• Fri, July 05, 2013 9:10 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    SYRACUSE -- A Syracuse man pleads guilty to an unsolved murder, admitting he was part of a gang that shot and killed a rival gang member.

    22-year-old Jarrell Williams pled guilty to an indictment that charged him and 13 others to conspiring to exploit their membership in the Bricktown Gang to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity which included multiple acts of murder, drug trafficking and robbery. Eleven other defendants have already pled guilty and the charges against two others are still pending.

    Williams admits he shot a rival gang member in the back along the 100 block of Cannon Street on September 4, 2007 and later that evening fired several shots, killing Anthony Ford and wounded a woman in the head.

    As part of his plea, Williams also admits that the Bricktown Gang has operated within the City of Syracuse from at least 2000 through the present and that members of the Bricktown Gang maintain a specific geographic territory within the City of Syracuse in which only gang members can sell crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana, protect that exclusive crack distribution territory with violence if necessary and obtain drugs from suppliers in New York City and elsewhere. He admits they project a very violent attitude and respond to violence with violence in order to preserve their stature in the gang community, on occasion use hand signs, wear blue colored bandanas and have tattoos, all of which are intended to signify their gang membership, use criteria such as willingness to use violence, ability to sell drugs, and familial connections to determine membership and routinely carry and use firearms in connection with their gang activity.

    Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30, 2013. He faces up to life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to five years of supervised release.

  • Fri, July 05, 2013 9:09 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Deandre Kelly grew up with Xavier Granville in the Beach 41st Street Houses in Far Rockaway - a cluster of public housing apartments along a desolate stretch of Queens near the shoreline. They began hanging out in elementary school, bonding over X-Box video games and basketball.

    They soon became inseparable. And when the pair was in high school, they both became members of the 40 Boys, a street crew also known as The Flamer Gang. Like many local crews, the gang was a draw for other youths living in and around the complex.

    "Whatever he had, we had," Deandre said. "Whatever I had, they had. That's how it was . . . If I got $4 in my pocket, they got $4 in their pocket."

    So when Xavier, 17, was shot in the head and killed by a masked gunman last December as he was leaving a birthday party for Deandre's girlfriend - in rival territory - his loved ones knew it was no accident.

    "I think it was a setup," said Tanisha Mewborn, who was celebrating her birthday and threw the party.

    The NYPD estimates that, unlike more traditional gangs like the Crips and Bloods, there are about 300 of these crews operating in and around the city's housing projects. Police say they're responsible for 30 percent of the shootings citywide. And, if the past is any guide, the summer is when tensions between crews are more likely to boil over.

    Experts say most active street crew members are black and Latino youth ages 14 to 25. Membership can start much earlier, with kids as young as 8.

    Two suspects were arrested in Xavier's shooting, but authorities won't confirm what his friends and family say they're certain of: that they are members of a rival crew.

    (Photo: The Beach 41st Street Houses, one of the public housing buildings in the city claimed by street crews as turf. Courtesy of Stan Gaz)

    Homegrown Enemies

    Much of the violence stems from disputes between crews like The Flamer Gang, which has a long standing beef with crews from nearby projects such as Redfern, Edgemere and Hammel Houses.

    Last year, 42 percent of homicides were motivated by retaliation, according to the police department.

    Those conflicts often play out on social media and can be a harbinger of violence to come.

    In a YouTube video posted the month Xavier was shot, Deandre speaks directly to a rival Crew: "I'm gripping my Glock, 2012 is crazy now we're beefing with the Flock."

    As he raps, he's surrounded by fellow crew members who take turns in front of the camera, sharing derogatory rhymes against the backdrop of the crimson elevators and the sterile cinder-block hallways of the Beach 41st Street Houses.

    The Flock, the rival gang, posted its rebuttal on YouTube in video that uses the same beat as the Flamer Gang's song and cooly references Xavier's murder.

    "When you see my face you better take your last breath/I didn';t really want to do it/but I had to. Put myself in your shoes, I'd be mad too," a member raps.

    (Photo: Deandre Kelly and Tanisha Mewborn, both 18, in Far Rockaway. Courtesy of Stan Gaz)

    The NYPD has stepped up its monitoring of social media platforms in a strategy called Operation Crew Cut and it recently doubled its gang division.

    A take-down in April led to indictments of 63 members of the Air it Out, Whoadey and True Money gangs in East Harlem. Officials monitored them for several years before pursuing charges that including murder, assault and gun trafficking.

