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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rate of Killings Rises 38 Percent in Chicago in 2012

Posted On 23:42 0 comments

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first reading material each morning, at 5:30, is not a budget update, a legislative proposal or a packet of headlines. It is an e-mail from the Chicago Police Department listing the crimes that were committed during the night that just ended. By 7 a.m., he is calling Garry F. McCarthy, the police superintendent. That is unlikely to be their final conversation of the day, or even of the morning. Multimedia Graphic Homicides in Selected Large Cities Connect With Us on Twitter Follow @NYTNational for breaking news and headlines. Twitter List: Reporters and Editors Enlarge This Image Daniel Borris for The New York Times A crime scene at Jackson Boulevard and Kildare Avenue on Chicago’s West Side. Enlarge This Image Daniel Borris for The New York Times Tawaila Medley, manager of a laundry in that neighborhood, says she sees boys gathering at all hours of the night. Enlarge This Image Daniel Borris for The New York Times A mural urges children in the area to resist gangs and drugs. Readers’ Comments Share your thoughts. Post a Comment » Read All Comments (400) » Mr. Emanuel listed safer streets among his top three priorities when he became mayor a year ago, but Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, is now testing that promise. Homicides are up by 38 percent from a year ago, and shootings have increased as well, even as killings have held steady or dropped in New York, Los Angeles and some other cities. As of June 17, 240 people had been killed here this year, mostly in shootings, 66 more deaths than occurred in the same period in 2011. “That’s somebody’s husband, somebody’s son, and they’re dying right on our block,” said Maya Hodari, who lives on a South Side street where two shootings have already taken place this year, one of them fatal and another as a toddler looked on. “It hurts.” The violence has left its largest scars in some of Chicago’s most impoverished, struggling neighborhoods on the South and West Sides, places with views of the city’s gleaming downtown skyline that feel worlds apart. Wealthier, whiter parts of the city have not been entirely immune — shootings were reported in the last few days along the city’s Magnificent Mile shopping district and near the Lincoln Park Zoo — but a majority of the killings have been tied to Chicago’s increasingly complicated gang warfare, police statistics suggest, and to the gritty neighborhoods where gangs have long thrived. There is no evidence of a broader crime wave; in fact, measures of crime apart from homicides, including rapes, robberies, burglaries and auto thefts, have actually improved by about 10 percent since a year ago. “We’ve got a gang issue, specific to parts of the city, and we have a responsibility to bring a quality of life to those residents, and we are going to do it,” Mayor Emanuel, visibly vexed, said in an interview on Friday. “My bigger issue is not only the homicides and shootings,” he added. “It’s what it does to all the legitimate citizens in that community and the kids.” Gangs in this city have changed over the decades, splintering from a small set of well-established bands into hundreds of tinier groups with alliances so disparate and shifting that even a former Gangster Disciple member from the West Side, who refused to be named but revealed bullet scars during an interview as proof of his rougher days, said he could not begin to keep them all straight. In just the last two years, the police say, 500 monitored gang factions have fractured into more than 600, many of them with stunningly ready access to guns. In one neighborhood last week, plainclothes officers searched parking lots and old addresses for 30 suspects as part of Superintendent McCarthy’s larger race to dismantle drug and gang operations. At one point, they said, they found themselves staring at a gun aimed at them by a man who was not even on the list of suspects they were searching for. Moments later, the gun lay shining on the ground, an officer’s shot left a bullet hole in a nearby car, and the man, 21, was added to the list of those arrested in the sweep — all before 11 a.m. As in most of the nation’s big cities, killings have dropped precipitously in Chicago since the 1990s, as the police tried new approaches and crack cocaine faded. In the early 1990s, more than 900 people were killed annually here, a number that has long since shrunk and hovered around the 400s. Homicides are down so far this year in New York and in Los Angeles, a fact that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration in New York has pointed to in defense of that city’s controversial stop-and-frisk program. But Chicago is not alone among major cities dealing with more killings. In Philadelphia, for instance, 173 homicides were reported as of June 20, compared with 143 in the same period last year. Experts on crime say it is too early to know how much to make of the rise in killings here, particularly since a significant number took place in the first three months of the year — an oddly warm stretch for a city accustomed to winter hibernation and an accompanying chill in crime. Mr. Emanuel’s critics blame his budget choices, at least in part. He consolidated three police districts, combined the police and fire headquarters, and reduced police spending by $67 million — mostly, his aides say, by removing more than 1,300 department jobs that had long gone unfilled but were left in city budgets only to be held up as savings on paper. Police union leaders argue that Mr. Emanuel should instead have filled any empty slots, however long they had been empty, with additional officers, and assert that the city has also failed to fill hundreds of slots left by retiring officers in recent years. “Every district in the city is running short on manpower,” said Pat Camden, a Fraternal Order of Police spokesman. “It’s penny-wise and dollar foolish.” But Superintendent McCarthy, who was director of police in Newark and deputy commissioner of operations in New York before Mayor Emanuel brought him here, says that the department’s new philosophy — one that includes a sharp focus on statistics and on building a deep knowledge within neighborhoods — is now aimed squarely at the gang problem, and that cost savings were matters of improving the department’s effectiveness, not shrinking it. Nearly 1,100 officers who had been in administrative jobs or in special units have been sent back into police districts to work in neighborhoods. “Audits” of gangs — including details about members, turf fights and old grudges — are being used to try to prevent retaliation shootings. The police this year have written tens of thousands more “contact cards” than last year, a practice in which officers stop people (though they do not, officials say, generally frisk them), document gang affiliations for a central database and seek information about recent crimes. The department is hiring officers for jobs vacated by retirements, Superintendent McCarthy said, though about 450 positions on the city’s 12,538-person sworn force are now unfilled. Mr. Emanuel said he was drawing on his experience in Washington with the 1994 crime bill in efforts to pour resources into the roots of crime that stretch beyond police work. He has added $8.5 million collected from unpaid debts owed the city for thousands more summer jobs, slots for campers in the city’s park district and apprentice programs. Stricter curfews have been set. And the city is working with community groups in areas like Ms. Hodari’s neighborhood to build residents’ willingness to speak up and reclaim areas. Not all of it seems to be reaching places like a district on the West Side, where a cluster of young men jumped from their cars on a recent morning to scuffle in the street, and where 24 homicides have already taken place this year. Tawaila Medley said she sees from the windows of the laundry where she works clusters of pre-teenage boys gathering at all hours of the night, and is grateful for the silent, out-of-view alarm beside her, adding, “We’ve lost our way.”

