KPD officers honored for gang probe

Organized Crime Investigators Brandon Stryker and Brandon Glover. Source: KPD

A pair of investigators from the Knoxville Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit were recognized for their work taking down a violent street gang at an awards ceremony last week in Nashville.

Brandon Glover and Brandon Stryker were presented with 2021 First Responder Recognition Awards, which are given by the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security for “outstanding or heroic actions while serving the people of Tennessee,” officials said.  

The two investigators received the award for leading a lengthy, multi-agency investigation into the Unknown Ghost Vice Lords gang in Knoxville. 

Due to their work, no fewer than 15 people — many of them classified as violent offenders — now stand convicted of a slew of federal charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and related gun offenses. 

The case, which was initiated in 2019, was one the largest drug conspiracy cases in recent years when measured by the number of people involved. 

Eight of the defendants were convicted in July following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan, while seven others had opted to plead guilty before going to trial.

They now face a range of punishments, with some of the defendants looking at spending the rest of their lives in prison as well as up to $10 million dollars in fines.

Sentencing hearings are expected to take place in early 2022.

Stryker has been with KPD since 2006, and Glover joined the department in 2004.

The investigators’ supervisor, OCU Lt. Andrew Boatman, praised their ability and dedication to enforcing the law

“This investigation required a high level of investigative, logistical and management skill on the parts of Officers Stryker and Glover as they led a multi-agency effort across several jurisdictions, doing so at great personal sacrifice as they dedicated thousands of hours to the pursuit of these criminal gang members,” Boatman said

“Their efforts resulted not only in the dismantling of a violent criminal conspiracy but has directly impacted and made safer communities across East Tennessee,” he said.

KPD Chief Eve Thomas said she was grateful to state Homeland Security officials for honoring their efforts. 

“This is a well-deserved recognition for Investigators Glover and Stryker, who displayed remarkable expertise, dedication and teamwork to help make this conviction possible,” Thomas said. 

Published on September 13, 2021.