    These groups are a huge draw for youths living in economically depressed areas who feel marginalized, according to professor David Brotherton, chair of the Sociology Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who's been studying gangs for two decades.

    "You want to be somebody, and yet in daily life you're a nobody," he said. "You live in the projects . . . in a sense, you're visible due to your marginality... yet if you're in a gang or some deviant group you're very visible. And, in fact, you strike fear in the very people who want to make you invisible."

    Beyond visibility, some kids say they have little choice whether to be a part of a crew because the lines are already drawn depending on where they live.

    "No one should be able to tell you where you can and can't go," said Tanisha Mewborn. "It shouldn't be like that. You should be able to go to your grandma's house."

    (Photo: The 40 Boys marked its turf inside the Beach 41st Street Houses. Courtesy of Stan Gaz)

    Two Sides of the Street

    In the South Bronx, the St. Mary's Park Houses community center was buzzing with youths playing pool or getting ready to the watch a basketball game on a recent afternoon.

    A tall black teen with a baby face was one them. He declined to give his name but said he's a been a member of the crew known as the Jackson Avenue Gunners for about a decade, since he was 10.

    His is one of two crews at St. Mary's who claim opposite sides of the street.

    He said he joined by simply befriending other members and said the family-connection synonymous with the mafia was a draw.

    "If something happens to me, they'd go out of their way," he said. "Like if I don't have money, they give me money."

    The teen said he feels a deep connection to the Gunners and loves the adrenalin rush he gets when he's with them. But when pressed, he admits that an ongoing beef with a rival crew has resulted in a death on each side.

    (Photo: Beefs between crews often play out and escalate on social media. Before he was shot, 17 year Xavier Granville posted a picture of himself outside a rival's housing complex. Courtesy of Facebook)

    In spite of the danger, he admitted he doesn't want to leave the crew. But the young man said he also wants to find a way to finish school and get a job so he can help his family move out of St. Mary's, calling it a "bad environment."

    Abdul Malik Talib 40, is a mentor with a program called Arches. He's been trying to motivate young adults in the South Bronx to expand worlds made chokingly small by these ongoing conflicts. But he said it can be tough because grudges often last years.

    "They've been doing this (beefing) since their mothers and fathers were kids living in the projects," he said of two rival Bronx gangs. "But in the same mention they still have passion and compassion and want to be loved and curdled and all that stuff too."

  • Fri, July 05, 2013 9:07 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Rochester man convicted of his role in a violent street gang to 50 years in prison.

    U.S. District Judge Charles Siragusa sentenced Dearick Smith, 23, for his role in a group known as the “Wolfpack” and “Chain Gang.”

    Smith and other members of the gang, which was linked to the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Carmella Rodgers, were prosecuted under federal racketeering statutes. The federal jury determined that Smith was one of three men involved in a conspiracy that caused Rodgers’ death.

    Testimony at a five-week trial in 2011 showed gang members were also involved in the attempted slayings of individuals in rival gangs.

    The gang’s drug-dealing and violence was centered in the areas of Chamberlain and Garson avenues, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Gregory, the lead prosecutor in the case.

    Under federal guidelines, Smith would be eligible for parole in 42 and a half years, at age 65, if he behaves in prison.

  • Mon, June 24, 2013 3:47 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    The bill makes participating in gang related activity a felony.

    Senator Lee M. Zeldin of Shirley announced Friday the Senate passed the Criminal Street Gang Act. Zeldin and Senator Martin Golden sponsored the bill in hopes of putting a dent in gang violence. The bill was inspired by community activists in Brentwood and Central Islip, family members affected by violence, and state and local officials who held peaceful rallies these last few weeks.
    “The threat of gang violence in some of New York’s communities is constant and pervasive, plaguing entire communities. It jeopardizes public safety, threatens the security of our citizens and wreaks havoc on affected families,” said Senator Zeldin. “The State has an express responsibility to protect the public against such destructive criminal activity and this bill aims to do just that.”
    The bill makes felons out of anyone participating in criminal street gang offenses, the acceptance of benefits or proceeds of gang activity, and the solicitation or recruitment of a person for involvement in a criminal street gang. It also creates anti-crime programs through the State Education Department by establishing a fund to educators so students can gain self values, self-esteem, knowledge, and the skills necessary to stay off the streets.
    Also with such high rates of recidivism, Zeldin hopes this bill will show inmates the dangers of being in a gang. More importantly it will provide support services to help them get out safely.
    “Too many New York families have been shattered by gang violence. Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen, first-hand, the tremendous pain criminal gang activity can cause, not only on the family members of the victims, but to an entire community. Enough is enough,” Said Zeldin. “I am incredibly proud of the comprehensive statutory framework we have created with this legislation, and I want to thank Senator Golden for his work on this bill as well as all of the community leaders whose passion and determination helped drive its passage.”
  • Mon, June 24, 2013 3:45 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are teaming up to break the continuing cycle of violence, drug dealing and gang activity crushing city neighborhoods and the residents who in many cases have become hostages in the neighborhoods.

