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Friday, 21 September 2012

The four are young Indian Posse gang associates who conspired together to carry out the robbery, while making careful efforts to avoid detection by disguising themselves and wearing socks over their hands to not leave behind fingerprints.

Posted On 10:39 0 comments

The general public would be shocked and its confidence in the justice system undermined if a 13-year-old street gang member accused of being the “planner” in an alarming robbery-conspiracy case were granted bail, a Manitoba judge said Tuesday.

“I’m satisfied the Crown has a pretty strong case against you,” Judge Carena Roller told the boy, who appeared close to tears after learning he wasn’t getting out.

“You explained to police that this was your idea,” Roller said in assessing the circumstances of the case against him.

“There is potential for a lengthy jail sentence,” Roller added.

Roller’s decision to keep the boy locked up represents a major legal win for Manitoba Justice.

Prosecutor Sheila Seesahai advanced a rarely used argument that bailing the boy out would undermine public confidence in the justice system.

The youth has no prior criminal record. He is presumed innocent.

The teen is jointly accused with three other youths aged 14, 15 and 17, with hatching what was described to Roller as a “chilling” criminal plot to knock over a Mountain Avenue convenience store on Aug. 1 for drug money using a stolen sawed-off shotgun.

Police and the Crown allege the four are young Indian Posse gang associates who conspired together to carry out the robbery, while making careful efforts to avoid detection by disguising themselves and wearing socks over their hands to not leave behind fingerprints.

The heist was foiled just moments before it was set to unfold after a passerby — dubbed a “Good Samaritan” by the Crown — called 911 after growing suspicious about seeing the group of youths huddled outside the store wearing extra garments on a very hot night.

The 13-year-old admitted to police the gun was his, telling them it was stolen from a break and enter on Selkirk Avenue earlier in the summer, the Crown said at a previous hearing.

Despite his age, he managed to keep the weapon in his mother’s home while modifying it into an easily concealed sawed-off firearm, Roller was told.

His defence lawyer, Scott Newman, fought the Crown’s opposition to bail and an appeal of Roller’s decision to a higher court is possible.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the maximum sentence he faces is three years of custody and community supervision. He cannot be sentenced as an adult given his age.

The 14-year-old co-accused withdrew his bail application prior to Roller giving her decision Tuesday. He may re-apply at a later date.

Arrested three members of the Diamond Cut street gang

Posted On 10:23 0 comments

Arrested three members of the Diamond Cut street gang and are searching for two more, following Wednesday’s raids at five area houses, according to Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer.

The gang members have a “deep history of narcotics trafficking, gun violence and conflict related to rival gangs in the area,” Plummer said Thursday afternoon.

Arrested were Brandon “Ace” Smith, Quentin “Big Mike” Clemons and Leo “Butter” Boykins, Plummer said. Investigators were still searching for Marcus “Rosco” Ross and Quentin “Q” Robinson. All five face federal charges related to narcotics trafficking, Plummer said.

As of late Thursday, no federal indictments had been unsealed concerning the five defendants, according to U.S. District Court records.

The raids were done by the Montgomery County Regional Agencies Narcotics and Gun Enforcement Task Force (RANGE) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and were the result of a seven-month undercover investigation.

The raids were at houses on Heatherstone Drive, Ethel Avenue, Anna Drive, Alder Avenue and Greenwich Village Avenue, all in Dayton.

The gang members had been active across Montgomery County, Plummer said, selling drugs in Trotwood, Miamisburg, Miami Twp., Englewood and Huber Heights, Plummer said.

“They play by their own rules,” Plummer said. “They all have histories of gun violence.”

Cellphones, prostitutes, drugs, plasma TVs, you name it. If you have enough money, you can live inside the prison as you would outside the prison

Posted On 10:21 0 comments

Needing to replenish its ranks, Mexico’s brutal Los Zetas crime gang has refined the tactic of springing hundreds of its members in mass jailbreaks. But unlike the Hollywood version, the jailbreaks don’t involve overcoming guards, crawling through dingy tunnels and scattering once outside the fence. Instead, scores of dangerous inmates simply walk or drive out the gates in cahoots with wardens and prison guards.

The jailbreaks, including one this week in which 129 inmates fled a state prison near Piedras Negras, across from Eagle Pass, Texas, lay bare Mexico’s broken penitentiary system, where wardens either bend to organized crime or face death.

Prosecutors Wednesday arrested the warden, the security chief and 14 watchtower and cellblock guards for allegedly letting the prisoners escape on Monday.

A crude 23-foot-long tunnel was found in the prison’s woodworking shop leading outside the wall. But prosecutors say the tunnel was just a cover and that inmates walked out or were driven out of the prison in connivance with guards.

“It is impossible that they all left through the tunnel at once, as the (prison) authorities argue,” said Homero Ramos, the attorney general for the surrounding state of Coahuila. “They’d probably been leaving for days until this blew up and they couldn’t hide it anymore.”