The founder of the Independent Soldiers gang has been gunned down in Port Moody Monday afternoon.

Posted On 07:35 0 comments

Police investigators are at the scene of a Monday afternoon shooting near St. John's and Queens Streets in Port Moody.

Police investigators are at the scene of a Monday afternoon shooting near St. John's and Queens Streets in Port Moody.

Photograph by: Ian Lindsay , PNG


Vancouver Police are investigating the daylight shooting, which occurred just before 4:45 p.m. near St. John’s and Queens Streets, a busy corner bordered by a restaurant, a coffee shop and other businesses.

Police have not named the victim, but a Province source identified him as Randy Naicker, one of the founders of the Independent Soldiers gang.

"The early indication is that he was known to police and this was a targeted gang-related shooting," Const. Lindsey Houghton told reporters at the scene.

Naicker had previously been the target of a failed 2009 hit that happened at a Vancouver halfway house where he was residing. Another man, Rajinder Singh Soomel, who was out on parole, was killed.

Naicker was convicted in a 2005 drug-related kidnapping. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots near the intersection and seeing a man fleeing down an alleyway, away from the crime scene. A small black handgun was found by police in a nearby alley.

Vancouver Police spokesman Const. Lindsey Houghton said police do not have firm details on a suspect, but confirm a gun was found on scene.

Early Monday evening, a body can be seen covered by a white sheet, red-soled shoes visible. Next to the body, a grey Infiniti SUV parked on the east side of St. John's Street sat with its driver's side door open, the window shattered.

The gangland slaying is the second murder this year in Port Moody.

Alleged gang member Gurbinder Singh Toor, 35, was shot outside the Port Moody Recreational Centre on May 31 around 9:30 p.m. According to witness reports, about 10 shots were heard and a dark SUV was seen driving away. Toor was rushed to hospital but died later that evening.

Const. Lindsey Houghton confirmed Toor was associated with the Dhak/Duhre group.

Monday's shooting occurred with dozens of innocent bystanders in the area, said Houghton.

"This is extremely concerning and distressing for everyone in society," he said. "These crimes show an absolute disregard for the safety for human life."

Investigators will be looking into possible links to the May 31 shooting, which is also being investigated by the Vancouver Police homicide squad.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Documented gang member arrested on meth-delivery charge

Posted On 04:24 0 comments

Dallas T. Thompson and Crystal M. Moss are being held in the Ada County Jail on felony charges of possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver after Boise police say they found 19 grams of methamphetamine in their car during a traffic stop Tuesday night. Police reports say the 31-year-old Thompson, who is from Middleton, is a documented gang member but not which gang he belongs to. A Boise patrol officer pulled over Thompson’s car over after watching it go through a stop sign at the Malad/Owyhee streets intersection in the Vista Avenue neighborhood around 10 p.m. Tuesday. Police say they found a small amount of marijuana in Thompson’s pocket when they searched him after he got out of the car. That’s when officers called for a K-9 dog, who detected the presence of drugs in the car, according to reports. Police say they found 19.3 grams of meth inside the car, along with drug paraphernalia and other undisclosed evidence that both Thompson and the 35-year-old Moss were selling drugs, according to police reports. Both were arrested and booked into the jail. Thompson and Moss will make their initial court appearances Wednesday afternoon. The crime of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (meth) is punishable by up to life in prison. Idaho Court records show Thompson has several active court cases, including charges of resisting arrest, driving without a valid license, fighting and a probation violation filed in connection with a 2010 DUI arrest in Ada County.

2 from Chicago among 4 more alleged outlaw cycle gang members charged

Posted On 03:52 0 comments

Four more alleged members of a nationwide outlaw biker gang, including two from Chicago, are facing charges accusing them of crimes including robbery, kidnapping and murder, federal prosecutors said Friday. The U.S. attorney's office in St. Louis announced a superseding grand jury indictment naming the four additional men. Eighteen others were indicted in June 2011. The case involving the Wheels of Soul motorcycle gang began after gang-related crimes in St. Louis in 2009. Eleven of the original defendants have pleaded guilty. Trial is scheduled for October in St. Louis for seven people from the original indictment. Prosecutors described the gang, based in Philadelphia with branches throughout the U.S., as well organized and extremely violent. Authorities say the gang distributed crack cocaine and heroin and committed robberies to raise money. They also blame the gang in at least three murder cases. The new suspects include: —Jerry "Angel" Peteet, 49, of Gary, Ind., charged with shooting a rival gang member in Indiana in May 2009, among other crimes. —Anthony "Pharaoh" Owens, 23, of Chicago, charged with two counts of accessory to murder and tampering with evidence. —Curtis "Tomahawk" Cole, 33, of Camden, N.J., charged in a January 2011 robbery and killing in Chicago. —Trevor "Cyclopse" Seymour, 42, of Chicago, charged with conspiring with other gang members to commit murder in 2009, and with kidnapping a member of another biker gang in January 2010. The four men do not yet have attorneys. In 2009, members allegedly shot and killed a member of the rival Sin City Titans gang in St. Louis. The shooting came weeks after a meeting in which members were told that the Mother Chapter had declared "open season" on the Sin City Titans, according to the original indictment. In January 2011, a member the Wheels of Soul allegedly shot and killed a person in Chicago during an altercation with the rival Street Soldiers gang. And in March 2011, a member is accused of shooting three victims in the back as they fled from a party in Marion, Ohio, killing one and seriously wounding another.

