All 43 defendants linked to white supremacist gang convicted in ‘Operation Vanilla Gorilla’

Crime & Safety

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Officials say all defendants have now been convicted of drug and firearms crimes in what the U.S. Attorney’s Office calls “the largest-ever takedown” of a known white supremacist gang, Ghostface Gangsters.

Last year, indictments for dozens of Ghostface Gangsters were first handed down in Savannah as a part of the investigation dubbed Operation Vanilla Gorilla. Now after eight months, officials say a total of 43 defendants have been held accountable for their crimes.

According to U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine, with the Southern District of Georgia, Kenneth “Juno” Jenks, 40, of Savannah, is the final defendant to enter a guilty plea in the operation. On Wednesday, he pled guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine and will be sentenced later on.

Tuesday, 22-year-old Nick “Picnic” Penfield was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison, plus five years of supervised release. Christine added that there is no parole in the federal system.

Penfield pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or more of Methamphetamine. His brother and father have also been sentenced in the operation.

Devon Aines, known as Devon Johnson, a 33-year-old from Savannah, was also sentenced Tuesday to 171 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He and his brother, Trevor Aines, were convicted of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. Trevor Aines has yet to be sentenced.

“Operation Vanilla Gorilla is a stellar example of federal, state and local law enforcement professionals and prosecutors working together to target and dismantle a violent, drug-trafficking criminal street gang,” Christine stated. “The swift convictions and significant sentences of every defendant indicted in this operation demonstrates the value of cooperation between and amongst the agencies involved. It takes a network to dismantle a network.”

A number of agencies were involved in Operation Vanilla Gorilla:

  • Atlanta Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives
  • Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Chatham County Narcotics Team
  • Georgia Department of Corrections Intelligence Division
  • Savannah Police Department
  • Chatham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bryan County Sheriff’s Office
  • Richmond Hill Police Department
  • Pooler Police Department
  • Effingham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bloomingdale Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly Jr. and Frank Pennington.

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