Ex-NFL Player Charged with Human Trafficking, 'Street Gang Terrorism' After Successful Sting
A former NFL player was hit with five charges related to alleged gang-related human trafficking in Georgia.
The Georgia Attorney General’s office outlined the charges against Eric Johnson, 46, and seven co-defendants in a Thursday news release.
Johnson, a former Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons safety and linebacker, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude and three counts of violating the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Prosecutors allege that Johnson held a leadership role in a street gang called LOTTO, an acronym for Last One To Take Over, according to WAGA-TV in Atlanta.
Ex-Raider Eric Johnson Arrested On Human Trafficking, RICO Charges https://t.co/O3utSHvP5E pic.twitter.com/gFNj8tvb1u
— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) February 17, 2023
The news release said the gang has origins in the Gangster Disciples and Crips street gangs.
State prosecutors accused the gang’s leaders of using the proceeds of sexual servitude to purchase weapons and property.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr pointed to the charges as the fruits of a wide-ranging investigation that involved the state’s human trafficking and gang prosecution units.
“Throughout our state, gangs are actively engaged in human trafficking as a primary means to make money, and we are using all available resources to fight back and protect our most vulnerable,” Carr said in a statement.
“By combining the strengths of our Human Trafficking and Gang Prosecution Units, we are working to ensure that those who lead, promote, and encourage this unlawful activity are vigorously pursued and held accountable for their actions,” he said.
“This indictment is just the latest outcome in our ongoing efforts to keep our children and our families safe as we seek to root out violent crime wherever it occurs.”
Some of the eight defendants face even more charges than Johnson, including counts of kidnapping and assault.
The investigation into LOTTO has played out over the course of months, dating back to last year, according to WAGA.
The suspects were initially arrested in November, and a grand jury returned the RICO charges against the defendants this month.
Johnson is yet to enter a plea in connection to the charges.
The Nebraska product started just two games in his NFL career, both in 2003.
He is best known for returning a blocked punt for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVII, which his Raiders lost to Tampa Bay 48-21.
Former Nebraska players scoring in the Super Bowl (5/7)
-13 yard blocked punt TD return (SB XXXVII) pic.twitter.com/wCKgrkMK52
— Uncle Jeff (@ebsoftball) February 12, 2023
The eight suspects could face life imprisonment if convicted, according to WAGA.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.