“They definitely didn’t leave through the tunnel,” echoed Jorge Luis Moran, the state’s public security chief, adding that the escapees are believed to have gone to neighboring Tamaulipas state, a stronghold of Los Zetas.

Los Zetas have regained hundreds of gang members in jailbreaks in recent years. El Economista, a Mexico City newspaper, said it had reviewed prison records and found that 546 accused Zetas gangsters or sympathizers have gone free since May 2008.

“The risk is very low and the benefits are very high for Los Zetas,” said Alberto Islas, a security analyst at Risk Evaluation Inc., a Mexico City consulting firm. “You’re getting people out of jail who . . . are already trained.

“This is a way for them to regain and reinforce their movement.”

Law enforcement authorities rarely recapture fugitive inmates. Four days after the Piedras Negras incident, agents have recaptured three of the fugitives, despite a reward equivalent to $15,500 each offered by the Coahuila state government.

One of those captured, Pablo Sanchez Campos, who was awaiting trial on robbery charges, told authorities that he saw other inmates leave through the prison’s main gate and decided to join them.


Analysts describe the situation in some of Mexico’s state and federal prisons as “self-government,” with inmates in charge and guards entering at their own risk.

In the Piedras Negras prison, said Raul Benitez Manaut, a political scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, inmates “had total control” and had gained “the support of the guards and the warden.”

“It was really a center of operations for Los Zetas,” Benitez said.

The prison had no functioning closed-circuit television system, and unauthorized vehicles were seen entering the prison earlier Monday.


At least 23 significant prison breaks have occurred since President Felipe Calderon came to office in late 2006. All have been at state prisons.

Monday’s was the largest jailbreak since 141 inmates broke out of the prison in Nuevo Laredo on Dec. 17, 2010.

Serving as prison warden is one of the most dangerous jobs in Mexico, and numerous wardens have either been assassinated or bent to the will of gangsters.

In the past two years, hit squads have killed prison wardens in Hermosillo (Jan. 3, 2011), Nuevo Laredo (March 15, 2011), Lazaro Cardenas (March 18, 2011) and Saltillo (Dec. 13, 2011), as well as slaying family members of wardens in several other cities.

A month ago, the warden of a prison in Zacatecas, Fabiola Quiroz Zarate, ordered the transfer of dozens of dangerous inmates to other jails. A day later, gunmen broke into her house and kidnapped her and two family members. Neither the 43-year-old Quiroz nor her family members have been seen since.

Unable to bear the threats, or enticed by bribes, or both, some wardens go to the dark side. Perhaps the most extreme case occurred in July 2010, when prosecutors said a prison warden in Durango state allowed inmates to go free at night, handed over weapons and official vehicles and allowed them to carry out three contract killings that left 35 people dead.


Claudia Rodriguez, a columnist for the Quadratin digital news website, wrote Thursday that events this week “reveal to us and confirm that prisons rehabilitate criminals by day while at night they are allowed to leave and, without doubt, are even given guns so they can be paid killers.”

Benitez said the faltering penitentiary system would be one of President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto’s challenges when he takes office Dec. 1.

Since federal prisons cannot hold all those charged with federal crimes related to drug trafficking, thousands of dangerous inmates are handed down for incarceration in less-secure state prisons, he said.

The lax security is evident in periodic news reports about jails with cellblocks equipped with cantinas and apartments with creature comforts.

“Cellphones, prostitutes, drugs, plasma TVs, you name it. If you have enough money, you can live inside the prison as you would outside the prison,” Islas said.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Griselda Blanco, gunned down in Medellin, Colombia Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown

Posted On 16:34 0 comments

Florida Department of Corrections

Griselda Blanco in 2004.

The convicted Colombian drug smuggler known as the “Godmother of Cocaine,” Griselda Blanco, 69, was gunned down by a motorcycle-riding assassin in Medellin, Colombian national police confirmed late Monday, according to the Miami Herald.

Blanco spent nearly 20 years in prison in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders before being deported to Colombia in 2004, the Herald reported.

Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown, and one shot her twice in the head, the Herald reported, citing a report in El Colombiano newspaper.

Family members said Blanco had cut her ties to organized crime after returning to her country, the BBC reported. Police said they were investigating the motive.

Blanco was one of the first to engage in large-scale smuggling of cocaine into the United States from Colombia and set up many of the routes used by the Medellin cartel after she was sentenced in the United States in 1985, the BBC reported.

Investigators told the Herald that they estimate conservatively that Blanco was behind about 40 slayings. She was convicted in connection with three murders: Arranging the killing of two South Miami drug dealers who had not paid for a delivery, and ordering the assassination of a former enforcer for her organization, an operation that resulted in the death of the target’s 2-year-old son, the Herald reported.

Three of Blanco’s husbands were killed in violence related to drugs, the Herald reported, and one of her sons was named Michael Corleone, a reference to “The Godfather” movies.

Blanco is credited with originating motorcycle assassinations, the Herald reported.

“This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword,” filmmaker Billy Corben, who with Alfred Spellman made two “Cocaine Cowboys” documentaries, told the Herald. “Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin.”

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