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8 arrested in Clinton for stolen property, guns, drugs; gang affiliations suspected


CLINTON, Mississippi — Clinton police say eight people have been arrested in connection with the recovery of three automobiles, two motorcycles and other stolen property.

Police believe the eight may be affiliated with a gang known as the Simon City Royals.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/1N9O351 ) that police responded to a Thursday tip about suspicious activity at an address in a Clinton subdivision. After getting a search warrant, police found the stolen property.

Police said they found the makings a potential "chop shop," an operation in which vehicles are stolen so parts can be sold.

"They were sanding down and painting the vehicles, taking off the VIN numbers and changing the appearances," police spokesman Josh Frazier said.

Police said they also discovered illegally obtained prescription drugs and a small cache of firearms.

Numerous charges against the eight suspects include felony possession of a firearm, illegal possession of prescription drugs, conspiracy to possess stolen property and receiving stolen property.

Frazier said some of the suspects' tattoos indicated some affiliation with the Simon City Royals gang. All but two of the suspects are convicted felons with past crimes that include burglaries, theft, larcenies, and drug sales and possession.

Frazier said there may be more arrests in connection with the latest case

In a May article, The Sun Herald reported that a 2010 state gang assessment documented 1,217 Royals in Mississippi. By 2014, the number of Royals statewide grew to nearly 2,000.

Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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