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Ellabell man first to be sentenced in Operation Vanilla Gorilla

An Ellabell man and former member of the Ghost Face Gangsters has become the first defendant to be sentenced as part of Operation Vanilla Gorilla, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s office in Augusta.

Here’s what the release said:

Daniel Fleming, also known as “Baby Boy,” 32, was sentenced by United States District Judge R. Stan Baker to 96 months in prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. In addition, Fleming will serve three years on supervised release after completion of his sentence.

There is no parole in the federal system. 

A federal grand jury in November 2018 indicted Fleming and 42 other defendants as part of Operation Vanilla Gorilla, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation into a drug trafficking organization associated with the Ghost Face Gangsters, a violent, white supremacist street gang that originated in Georgia’s prisons.

Of the 43 defendants, all but two have pled guilty to federal charges. Fleming was the first to be sentenced in this multi-district case. 

According to information presented in court filings and in court, on April 16, 2018, in Bryan County, Fleming threatened his girlfriend with a firearm. She told him that she wanted him to move out of her home in Ellabell and Fleming fired a round from a .38 caliber revolver into her vehicle while she was driving.

He then threatened to kill the victim’s grandchildren if she reported the incident to police, and threatened to kill officers who responded to the scene.  

As a convicted felon, Fleming was prohibited from possessing a firearm. He has a violent criminal history that spans more than a decade, including armed robbery of a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver, assaults on previous girlfriends and his own mother, and abuse of a dog that he left chained to a fence, gasping for air. 

Fleming admitted being a Ghost Face Gangster, but claims to have quit the gang. The court ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to ensure that Fleming be housed apart from other Ghost Face Gangsters while he serves his federal sentence.

“Operation Vanilla Gorilla was an aggressive, multi-agency takedown of violent criminal street gangs, and Fleming’s tough sentence demonstrates that the prosecution of these defendants will remove them from our communities,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “More importantly, this operation sends an unmistakable signal to other criminals who would prey on our communities: We will find you; we will arrest you; and we will shut you down.”

 “This is another example of how ATF and our law enforcement partners work together to remove violent criminals from our streets in an effort to make our communities a safer place to work and live,” said Lenwood S. Reeves, resident agent in charge of the Savannah Field Office of the ATF.

“As we continue to work in partnership with the federal authorities, we are highly pleased with the outstanding efforts and results of the task force in the Daniel Fleming case, and the continued efforts of the prosecuting attorneys in Operation Vanilla Gorilla,” said Mitch Shores, chief of the Richmond Hill Police Department. 

Operation Vanilla Gorilla was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), the centerpiece of the United States Attorney General’s drug strategy to reduce the availability of drugs by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises. The case was investigated by the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Chatham County Narcotics Team (CNT), the Georgia Department of Corrections Intelligence Division, the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Bloomingdale Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly, Jr. and Frank Pennington.



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