Former NFL player Eric Duane Johnson was arrested as one of eight people allegedly involved in human trafficking. Accused of trafficking four women and one girl, authorities say the defendants made up a group known as the LOTTO Gang or Last One To Take Over faces many charges in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County.
The charges range from aggravated assault and kidnapping, violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, trafficking persons for sexual servitude, and the most severe charge: RICO or conspiracy to violate the racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act. A grand jury indicted all eight persons on Feb. 8, and the Human Trafficking and Gang Prosecution units of the Georgia Office of the Attorney General will jointly prosecute the case.
Each could face the ultimate penalty of life in prison if convicted.
Predicate And Overt
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced that between October 2021 and July 2022, 41 “predicate and overt acts” were committed. Women were reportedly kept against their will and forced into prostitution through violence. Law enforcement officials say they discovered the eight gang members after a month-long investigation of human trafficking, which investigators say sustained the members and helped them purchase weapons and more.
“Throughout our state, gangs are actively engaged in human trafficking as a primary means to make money, and we are using all available resources to fight back and protect our most vulnerable,” Carr said in a statement.
“By combining the strengths of our Human Trafficking and Gang Prosecution Units, we are working to ensure that those who lead, promote and encourage this unlawful activity are vigorously pursued and held accountable for their actions,” the statement continued. “This indictment is just the latest outcome in our ongoing efforts to keep our children and our families safe as we seek to root out violent crime wherever it occurs.”
Hybrid Street Gang
Also known as the 30% gang, the organization is a hybrid of well-known national street gangs, the Crips and Gangster Disciples. Eric Duane Johnson, Sean Aaron Curry, and Sean Patrick Harvey are believed to be the gang’s leaders. Johnson, known as “EJ” within the gang, is a former NFL player that played for Nebraska before entering the NFL. He played three seasons with the then-Oakland Raiders and spent the 2004 season with the Atlanta Falcons.
During Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, he returned a blocked Tim Johnson punt for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Johnson played a single season with the Arizona Cardinals and finished his football career playing for the Arena Football League’s Georgia Force for two seasons ending in 2008.
Thirty-three states have their own RICO statutes, and Georgia is one of them.
The other arrested were Jadah Marie Henry, 20, Tyreek Raysheen Lee, aka “Reek,” 26, of Monroe County, and Bobby Jamaine Downing, aka “Kahlil,” 41, of DeKalb County. Hilton Lance Dobbins, aka “Sporty,” 33, of Fulton County, and Jayda Veronica Wilson, aka “Thump,” 25, of Gwinnett County. Many were charged with multiple crimes, but all were charged with RICO.