ATLANTA - Two of five members of an Atlanta-based gang, facing charges related to extortion, drugs and guns, lived in our area.
Agents with the FBI brought down the alleged operation using an undercover agent, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"This investigation provides a very good look inside the activities of an organized and violent criminal enterprise that focused that violence on the Asian-American community here in the metro Atlanta area," Special Agent in Charge at the FBI Atlanta Field Office Mark F. Giuliano said in a press statement.
Authorities said the case broke Thursday with initial searches and arrests in connection with an unsealed indictment.
"These defendants, whose calling cards were violence and intimidation, allegedly terrorized local businesses by shaking them down for cash in return for 'protection," U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.
According to Yates' office, the case began in the summer of 2009 when the defendants allegedly demanded protection money from a Korean bar and restaurant in Gwinnett County.
Authorities said the crew threatened the owner with violence, harassment and damage to the restaurant. Investigators alleged the gang strong-armed the victim into making $400 to $800 monthly payments for about four months.
Following an assault, the FBI got involved while the restaurant owner continued making payments under surveillance.
The undercover agent became involved in 2010, according to Yates' office. That agent recording a meeting with gang members where they allegedly described their illegal activities, including drug distribution, gambling, extortion and debt collection.
In our area, Athith A. Vorasith, a/k/a Andy Vorasith, 24, of Auburn and Jong Sung Kim, a/k/a John Kim, 48, of Suwanee face charges in the case.
The attorneys office identified the other suspects as Eugene Thomas Chung, a/k/a Yoo Jin Chung, 39, of Duluth, Ye El Choi, a/k/a David Choi, 30, of Norcross and Thomas Jungwon Lee, a/k/a Tommy Lee, 32, of Duluth.
If convicted, Chung and Vorasith face a maximum of up to life in prison; Kim, Choi, and Lee face up to 20 years in prison.