Here are some of the license plate #'s posted: Blue Chev Truck (BWE-442), Burgundy Ford Explorer (WB6-W3B), Blue Durango (5CS-67G), Tan Chev Truck w/extended cap (SUE-910), Orange color car similar to a scion with tinted windows, white truck (644-PYI), Chev Truck (2YF-295), Black Truck (2AB-329) extended cab, Tan Truck (9UE-310), Green Chevrolet Silverado (343-R24). Wow, this seems to be a really poor job of surveillance. But, I pretty much expect this from Columbia's Finest!! All of you good people in Columbia be careful and all of the criminals do thank one of the Crew of Detective Joe Jackson!!!

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