    U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, along with Rochester Police and representatives from several other law enforcement agencies, announced Friday the arrest and indictment of three men allegedly connected to a west-side gang known as “M.D.B.” or “The Broezel Boys”.

    Indicted are Jacob “JJ” Rivera, 22, Kevin “Nash” Feliciano, 19, and Marius “Florida” Johnson, 27, all of Rochester. They facing federal charges of narcotics trafficking, including conspiracy to possess and distribute crack cocaine and marijuana. The men are also facing gun charges in federal court.

    If convicted, they could face a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of life, authorities said.

    “We are all committed to ridding the streets of Rochester of violent, drug-dealing organizations,” said Hochul at a press conference Friday. “Yesterday, a federal grand jury indicted three particular individuals who were leaders and members of a particular gang.”

    The press conference was held at the corner of Dewey and Lexington avenues, the center of the alleged gang activity, according to police. The gang allegedly controlled an open-air drug market in the area surrounding the intersection and operated several drug houses, including apartments on Lexington Avenue, Lakeview Park and West Main Street.

    Federal authorities said the houses were used for processing, manufacturing and distributing drugs. Members of the gang also frequently possessed guns and used violence and threats to control the sale of drugs in the area, investigators said.

    “We are taking the fight literally to the streets of Rochester,” Hochul said.

  • Fri, June 21, 2013 12:03 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Nearly a dozen leaders of a notorious Bronx gang who built a pile of cash and drugs by ripping off homes and robbing drug dealers were behind bars on Thursday, officials said.

    Investigators with the Special Narcotics Gang Prosecution Unit, the NYPD and the Bronx District Attorney found that 11 kingpins with the gang 6 Wild organized dozens of armed robberies over the last two years aimed at cocaine and heroin dealers in Morrisania, officials said.

    "This group carried out vicious assaults, robberies and drug dealing," said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan. "Each and every activity they were involved in threatened the safety of the people in their community."

    Prosecutors unsealed a 58-count indictment against the gangbangers, charging them with a slew of crimes that include conspiracy to commit attempted murder, robbery and assault.

    Authorities said that the crew undefined which stole as much as three kilos of cocaine in one heist undefined also violently attacked innocent people in at least three robberies.

    A trio of gangbangers undefined Jameekga (Fresh) Joseph, 23, Dashawn (Weezy) Hill, 22, and Lionel (Jaba) Johnson, 20 undefined allegedly beat the brother of a drug dealer unconscious with a frying pan Feb. 7, 2012, authorities said.

    The three men burst into his home and put a gun to the man's head, demanding cash and drugs undefined but nothing was found in the house, officials said.

    After they pummeled the man, the crew grabbed a stash of jewelry, clothes and money before they ran away, officials said.

    In most of the home invasion robberies, the gang enlisted young girls and boys to run guns and get close to their targets so they could gather information on stash spots and the best time to attack, officials said.

    "The 6 Wild crew thought that by using young women, juvenile boys and stashed guns they would evade police," said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "They were wrong."


    The ruthless crew also caused at least a dozen bloody confrontations with rival gang members on the street leading to several shootings, according to the probe.

    Gang members even bragged about their earnings on social media by using code words like "Grip," "Glocc," "Tool" and "Bike" for a firearm, and "Krills," "Yams" and "Grizz" for drugs, authorities said.

    One gang member, Branden Cullins, posted a picture to his Facebook account showing the word "Wild" spelled out in cash, officials said.

    Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said the takedown will help the neighborhood feel a little safer.

    "Our office has had many dealings with the decent, hard-working residents of Morrisania," Johnson said. "Their message to us has always been a loud and clear desire for crime-free streets. We will never give up the effort to provide them with the quality of life they deserve."