Police offer $1,000 reward for tips in gang-related shooting at 715 Inn

Posted On 03:36 0 comments

Gang enforcement officers and Crime Stoppers are asking for the public’s help to solve a gang-related shooting at a Northeast Portland nightclub last month. Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said the shooting occurred in the early morning hours of May 6 at the 715 Inn, at 715 Northeast Broadway. A woman inside the club, 60-year-old Christine Anderson, was struck once in the chest; she survived her wound. Witnesses told police that someone outside the club began shooting at around 2:15 a.m., striking a Jeep parked outside. A bullet traveled through a window, striking Anderson. Police do not think Anderson was the intended target, and believe the shooter may have been aiming at someone else, perhaps a gang associate, inside the club. It’s unknown if the shooter was in a car or on foot. A reward of up to $1,000  is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in this case; callers will remain anonymous.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fatal shooting possibly to bolster San Bernardino gang

Posted On 05:31 0 comments

Anthony Phillips, 26, of San Bernardino, is accused of fatally shooting Maurice Major, 29, of Riverside, at an apartment complex in the 1200 block of North Sierra Way. Phillips was arrested the next day. He is charged with one count of murder, and prosecutors have added a gang enhancement for Phillips' alleged involvement in a San Bernardino gang. Phillips, who was in San Bernardino Superior Court on Thursday, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the hearing in front of Judge James Dorr, a detective and an officer from the San Bernardino Police Department were called as witnesses. They testified about the shooting and gangs in the area. Phillips, also known as Ant, is affiliated with the Delmann Heights Bloods, said Officer Jonathan Plummer, a gang investigator with the San Bernardino Police Department. "(The shooting) enhances the gang by sending a message to rival gang members and to the community - that Delmann Heights is very violent," Plummer said. The officer testified about Phillips' reported noteworthy tattoos, including "DH" under his eyes, "Bloods" on his body, "San Murderdino" on his abs and "Delmann Heights" on both arms. Witnesses told police that Major was also a gang member, Detective Albert Tello testified. Advertisement His street name was West and he was affiliated with the West Covina Neighbor Hood Crips out of Los Angeles County. Recently, Los Angeles County gangs have come into the Inland Empire to sell drugs, Plummer said. Delmann Heights, which has more than 150 documented members, claims the boundaries of California Street to the west, Medical Center Drive to the east, Cajon Boulevard to the north and Highland Avenue to the south, according to police. Following a recent gang injunction in Delmann Heights, several DH members have migrated over to the 1200 block of Sierra to sell narcotics, Plummer said. Major's girlfriend told police that on the night of the shooting they were at a party outside a San Bernardino apartment complex, Tello testified. She told police that 20 to 30 people were there, including Phillips. The two men were familiar with each other, she told police, and at one point Phillips approached Major and asked to speak with him, Tello testified. The two walked away, Tello said, and while they were talking they got into an argument. Phillips then allegedly shot the victim several times in the chest, the girlfriend told police. "After he shot the victim, the suspect ran from the complex, put the gun away and ran toward Fame Liquor," on Base Line, Tello relayed on the witness stand. Major was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Deputy District Attorney David Tulcan said prosecutors are still investigating whether Major had a gun on him that night. Authorities did find a clear, plastic bag with several pieces of suspected rock cocaine on the victim, police said. Testimony in the preliminary hearing will continue on Monday, where a judge is expected to set trial dates. May was a deadly month for the city. There were 12 reported homicides - five in one week. The spate of May violence prompted memories of the 1990s, when gang violence peaked in the area. The number of people killed in the city this year is up to 23

ranking member of the Fruit Town Brims set of the Bloods street gang was sentenced to 63 months in prison Wednesday

Posted On 05:28 0 comments

A Jersey City man who is a ranking member of the Fruit Town Brims set of the Bloods street gang was sentenced to 63 months in prison Wednesday for his role in the gang’s criminal enterprises, officials said. Tequan Ryals, 34, had pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy before U.S. District Court Judge Stanley R. Chesler, who imposed the sentence in Newark federal court Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. Ryals, with fellow gang members, conspired to distribute quantities of heroin in Jersey City between December 2008 and February 2009, according to court documents and statements. Ryals also made two drug sales monitored by law enforcement in December 2008, officials said. Ryals, who was involved in the daily activities of the Fruit Town Brims from 2004 until his arrest, acted as a middleman drug distributor, officials said. Ryals was supplied “bricks” of heroin by an associate of the set and he resold them to gang members, officials said. The indictment unsealed in January 2011 charged Ryals and 14 other defendants with racketeering conspiracy and other offenses including acts pertaining to murder, murder conspiracy, aggravated assaults, a kidnapping, firearms offenses and various drug distribution conspiracies, officials said. The gang members charged in the indictment ran the gang’s activities in Jersey City, Newark, Paterson and other locations, officials said. In November, Ryals completed a state prison term for drug crimes, corrections records say. Last week, 30-year federal prison terms were meted out to Emmanuel Jones, 28, of Jersey City, and Torien Brooks, 31, of Paterson, both members of the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims set of the Bloods, officials said. Jones and Brooks were charged in the July 2004 murder of 17-year-old Michael Taylor of Jersey City, who was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity during gang retaliation, officials said. Fishman credited a number of law enforcement agencies for the investigation leading to Ryals’ conviction, including the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, and Jersey City Police Department.

