JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Six people who Jackson County authorities say have ties to the Simon City Royals are slated to make their initial court appearances on Tuesday to face kidnapping charges. Meanwhile, the sheriff said he's putting gang members on notice that his department is coming after them.
Sheriff Mike Ezell said the kidnapping and beating of a 30 year old woman was not a random crime. He said the victim is affiliated with the Simon City Royals. Sheriff Ezell said this is a dangerously violent gang that will do anything for money.
Jackson County sheriff's deputies said they arrived at a home on Travis Avenue Friday just before an brutal attack was about to go from bad to worse.
"She had been beaten and tied and taped. Held against her will. It was very serious," said Sheriff Ezell. "So we were fortunate enough that we were able to get there when we did because this thing could have turned out worse than it actually was."
Six people are currently in jail charged with kidnapping. Officials said they all have ties to the Simon City Royals. Those arrested are Nathaniel Trent Estringer, 23, of St. Martin, Shana Sumako Cox, 39, of St. Martin, Jeremy Alan Widel, 27, of Vancleave, Christoper Micheal Gray, 28, of St. Martin, Sherry Lynn Emile, 44 of St. Martin, and Dillon Scott Odom, 19, of St. Martin.
If convicted of kidnapping, each person faces up to life years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Officials said additional charges are possible.The sheriff said the investigation has yielded several possible motives including narcotics.
"It always boils down to money. Whether it be the drug trade, stolen goods, fencing operations, stolen cars. They'll do anything to try to make money," said Sheriff Ezell. "What I have seen from this group is they are violent. They have been known to attack other groups."
He said they also use threats and intimidation to get what they want.
"They prey on folks that seem to be vulnerable," Sheriff Ezell said. "So we really have to let our folks know out there that they can call us so we can respond to help them."
The sheriff said the gang members should not get too comfortable in Jackson County.
"We will pursue them. We will go after them. As long as we can, we're going to run them out of Jackson County," said the sheriff. "These gang members are out there, they want to call themselves a gang. I call them them thugs and we're coming after them."
Sheriff Mike Ezell said he believes there are several dozens Simon City Royal members in the area at any given time because some are from the area while others are transient. He said they often intimidate their victims, so it's difficult to get victims to cooperate with authorities.