FBI busts gang members in probe of teen’s burning death

By Cheryl Chumley

Jessica
This undated photograph shows Jessica Chambers, who died after being set on fire in Courtland, Miss. on Dec. 6, 2014.

The investigation into the murder of a 19-year-old Mississippi teen who was doused with gasoline and burned alive, has resulted in the arrests of 17 suspected gang members between the ages of 18 and 40, though none are charged in her death, reports The Clarion-Ledger.

The FBI says the men have been charged in north Mississippi as a part of a major operation called “Operation Bite Back.”

The suspects have been charged with a variety of crimes, from child endangerment and sales of narcotics to possession of stolen firearms and possession of counterfeit money, Fox News reported.

“It’s taken eight or nine months, if not a little longer, to get to this point,” Panola County District Attorney John Champion said, in the Clarion-Ledger. “And this is not over by any stretch of the imagination.”

chambers
Jacnicholas Scott, from top left, James Mosely, Joshua Mandella Cannon, from bottom left, Gregory Andrews, Mondarious La-Quan Armstead, Arnand Vijay Shegog (11 other photos not yet available)/Photo: MDOC, Panola County Sheriff’s Department

What they haven’t been charged with, however, are crimes related to the burning death of Jessica Chambers, who was killed Dec. 6, 2014. Chambers was last seen on surveillance video leaving a convenience store. She was set on fire while she sat in her car by a gate to private land. She then stepped out of her car and authorities later found her smoldering body on the road, covered in burns. She was pronounced dead at a hospital in Memphis a short time later.

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Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby said to the Clarion-Ledger that investigators looking into Chambers’ murder came across information during their interviews of more than 150 people and research of 20,000 phone records that led them to the arrests. The suspects were taken into custody in an hours-long sweep, the paper reported.

“Police investigating potential witnesses then charging them with a crime is a standard technique for breaking big cases that are about to go cold,” Colin Flaherty, author of “White Girl Bleed A Lot,” told WND. “That is clearly what is happening here. Using Jessica’s phone and social media accounts, detectives were able to recreate a large portion of her life, and who was in it. That is how they found the 17 people connected to Jessica. And why they are now charged with serious crimes.”

Colin Flaherty’s book, “Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry: The Hoax of Black Victimization and Those Who Enable It,” documents black crime in America and exposes how the media and politicians are willing partners in what the author calls “the greatest lie of our generation.”

FBI spokesman Jason Pack said as the FBI assisted state and local investigators, suspected illegal activity came to light and resulted in the indictments and arrests Tuesday morning.

FBI agents targeted suspected members of the Black Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, and Sipp Mob street gangs after gathering intelligence on their suspected criminal activity from local law enforcement and community members weary of the violence in their neighborhoods, reported the paper.

Authorities have struggled to identify any suspects in Chambers’ murder because of a “marked lack of street chatter” about the crime, “causing much of the investigation to hinge on data collection,” the Clarion-Ledger said, citing law enforcement.

Investigators with the local sheriff’s office, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the state’s Bureau of Investigation, are continuing to seek information about the death of Chambers.

“Many cities across the country have success pooling resources with Federal and State agencies to fight and control gangs and gang-related violence,” said Donald Alway, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “It’s our intent that this operation will be the start of that here in Panola and surrounding counties.”

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