Mob snitch who botched three hits ratted out Colombo gangster in murder trial

Posted On 05:24 0 comments

A mob snitch who couldn’t shoot straight easily pointed the finger at a reputed Colombo gangster on trial for murder. Dino Basciano took the witness stand in Brooklyn Federal Court to testify that he heard Frank (BF) Guerra was part of a hit team that successfully whacked Joseph Scopo in 1993. Basciano, 56, wasn’t much of a hit man himself, botching at least three rubout attempts. In one case, he shot Patricia Capozzalo, the sister of Peter (Fat Pete) Chiodo, telling defense lawyer Gerald McMahon, “I knew I didn’t kill her. She was still screaming when we left.”

Slain teen Ramarly Graham's twin brothers convicted of heading gang

Posted On 05:22 0 comments

The twin half brothers of Ramarley Graham, the Bronx teen fatally shot by a police officer in February, were convicted Tuesday for gun possenion and being part of a Harlem street gang. Hodean and Kadean Graham were sentenced to eight years in jail for heading a crew known as "One-Twenty-Nine" and "Goodfellas/The New Dons" between 2007 and 2011 in the area around W. 129th Street, between Lenox and Fifth Avenues. The 20-year-old brothers were cleared of attempted murder. "This violent street gang was as young as it was dangerous, its members having been involved in multiple shootings over a four-year period," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. Fifteen members of the gang were convicted on charges of drug dealing and weapons possession. Last week, police officer Richard Haste, 31, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter for shooting Ramarley Graham in the Bronx while officers were investigating a drug deal. As officers made the bust, they were radioed that Graham was armed, when he in fact was not. Graham was shot was trying to flush a bag of marijuana down a toilet. Haste's attorney said in court that the officer was conviced the teen was carrying a weapon.

Splinter Gangs Wage War in Acapulco

Posted On 05:09 0 comments

A field report by Southern Pulse describes how Acapulco represents the future of Mexico's drug conflict, in which super-powered street gangs, the descendants of the big cartels, are increasingly responsible for much of the violence. And the gangs currently fighting for control of their turf may only get smaller and more numerous. Reprinted with permission from Southern Pulse. This is an excerpt from the full report, "Acapulco Criminal Environment: June 2012." In recent years, the Acapulco Metropolitan Zone (AMZ) has experienced some of the highest levels of criminal violence in Mexico. The AMZ presents an interesting case where two small criminal organizations have battled for territorial control of the city with the external support of much larger cartels operating at the national level. The AMZ also provides a snapshot of how the criminal environment evolves as organizations adapt, and ultimately present a public security challenge that neither the Mexican government nor many international businesses are prepared to confront. [...] Our investigative work has revealed that while there are multiple levels of criminal and gang activity operating throughout the AMZ, the tightest clusters of criminal activity are organized as described below: • Tier-one: Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), i.e. the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas. • Tier-two: Regional criminal groups we have labled “super empowered street gangs,” or "superpandillas," considered by some analysts to be cartels, i.e. the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA). • Tier-three: Localized street gangs -- small time criminal opportunists, groups of less than four or five individuals. [...] Our investigation has found that tier-one cartels operate in an indirect capacity in the AMZ. There has only been sporadic direct, cartel action in the city, such as several homicides with narco-messages signed by the Sinaloa Cartel in early April 2012. While the AMZ is located within an area disputed by multiple groups, the close proximity of Sinaloa Cartel territory results in increased activity from this group. However, our investigation has revealed that the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel also operate in the city indirectly through the support of tier-two superpandillas. Historically, the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) operated in the city, but the group no longer holds any territory in the state of Guerrero. In fact the two most prominent groups operating in the AMZ, La Barredora and the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA), are both tier-two organizations that splintered from BLO. Given the high level of activity from the superpandillas, and the relatively low strategic value of this plaza, when compared to Nuevo Laredo or Monterrey, we believe that it is unlikely that tier-one organizations will focus on the AMZ in the coming months. However, further presence of Sinaloa Cartel or the Zetas indirect activity is possible, especially through their support of the regional tier-two groups La Barredora and CIDA. [...] The new gangs on the block High-impact criminal activity in the AMZ is primarily carried out by two, second tier organizations: La Barredora (including its hitman squad, The Devil’s Command) and CIDA. This binary criminal ecosystem is relatively simple when compared to the complex environment of the Monterrey Metropolitan Area (see our March 2012 report on street gangs in Monterrey). La Barredora and CIDA, both splinter groups from the organization operated by La Barbie -- itself a splinter group from BLO -- operate exclusively in the state of Guerrero, and primarily in the AMZ. Both groups rose to confront the weakened South Pacific Cartel and the BLO, which had been fighting for control of Acapulco. [See Southern Pulse's interactive map of where the streets gangs are based in Acapulco, and which areas of the city are in dispute]. However, since 2011 La Barredora and CIDA have effectively displaced all other groups operating in the area. The exception to this has been occasional activity from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which in early 2012 publicly announced its presence in the AMZ through "narcomantas" (drug gang banners) and YouTube videos. [...] The government response In response to the increasing number of homicides that resulted from the struggle between the two groups, the Federal and State Government of Guerrero implemented in October 2011 a security operation, dubbed Guerrero Seguro, included the deployment of Federal Police agents and Mexican military operatives. […]  In its first few months, Guerrero Seguro was successful in reducing the level of homicides bynearly 50 percent. [...] Regardless, Guerrero Seguro has affected La Barredora and CIDA in several ways. The use of strategically located "filtros," road stops operated by the military and federal police, have led to a string of arrests driving down tier-two group activity. Also, greater intelligence has led to the capture of significant section of the leadership structure for both groups. Yet La Barredora and CIDA have proved to be resilient. Both groups continue to operate in the AMZ and test each other, despite numerous arrests and setbacks. We should also note that the nature of criminal activity has changed since the operation began. For example, in the last several months the AMZ has seen a sharp increase in vehicle theft, close to 170 percent. While it is difficult to determine the responsible groups involved, there are indications that smaller street gangs, under contract with superpandillas, have driven much of that figure. Conclusions We expect the situation in the AMZ to continue relatively unchanged in the coming months. While some of the gains made by Guerrero Seguro may have only been temporary, such as the significant reduction in violent homicides, it is unlikely that the situation will devolve to the high number of homicides and shootings before the security operation began. As the spike in vehicle theft suggests, criminal activity in the AMZ has evolved in response to government pressure on the tier-two groups. However, the repeated resurfacing of La Barredora and CIDA cells also suggests that while the operation has curbed criminal activity, it has been unable to fully dismantle either group, and has likely not affected tier-three groups in any way. [...] In the case of the AMZ, tier-three groups are so small and numerous that TCOs and their smaller local allies are not able to keep track of all of them. However, their impact on the local criminal environment remains palpable. Our investigation has indicated that superpandillas (tier-two groups) often confront some of these groups, especially when they encroach on their "narcomendeo" operations by selling drugs on street corners without paying the required "derecho de piso," or tax. Much like in Monterrey, where there is vibrant tier-three criminal activity, the individuals who survive their time at this level often are hard, street smart, extremely violent, and ambitious. As previously noted, the formation of tier-three groups presents no clear pattern or trend, apart from the consistency of their presence and activity on the fringe of the criminal environment and a general agreement amongst our investigators and sources that their aggregate number is growing. These gangs are hyper-localized, and often do not venture far from their area of influence, which is limited to a specific neighborhood, or "colonia" or "fraccionamineto," and rarely far beyond. However their sheer numbers and impact present a challenge to authorities, where the focus remains on TCOs at a national or state level, and as a knock-on effect, on tier-two organizations at the state or city level. Aside from providing a never-ending talent pool of young criminals to tier-two organizations in the AMZ, our review suggests that these tier-three organizations have cautiously moved into the spaces left open by the initial success of operation Guerrero Seguro against La Barredora and CIDA.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The splintering of established drug gangs has young men grabbing the tools of their trade – handguns

