Six members or associates of the street gang 135 Pirus have been arrested on federal charges ranging from conspiracy to obstruct justice to murder in aid of racketeering. These arrests are related to the murder of 17-year-old Qualeef Rhodes of East Point in Bartow County on June 4th 2017. A federal grand jury returned the nine-count indictment on March 21st, which was unsealed earlier today.
In the early morning hours of May 13th, 2017, an argument occurred outside a Brookhaven nightclub. When a high-ranking 135 Pirus gang member was supposedly disrespected, Maurice Antonio Kent allegedly fired multiple rounds into a crowd of people outside the club, wounding a gang member from another gang and a security guard. Kent was arrested by the Brookhaven Police Department at the scene. Soon thereafter, 135 Pirus gang members came to believe that Rhodes, a fellow 135 Pirus gang member, was talking to the police about the shooting.
On June 3rd, Christopher Nwanjoku, Jamel Dupree Hughes, Jennifer Foutz, and Cedric Sams Junior allegedly devised a plan to lure Rhodes to Bartow County and then murder him. Rhodes’ body was later discovered lying on the side of Bells Ferry Road.
The federal charges result from 135 Pirus gang-related crimes including the aforementioned incidents.
27-year-old Maurice Antonio Kent, a.k.a. “Savage Duze, is a leader of the 135 Pirus group based in Cartersville. He is charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, all related to the nightclub shooting.
25-year-old Christopher Nwanjoku of Lawrenceville, 24-year-old Jamel Dupree Hughes of Atlanta, 25-year-old Cedric Sams Junior of Cartersville, and 25-year-old Jennifer Foutz are charged with murder in aid of racketeering and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death, for their role in Rhodes’ murder.
27-year-old Michael Kent of Atlanta, who is Maurice Kent’s twin brother, is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice.
For more information on this story, including the 135 Pirus gang, visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/135-pirus-gang-members-indicted-murder-aid-racketeering-and-other-charges.