Darren Carter Gremlins

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang’ in Abbeville indicted, accused of racketeering and other counts

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — Col. Michael Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, speaks during a press conference to announce multi-agency investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, December 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — Col. Michael Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, speaks during a press conference to announce multi-agency investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, December 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — Keith Stutes, district attorney for the 15th Judicial Court, speaks during a press conference to announce multi-agency investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, December 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — Keith Stutes, district attorney for the 15th Judicial Court, speaks during a press conference to announce multi-agency investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — Abbeville Police Chief Tony Hardy speaks during a press conference to announce multi-agency investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — Vermilion Parish Sheriff Michael Couvillon speaks during a press conference to announce multi-agency investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

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Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — Mugshots of arrested suspects are displayed on the wall during a press conference to announce multi-agency investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Seventeen members of ‘Gremlin Gang

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK — La. State Police Master Trooper Brooks David hangs up mugshots of suspects–those who have been arrested at the top and others who are wanted at the bottom–before a press conference to announce investigation results in criminal indictments for the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville at the Louisiana State Police Troop I headquarters Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Members of the Gremlins Gang in Abbeville have been terrorizing residents in four Acadiana parishes, through murder, drive-by shootings, drug dealing and witness intimidation, authorities said.

And on Monday, those authorities announced the indictments of 17 people alleged to be members of the street gang.

Vermilion Parish Sheriff Mike Couvillon said police have been scrutinizing the north Abbeville group for more than a year.

“This group of individuals has plagued the city of Abbeville,” Police Chief Tony Hardy said, further thanking those residents who “stood up for our city” and came forward with information helpful to the case.

A Vermilion Parish grand jury this month returned indictments against 17 individuals in the case, 15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes said.

Ten of the 17 people charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and criminal street gang activity have already been arrested, according to information provided at a press conference at State Police Troop I headquarters in Lafayette.

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“The Gremlins Gang is alleged to have participated in acts of violence through the use of firearms and encouraged violence through social media,” Stutes said.

The group’s members are individually accused of dozens of criminal acts since at least 1997, including drug crimes and violent crimes in Vermilion, Lafayette, St. Martin and Acadia parishes, according to the grand jury indictment.

The violent crimes include murder, attempted murder, drive-by shootings, robberies, burglaries and intimidation of witnesses. The gang’s members have also been associated with selling and trafficking drugs like marijuana, crack-cocaine, crystal meth and pills, the indictment says.

The members also are accused of renting vehicles from Top Auto Rental and Sales, at 815 S.W. Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette, to conceal their movements, according to the document.

The company is owned by Nakia Zenon, according to Secretary of State filings. Zenon has already been arrested in the case and, like the nine others already booked, remained in the Vermilion Parish jail on Monday afternoon in lieu of a $1 million bail.

Some of the accused were already in jail on counts of attempted murder, and some have faced weapons and narcotics charges. Others have faced homicide charges before but were acquitted because of a lack of witnesses willing to testify, Abbeville Lt. David Hardy said.

“Several of them are suspects in shootings, attempted murder charges. It doesn’t just stem from narcotics. It’s home invasions, basically terrorizing neighborhoods and cities (and) intimidation of witnesses,” Hardy said.

The Gremlins Gang often operated from an abandoned mobile home at Hayes and Oak streets in Abbeville before it was seized during the investigation, Hardy said.

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Each individual faces up to 50 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines if convicted as charged.

The investigation is ongoing, State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said.

“What we’re finding is these cases right here are turning us to other cases,” Edmonson said.

Police are still searching for the following people:

Aaron Carter, 21, 112 Hiawatha Road, Abbeville.

Darren Carter, 18, 112 Hiawatha Road, Abbeville.

Travis Cooper, 25, 1213 Clover St., Abbeville.

Kirkland Demouchet, 20, 809 N. East St., Abbeville.

Jerran Diggs, 37, 611 Alphonse St., Abbeville.

Cody Guidry, 21, 1215 E. Oak St., Abbeville.

Jonathan Landry, 29, 1926 Primeaux St., Abbeville.

Those indicted who are already booked into jail include:

Roland Bernard, 23, 401 B Marmont St., Abbeville.

Gregory Bessard, 21, 504 Alphonse St., Abbeville.

Kendall Breaux, 20, 315 Odile St., Lafayette.

Kavan Broussard, 19, 7710 W. Cougar Road, Abbeville.

X’zavier Dyson, 17, 1010 S. East St., Abbeville.

Andrew Granger, 21, 519 Elias Road, Abbeville.

Wesley Laviolette, 35, 204 S. Leonard St., Abbeville.

Gene Williams III, 19, 1622 S. State St., Abbeville.

Stephen Walker, 23, 1740 Sixth Ave. No. 17, Abbeville.

Nakia Zenon, 41, 112 Hiawatha Road, Abbeville.

Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.