Posted On 00:24 0 comments

The splintering of established drug gangs  has young men grabbing the tools of their trade – handguns – to jockey for position. Or it is that rival gangs, once miles apart in different public housing complexes, suddenly finding themselves sharing the same street corner. Whatever the reasons, Chicago has seen a spike in its homicide rate – with eight killed and at least 35 wounded in a spasm of gunfire last weekend alone – that has authorities scrambling to put more police on the street and some frightened residents retreating deep into their homes.

Widow of murdered man killed at his funeral service by Molotov cocktail wielding gang

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'The victims were holding a wake when several men erupted into the San Martin funeral home and launched Molotov explosives,' said Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for the Chihuahua Attorney General's office in Juárez to the El Paso Times

Authorities said that the suspects fled the scene after the attack and that the funeral home was all but destroyed during the chaotic scene at Centeno and Sorgo streets in the El Granjero neighbourhood.

A man walks near a puddle of blood inside the chapel of a funeral parlor in the drug-ravaged Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez

A man walks near a puddle of blood inside the chapel of a funeral parlor in the drug-ravaged Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez

Described as the 'Murder Capital of the World', Ciudad Juarez experienced 1,933 murders in 2011.

At the heart of violence has been the battle between the rival Sinaloa and the Juarez cartel's for control of drug smuggling routes into the United States.

The city of one million people has moved from a murder rate of 44 people in 1990 to over 3,117 in 2010.

A recent CNN report listed Ciudad Juárez alongside Karachi, Beirut and Cape Town as the most dangerous cities in the world currently not experiencing an armed national conflict.

A woman prays in front of crosses in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, known as 'The Murder Capital of the World'

A woman prays in front of crosses in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, known as 'The Murder Capital of the World'

However, last month, the city reported the lowest number of murders in more than three years.

Chihuahua's state prosecutor's office reported 73 killings for May, the lowest number since March 2009, when 73 people were also reported murdered.

Jorge González Nicolás, the head of the state prosecutor's office said that he was happy with the lower number, but said there was still more work to be done.

'These are not figures we should applaud or go boast anywhere. These are still very high homicide figures,' said González to the El Paso Times.

View of arms at the laboratory of the forensic medical service of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico on May 1, 2012. More than 40,000 people have been killed in rising drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006

View of arms at the laboratory of the forensic medical service of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico on May 1, 2012. More than 40,000 people have been killed in rising drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006

'But for those of us who know how things were and we compare to what was going on in 2009 and 2010, we know we're on the right track. Our job is to reduce it much more.'

Since the violence between the rival drug cartels exploded into life in 2008, authorities estimate more than 10,500 people have been killed.

Monday, 11 June 2012

In the violent and volatile drug underworld, the killing of Earl "Easy" Clary in September 2010 was neither surprising nor remarkable.

