Crime & Courts

24th member of gang arrested, charged with illegal possession of weapon

Police have arrested another member of one of Columbia's largest and most organized street gangs, the Gangsta Killer Bloods.

Jerome Larnell Francis, also known as Chop, was arrested Wednesday after members of the Columbia Violent Gang Task Force intercepted him at a meeting of the GKB in front of building T at the Gonzales Gardens Apartments, according to court documents.

Francis, who was convicted in April 2004 of burglary and other drug charges, is prohibited from owning or carrying a gun. FBI Agent Brian Jones and Richland County Sheriff's investigator Larry Sypolt found a .40 Glock hidden under the hood of Francis' Ford Crown Victoria.

Francis was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm, according to court documents.

The handgun, which was loaded with 15 rounds of hollow point ammunition, was stolen from Lawmans Safety Supply in December, according to court documents.

Francis is the 24th person with GKB connections to be arrested since January. The GKB is the focus of a major federal, state and local law enforcement investigation.

Three people - Sheila Pinkston, Maurice Jovian Andrews and Fernanda Lee - are out of jail on bond, court records show.

Reach Beam at (803) 771-8405.