268: Jalaine Ward and Joan Cronier – Nuwaubian Nation Cult Leader Dwight York

In this episode, retired agents Jalaine Ward and Joan Cronier review their investigation of cult leader Dwight D. York, of the United Nation of Nuwaubian Moors.

York used his charisma to recruit thousands of followers. Several hundred cult members lived with their children on his 475-acre Nuwaubian Nation compound in Putnam County, Georgia where, for years, he sexually molested boys and girls, 3-18 years old. In 2004, York was convicted and sentenced to 135 years without parole. The FBI code named the investigation Operation One Mann Act.

Jalaine and Joan, and other members of the prosecutive team, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Richard Moultrie and DOJ Special Prosecutor Stephanie Thacker, received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for their investigation of Dwight York and his Nuwaubian Nation.

Special Agent (Retired)

Jalaine Ward

7/1986 – 2013







“He had several of the red flags. When they moved to the compound, he separated the women from the children, the husbands from the wives, and they all lived in different areas.”—Retired Agent Jalaine Ward

Retired agent Jalaine Ward served in the FBI for nearly 27 years. She was assigned to the Atlanta Division, Macon Resident Agency for her entire Bureau career. She worked a variety of investigations with an expertise in white collar crime and violent crimes, specifically crimes against children and has extensive experience in interviewing and interrogation, trial testimony, trial preparation, undercover operations, special events planning, crisis negotiation, security and threat assessment, and major case management.

Jalaine was the National Center of the Analysis for Violent Crime (NCAVC) and Crimes Against Children (CAC) coordinator for the Atlanta Division for over 20 years and received extensive training in Behavioral Analysis, Threat Assessment, Interview and Interrogation, Crisis Management, School Violence issues, and Sexual Exploitation of Children.

She is a certified FBI Instructor and experienced Crisis Negotiator and participated in numerous consultations with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and was a member of the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team (CARD). She was deployed to various parts of the Southeast Region to assist local law enforcement with missing children, child abductions, and false reports of kidnapping cases.

Currently, Jalaine operates Integrous, LLC, a private investigative, security, and threat assessment consulting service.

Special Agent (Retired)

Joan Cronier

1997 – Apr 2017







Retired agent Joan Cronier served in the FBI for 20 years. Joan spent her Bureau career in the Atlanta Division, where she used her financial crimes experience on White Collar Crime and Government Fraud Squads. After the successful investigation and prosecution of Dwight York, she switched her focus to crimes against children.

Joan spent several years as a member and coordinator on Innocent Images Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Since retiring, Joan works as a consultant and investigator on the Global Cyber Security team of a Fortune 100 company. Her husband, John, is also a retired agent. Joan and John have two sons, 20 and 17.

The following are links to articles and video about the Nuwaubian Nation and its former leader Dwight York:

WAGA TV 1996 (VIDEO): Nuwaubian cult

Southern Poverty Law Center – Nuwaubian Nation of Moors

People.com – 7/8/2018: 4 Things You’ll Learn About an Egyptian-Themed Sect Hiding Child Sex Abuse

People.com – 7/4/2018: I Brought Down a Cult: Ex-Member Helped Catch the Child Molester Running an Egyptian-Themed Sect

People.com – 7/6/2018: The Story Behind a Black Supremacist Cult That Lived in Egyptian-Themed Compound in Rural Georgia

The Cult Education Institute – 2/7/2003: Survivors Speak out about Bizarre Sect Leader, Sentenced to Prison

ABC News – 1/8/2004: Cult Leader Accused of Grooming Members For Sex

YouTube (VIDEO) – 4/18/2004: Habiba (Abigail) Washington Recants Testimony

Jalaine and Joan are featured in the TV series People Magazine Investigates: Cults (S1:E6) – The Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, available to rent on TV streaming services.

Interested in cults? Here are two more case reviews:

Episode 113: Herbert Cousins – Yahweh Ben Yahweh, Temple of Fear

Episode 172: Weysan Dun – Posse Comitatus, Nebraska Cult Murders

Photos of the Dwight York and his Nuwaubian Nation compound

Dwight York’s mugshot.
The spiral staircase to York’s bedroom.
One of the Egyptian themed structures on the compound.
An Egyptian themed pyramid structure on the compound.
One of the Egyptian themed structures on the compound.
Dwight York’s mansion on the compound.
Aerial view of the Nuwaubian Nation compound in Putnam County, Georgia.




















































Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. DushareeSeptember 18, 2022

    Greetings and Salutations, Ms. Williams, I have noticed as all can that your fellow department officials, namely, former SA Jalaine Ward and Joan Cronier, are the subject of this interview. This interview is based on the first hand knowledge that both former ‘Special Agents’ have regarding the Case against H.E. Dr. Malachi Z. York, a Liberian Diplomat misnomered, Dwight Dennis York, a non-existent entity or name he is illegally being held under in the Federal Bureau of Prison Registry. For the purposes of fairness and a call for right to Equal Protection of the law, I am asking you personally that I be afforded an interview on this matter as well just to expound on information pertaining to this ‘Investigation’ that has not been touched on in this interview. For instance, the federal case witnesses were coerced and threatened by the very same individuals you interviewed. For an example, we have affidavits and ‘government witnesses’ who spoke on behalf of Dr. Malachi Z. York at trial and either denied anything ever happening to them and also explained hgow prosecution key witness, Yaqub Muhammad aka Jacob York came to them in May of 2001 and coerced them to plot against ‘Malachi’ and make up false allegations because Jacob was also under Federal incestigation for Bank Fraud and has hate for ‘Malachi’, his step-father for the death of his mother. Did these ‘Special Agents’ tell you this? No. So for the sake of truth and justice, an interview would be great.

    1. Jerri WilliamsSeptember 19, 2022

      Thank you for connecting. The purpose of FBI Retired Case File Review is to showcase FBI cases (and points of view) with interviews with the retired agents who investigated the cases. However, if you would like for me to include your written comments, send me a link and I will include them in the shownotes.


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