Posted On 14:37 0 comments

 Clary, 29, was shot to death in a dispute with a rival dealer over narcotics trafficking along Sheridan Street in South Camden, according to police reports and investigative records. "Easy was having a problem with the lower end of Sheridan Street," one informant told investigators. Another said that a few weeks before he was killed, Clary and an associate had "shot up the bottom of the block," wounding a worker for the rival dealer. For years, drugs, money, and violence have been a lethal mix in dozens of Camden's beleaguered neighborhoods. Law-abiding residents are "under siege," a top police official said recently. Clary's murder was one of 37 reported in Camden in 2010, most of them tied to the drug trade. With a population of about 77,000, Camden has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. As of Thursday, there had been 24 killings in the city this year, and most of those also have been connected to the drug underworld, according to Camden County authorities. But there is a twist to the Clary case. Brandy Hicks, the low-level dealer charged with the Sept. 27, 2010, homicide, could have been in state prison serving a four-year sentence for drug dealing at the time he allegedly gunned Clary down. Instead, Hicks, 29, was on the streets. He was among nearly 200 suspected dealers whose cases were dismissed or whose sentences were vacated because of potentially tainted evidence submitted by corrupt city officers assigned to an elite antidrug unit. Hicks, one of more than 100 defendants who are suing Camden and the state for wrongful arrest and imprisonment, contends in a lawsuit filed in federal court that members of the unit, including since-convicted Officer Antonio Figueroa, fabricated the case against him. Figueroa and others planted heroin and cocaine on him after stopping him on Westfield Avenue in September 2008, Hicks has alleged. Found guilty of possessing and selling drugs in a school zone, Hicks was sentenced to four years in prison. He had served 589 days when the sentence was vacated. He was released March 31, 2010. Six months later, police say, he shot and killed Clary. Hicks is now in the Camden County Jail, awaiting trial on murder and weapons charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. According to statistics compiled by the Prosecutor's Office, he is one of 24 defendants freed in the corruption scandal who have been rearrested. Most have been charged with narcotics offenses. There are also two robbery charges and a domestic-violence case. Hicks is the only one facing a homicide rap. "There is violence associated with the drug trade," said Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk, who would not comment directly on the Hicks case. People who get involved in the business often see violence as a way to "move up" in the underworld, he said. "It was a no-win situation for us," Faulk said of the decision to vacate convictions in connection with the police-corruption investigation. "The majority of these cases were probably valid arrests. I don't look at these as innocent people wrongfully convicted, and it offends me as a prosector that under the law they would be entitled to this remuneration." It comes as no surprise, he said, that many of those who were released are again using and dealing drugs. For many, it's a way of life that a prison term is not going to change, Faulk said. Even as he sits in jail, Hicks remains a plaintiff in civil litigation wending its way through federal and state court. The federal cases, with the City of Camden as the primary defendant, could take years to resolve. The state cases are less problematic. Under New Jersey law, the Attorney General's Office is required to pay $54 for each day of wrongful imprisonment. Hicks' lawyer in the civil litigation, Richard D. Cordry, said the state cases were being processed and he was confident Hicks would be compensated. He is in line for about $32,000, Cordry said. Hicks' claim was bolstered when Figueroa was convicted of conspiracy charges during a federal trial in December. A jury found he had routinely planted evidence, stolen money, fabricated police reports, and lied in grand jury testimony. Three other members of the unit, also named in Hicks' suit, pleaded guilty to similar charges and testified against Figueroa. Each faces up to 10 years in prison. The sentencings, originally set for this month, have been put off until later in the year. Coincidentally, the disgraced former officers could stand before a federal judge at the same time Hicks goes on trial in state Superior Court for the Clary murder. Last week on Sheridan Street, several neighbors said they remembered Clary, who was a familiar face in the neighborhood. They declined to talk about his shooting. "I don't know about his business, but he was a good guy," one said. The street, just off Mount Ephraim Avenue, is a mix of rowhouses, abandoned and boarded-up buildings, and vacant lots. Brick walls are marked with graffiti. The porch of a vacant building had been turned into a memorial for an 18-year-old who residents said had been shot and killed two weeks earlier. Instead of flowers, it was covered with nearly 100 neatly arranged bottles of beer, rum, vodka, and scotch whose contents had apparently been consumed in memory of the victim. There were also dozens of empty plastic vials and containers, the kind used to distribute crack cocaine. Drugs and violence take a heavy toll on the block, according to a woman who said three of her grandsons had been killed in the neighborhood. She, too, remembered Clary's killing but wouldn't discuss it. The evidence against Hicks includes an eyewitness identification by a friend of Clary's who was with him on the night of the shooting. According to a police report, Clary and the associate were sitting in a parked car when Hicks walked up. Clary got out and had a discussion with Hicks, the witness said. The witness, who at first was reluctant to give officials Hicks' name, told one of Clary's sisters her brother had been shot by a man with a disfigured left eye. Hicks, nicknamed "Storm," injured his left eye in a BB gun accident as a child, police said.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Gang trio charged with attempting to murder cop

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A trio of Norteño gangmembers who prosecutors say fired on a San Bruno cop while on their way to kill a rival appeared in court yesterday, including one former state prisoner who would have qualified for release as a non-serious offender under the new terms of realignment. 

Daniel Garcia, 23, Jordy Bernal, 18, and Michael Apolinario, 25, each appeared in court on charges of attempted murder on a peace officer, conspiracy to commit murder, being a gangmember and assault with a deadly weapon. Garcia is also charged with car theft, recklessly evading a police officer and personally discharging a firearm. All delayed entering pleas until June 27. 

