Clarksville gang arrests bring back memories for former U.S. Attorney

(Photo: WKRN)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Thursday’s indictment of the Clarksville chapter of the Mongols Motorcycle Club is not the first time the feds have brought down an organized gang in Tennessee.

In 2009, Former U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough was in charge of prosecuting the Vice Lord Gang in Antioch, who had connections to criminals in Murfreesboro.

It was one of the biggest gang rings to be dismantled in Middle Tennessee.

“We decided the best way to go after that would be to proscute the entire group under conspiracy or rackateering theory, that way you help Murfreesboro clean up some problems that they had, and Davidson County at the same time.”

That 64-count federal indictment led to the arrest of nine people and charged with crimes of murder, attempted muder, kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to distribute drugs,” Yarbrough said.

“I think it’s always probably getting worse,” Yarbrough said. “Gangs have always been a problem in Tennessee perhaps more than we realize becuase they were not high profile.”

MORE: 54-count indictment handed down to 15 gang members, associates in Clarksville

Yarbrough said the federal indictment of the local Monguls Motorcycle Club is just the tip of the iceberg.

“I would say this is probably just the beginning,” he said. “I think they plan to come after the gangs members and the street criminals and the drug people with a lot of force and enthusism. The whole culture of gangs is curious things, it’s not really surprising that you would find a motorcycle gang or a gang that revolved their activities around drugs, or gangs that particularily likes to rob people.”

He said the gang problem tends to be worse in small towns.

“I think gangs terrorize small communities,” the former U.S. Attorney said. “I think gangs terrorize big towns too, frankly, but they are especially bad in small towns, as you say, that don’t have law enforcement agency that’s use to confronting that type of things. That’s why it’s important to have state, federal and local cooperation as they appear to have in this case.”

PHOTOS: Mongols Motorcycle Club mug shots

Yarbrough told News 2 gangs are a nationwide problem.

“I think you can look at what’s happening in the country and realize that gangs are going to be a problem until prosceutors come along with cases like this and take a lot of them off the streets.” he said.

Yarbrough was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Middle Tennessee District by former President George W. Bush, and also served a year and a half under former President Barack Obama.

He now practices law with the Nashville Law Firm, Bone McAllester Norton.