Federal law enforcers are serious about sending people who illegally possess guns or deal drugs to prison for a long, long time.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian and officials from federal and state law enforcement agencies on Friday announced the indictments of 25 Chattanooga residents and four Marion County residents on federal charges.
Chattanooga police picked up another 20 to 30 people on state charges.
"They all face harsh penalties," Killian said at a news conference. "Some face a life sentence in federal prison."
Those charged federally included 16 verified gang member or affiliates, authorities said. They included Joshua "J-Money" Ausberry of the Eastdale Bloods, Mario "Scrappy-Loc" Common of the 52 Hoover Crips, Gregory "Ink" Lewis of the Aryan Nation and Rodriquez "MacRod" McGlockston of the Gangster Disciples.
Adam Vogelmeier, victim of a botched robbery in August at 1332 Florida St., faces weapons charges. Chattanooga police shot one of the robbery suspects to death during a stand-off.
The largest number of defendants — 17 — were indicted for firearm or ammunition violations, followed by nine for crack cocaine, three for meth, three for domestic assault and three for marijuana. Some had both drug and weapons charges.
The Chattanooga Police Department, Marion County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service coordinated the investigations. Officials with those agencies stood by at the news conference.
Many of those charged already have been arraigned in federal court and have trials set for early December.
Authorities still are looking to take the following people into custody: Alfred "Frado" Ford, Quinlin "Chicago" Newby, Cortney Nelson, Brandon "Lil B" Morris and Pamela Walters.
The news of the indictments comes within a month of the release of a comprehensive assessment of gangs in Chattanooga and after a recent rash of shootings that left two people dead.
Federal prosecutors also are trying to steer people on probation away from committing new crimes.
As part of their probation, offenders must attend monthly meetings and hear prosecutors and representatives of the city's gang task force talk about intervention efforts.
"We are just as serious about the outreach as we are about the suppression," gang task force coordinator Boyd Patterson said.
The prosecutors name some of the people they've already put in prison to warn probationers that if they continue to break the law, they could face federal charges.
"Every time, someone has known a name we have mentioned," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Poole. "A lot of times they are stunned or shocked about the amount of time [to which they were sentenced]."