The trio were allegedly on their way to shoot an opposing gangmember when police responded to calls of suspicious individuals in a residential San Bruno neighborhood near Belle Air Elementary School at approximately 1:45 a.m. May 26. An officer saw a car carrying three people, later identified as the defendants, and followed after the vehicle went through a stop sign. The driver reportedly did not respond to the officer’s lights and a pursuit followed until the three men fled the vehicle.

The officer chased Garcia who pulled out a gun and fired two rounds, according to prosecutors. 

The officer returned fire but neither he nor Garcia were hit. 

Police found Apolinario and Bernal hiding nearby and arrested Garcia later that evening.

The gun was found the next day in a backyard by a 9-year-old boy playing with his sister. He showed the gun to his mother and asked if he could play with it, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Bernal only has a misdemeanor on his criminal record but both Apolinario and Garcia were recently released from prison. Apolinario is on eight years probation out of Texas for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and deadly discharge of a firearm. In 2008, he was sent to a California prison for five years on a gang felony.

Garcia served prison time for drug possession and was released ahead of the new state realignment rules. However, Wagstaffe said under the new release guidelines for inmates with non-serious convictions Garcia would have qualified. Wagstaffe said that shows even non-serious offenders can commit serious crimes.

“Some of these people are pretty darn evil and Mr. Garcia qualifies,” Wagstaffe said.

All three men remain in custody without bail.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

crack down on gangs following Eaton Centre shooting

Posted On 11:41 0 comments

Toronto police are about to crack down on gangs operating across two divisions near the city’s core in the wake of the Eaton Centre shooting. “We are going to take back the neighbourhoods,” a police source told the Star. The initiative, nicknamed Project Post, will target two gangs, the Project Originals and Sic Thugs. (Post is an acronym of their names.) The police project will launch in the next few days. A meeting will be held Wednesday to map out operational plans. The plan was actually in the development stage for the past two or three weeks, but has gained a new sense of urgency after one man was fatally shot and six others wounded in a barrage of gunfire at the mall’s food court just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The accused shooter, Christopher Husbands, 23, and the city’s 21st homicide victim, Ahmed Hassan, 24, were members of the Sic Thugs, police said. A third, unidentified man who is still in hospital with neck and chest wounds is believed to be a member of the Sic Thugs. Husbands faces one count of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder. There was only one gunman, police say. Project Post’s multi-tiered response will involve enforcement and a community information campaign as well as the Guns and Gangs Task Force and TAVIS rapid-response teams. The project will also involve everything from rounding up suspected criminals, more bail compliance checks, identifying who the players are, stepped-up patrols and finding gang members and associates on outstanding arrest warrants. Police are investigating whether there is a link between the Eaton Centre shooting and one earlier that day on Grange Court, near Dundas St. W. and Spadina Ave. In that shooting, a man was targeted on the street. Police believe they know who the shooter is and that it is likely gang related. Many of the shootings have occurred in Regent Park in 51 Division and Alexandra Park in 14 Division, the focus of Project Post. However, 52 Division will be targeted as well because this division, which extends west from Yonge St. to Spadina Ave., lies between the other two and gangs have been known to cross territories. There has been a spike in shootings in the Regent Park and Alexandra Park areas in the past few months and police want to “do something about it before it gets worse,” the source said. Hassan and others stabbed and robbed Husbands on Feb. 28, a public housing official said. On May 28, shots were fired outside Hassan’s Regent Park apartment on Dundas St., prompting him to move away and stay with friends near Spadina Ave. and Alexandra Park. The Sic Thugs and Project Originals have been on the police radar for at least two years. They are loosely organized groups involving aspiring rappers who ply the drug trade. In January 2007, police said they had taken out the leadership of the Project Originals after arresting five young men in a raid on the Atkinson Co-op west of Spadina Ave., between Dundas and Queen Sts. In all, nine people were arrested after police executed search warrants in the Vanauley Walk area. Police laid 39 charges including cocaine trafficking, failing to comply with a recognizance order and robbery. They also seized 100 grams of crack cocaine and 255 grams of cocaine. About two years ago, a rap studio in the Cherry Beach area was raided and about 10 people were arrested, Hassan among them. A community meeting was held in September 2010 to discuss the two gangs’ criminal activity. One month earlier, Project Diffuse was put into action to respond to shootings and assaults between the gangs. Members from both groups were involved in drug trafficking, assaults, robberies and firearms offences. Part of the police response was to check on those released from detention to ensure they were observing their release conditions. However, in the Eaton Centre shootings, the accused was under house arrest for a sex assault charge.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Eaton Centre shooting victim wanted to leave gang past behind

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One of the victims of Saturdays shooting at the Eaton Centre was working toward getting away from his past gang affiliation, according to a Toronto gang-activist. The victim, in his early 20s, started with the Breaking the Cycle program in Scarborough just a few months ago. According to the program’s director, Gary Newman, he was doing well and enjoying the program. “He had two job placements; he works four days a week,” said Newman. “He’s been committed, willing to participate – and that’s a big part – he’s a guy that’s willing and wants … to see a better future for himself.” A court-ordered publication ban prevents Global News from publishing the names of the shooting victims. Breaking the Cycle is a Toronto-area program, run through the Canadian Training Institute, that helps people aged 15 to 30, break out of violent, dangerous lifestyles, their association with gangs, and move towards a more productive and safe life. Since the program’s inception in 2003, the program has helped approximately 350 people, with 88 per cent of those having graduated. Sixty-seven per cent of those who had graduated are employed, in school, and not participating in gangs. The victim who was participating in the Breaking the Cycle program was referred to the program by a past participant and graduate – something that, according to Newman, is a cycle that helps get people into the program and off the streets. “What happens a lot of times is, people who graduate the program go back to their friends in the neighbourhoods and will tell them to go to this program, and it will help you,” Newman said. “The hard part for him – I would assume – is that safety – is being able to be safe, and trying to be reintegrated and enjoying himself in a Saturday afternoon.” Six people were shot on Saturday at the Eaton Centre in an incident that Toronto police believe is not gang-related – though three of the victims were gang-affiliated. “It’s the mind-state that promotes that violent lifestyle. It’s being able to feel safe and to trust again,” said Newman. Though some of the participants in the program are facing trouble because of recent budget cuts, said Newman. “The program used to be funded to take place five days a week, six hours a day and that was all on site, one to one counselling. Now the program, through funding cuts, is to have all of our guys in work placements four days a week, then counselling one day a week,” said Newman. The victim may have been affected by that sudden cut in funding, Newman suggested. “So because of the push to get these guys employed so fast, we forget to get them settled, to be safe, to be employed. So he’s a guy that falls into that unfortunate part,” Newman said.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Indictment describes life inside infamous ‘Bloods’ gang in Gastonia

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Police say Gastonia streets are safer following the roundup of dozens of gang members indicted in a federal case that details murder plots, drug deals and robberies. The 27 people charged are members or associates of the United Blood Nation – more commonly known as the infamous “Bloods” gang, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The suspects, many of whom live in the Gaston County area, were arrested May 18. The 59-page indictment, unsealed this week in U.S. District Court, details meetings between gang members, plans to threaten witnesses, drug transactions and a shooting. The alleged crimes were discovered by authorities during a two-year investigation. The majority of the allegations, which resulted in mostly federal racketeering and drug charges, occurred in Gaston County. “They brought nothing but bad news and violence to these neighborhoods,” said Gastonia Police Sgt. Jeff Clark. The Bloods formed in Los Angeles in the 1970s and spread across the country during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, the indictment says. The gang was divided into units or “sets” that affiliated with a particular street, neighborhood or area. But in 1993, gang leaders incarcerated at Rikers Island Prison in New York decided the gang should be united and created the “United Blood Nation.” The UBN expanded across the East Coast, prosecutors said, with a strict command hierarchy and a national council. The indictment identifies 41-year-old Franklin Robbs as leader of the UBN in North Carolina. Robbs, who is known by his gang name “Frankie Boo,” is in a North Carolina prison, but he has communicated with gang members with a contraband cellphone, prosecutors said. Clark said Gaston County is not a hotbed for gang activity and that Gastonia doesn’t have a higher concentration of gang members than other cities. But the local Bloods investigation began in 2010 when Gastonia investigators noticed a string of break-ins and learned that the suspects were stealing guns to use in other gang-related crimes, he said. Gastonia police contacted the FBI, and together they launched an investigation with the help of authorities in Mecklenburg, Gaston and Cleveland counties. The indictment details the dates and locations of gang members’ meetings known as “pow wows,” where dues are collected and gang business is discussed. At a June 2011 pow wow in Shelby, members issued discipline to others who had broken gang rules. The same month, several Bloods members directed that a non-gang member be killed. That day, Jaimel “I-Shine” Davidson, 28, tried to carry out the plan but was unsuccessful, prosecutors said. Two months later, Joston “Ace” Clemmer, 21, and Marquise “Rambo” Watson, 20, both of Gastonia committed an armed home invasion robbery in Shelby, the indictment says. Authorities also connected the gang activity to a September 2008 Gastonia shooting. Prosecutors said Clemmer, Maurice “Hell Rell” Terrell Robinson, 22, of Lincolnton and Tristan “Buck” Goode, 20, of Ranlo planned to rob a drug dealer at his home on Drake Street. But Clark said the suspects went to the wrong apartment and shot an innocent 27-year-old man who opened the door. The arrests will make a “huge difference” in the community but there is still work to be done, Clark said. Police know that Bloods members, as well as other gang members, are still in the community, he said, and they will continue to investigate. “We know we have gangs in our town,” Clark said. “When we get a chance to bring charges against them, we do. This is not the end.”

Teen Shot in Gang-Related Fight Near Westside Trestle

Posted On 23:10 0 comments

teenager was shot near the railroad tracks in Santa Cruz on Friday night in a gang-related incident, police said. Police responded to reports of gunshots near the railroad tracks underneath the West Cliff Trestle at 8:04 p.m. Initial reports were that a person with a gun was shooting at several others who were running away. When police arrived, they found a 16-year-old boy suffering from gunshot wounds to his lower body. That victim was flown to a trauma center with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to police. Nearby, police found a victim who had not been hit by the gunfire, a 28-year-old Santa Cruz resident. Police learned that the incident was potentially gang related and that as many as five suspects were involved. Officers established a perimeter and searched the area with the assistance of a Watsonville police dog. Police are interviewing one person found near the corner of Bay and Centennial streets to determine if he was involved, however no suspects are in custody. All of the suspects are believed to be between 18 and 25 years old. Three are Hispanic, one is about 5 feet 8 inches tall, 150 pounds with black hair and brown eyes and was wearing black pants with a white t-shirt. Another is 5 feet 6 inches tall and 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes and was wearing black pants and a white shirt, possibly carrying a backpack. The third is 5 feet 10 inches and 150 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes, and a stocky muscular build and was wearing dark pants, a white shirt, a backpack and a black baseball cap with red outlined lettering. Two of the suspects are white; one is 5 feet 8 inches tall, 130 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and wearing dark pants and a white or gray shirt. The other is 6 feet 2 inches tall, 170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes and wearing black pants, a white shirt and white shoes.

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