    Gang members bragged about their exploits by posting photos and code words on social media.
    The gang 6 Wild targeted cocaine and heroin dealers.
      Pictures from facebook used in evidence against 11 members of "6 Wild" Bronx gang charged in violent home invasion robberies on June 20, 2013

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  • Fri, June 21, 2013 12:03 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    A 24-year-old man was fatally shot outside a Brooklyn house party early Sunday.

    Keith Anthony was blasted once in the torso outside the unruly bash on E. 51st St. near Avenue L in Flatlands about 2:45 a.m., police and witnesses said.

    Anthony, who lived in the neighborhood, was killed just after police arrived to break up the party, according to neighbors.

    "It is a small home - there were 200 people in there,” said neighbor Freddy Quinteros, 44.

    "The police were called and told everybody to leave and then five minutes after he was shot."

    His killer fled in a light-colored vehicle, according to police sources.

    Anthony was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where he died. He is a suspected gang member with five prior arrests, including for marijuana possession and robbery, police said.

    There were no arrests in his killing.

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  • Fri, June 21, 2013 12:01 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    (WBNG Binghamton) In the wake of recent arrests of self-described gang members in Broome County, law enforcement officials say they are working to control a growing problem.

    It's an issue the Broome County Sheriff's Office and it's Special Investigation Unit say they battle everyday.

    "Gang activity revolves around the distribution of narcotics, and in this community we have a drug distribution problem," said Broome County Capt. Fred Akshar.

    The Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings and the Aryan Brotherhood gangs have all been sited in the Greater Binghamton area.

    Akshar says local agencies are getting better at recognizing the signs.

    "We recently instituted the field intelligence questionnaire, which even the deputies in this county have an opportunity now to ask certain questions of suspects or defendants and gleam some further information on further criminal activity," Akshar said.

    Data is then sent to the jail to keep up on suspect information. Jails -- and even local schools -- are some of the top recruitment spots for gang members, Akshar said. Inside the correctional facility, it's up to officers to enforce the rules.

    "If we see any type of identifiers that we think they might be involved in a group then we interview them. Inside the facility we don't separate one gang from another, so we explain to these guys that no matter what group you're with that you have to get along," said Broome County Correctional Facility Capt. Kevin Moore.

    These rules prevents power in numbers, but it also helps to decrease recruitment within the jail walls and in Broome County, Moore said.

  • Fri, June 21, 2013 12:00 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- As jurors in Broome County Court deal with a murder trial with possible gang ties, the Broome County Sheriff's office says gang violence continues to grow in the Southern Tier.

    "We've seen, in recent years, major long-term investigation focused on organized groups of criminal activity," said Captain Fred Akshar of the Broome County Sheriff's office.

    The problem, police say, stems from a bigger issue that's plagued the community for years.

    "Gang activity, I think, revolves around the distribution of narcotics. In this particular, we have a drug distribution problem," Akshar said.

    Akshar says four major gangs are prevalent in Broome County: The Bloods, the Crips, the Latin Kings and the Aryan Brotherhood. In an effort to curb further gang violence, police are stepping up their work in the field.

    "Even the patrolmen, the deputies, in this county, have an opportunity now to ask certain questions of suspects or defendants in certain cases and try and glean some further information about ongoing criminal activity," Akshar said.

    When gang members are arrested in the community, many of them are brought to the Broome County Correctional Facility, but there is a worry among law enforcement officials that their time there could create further problems once they're out.

    "The correctional facilities or the state prisons are the areas where recruitment is the highest, that being the number one place," said Captain Kevin Moore of the Broome County Sheriff's Office.

    While they may not be able to eliminate the problem of recruitment within the walls at the jail, officials enforce strict rules to help identify gang members.

    "If they're in possession of gang paraphernalia, if they're showing gang signs, have gang literature, that's a violation of the rules and they can be written up for that," Moore said.

    As the Sheriff's department continues to address the problem, it advises residents to be vigilant and report anything they suspect might be gang activity.

  • Fri, June 21, 2013 11:57 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    A Brooklyn gang member has been charged with shooting a 15-year-old boy outside a clothing store, authorities said Friday.

    Marlon Johnson, 19, who runs with the Wave Gang, was charged with attempted murder and held in lieu of $75,000 bail.


    He is accused of shooting and wounding Leslie Smalls outside Jimmy Jazz clothing store in Brownsville Sunday. The victim was one of 25 people shot in less than 48 hours last weekend.

    Police sources said Leslie, who has no criminal record, was hanging out with a group of friends and took cover inside the store when Johnson showed up with a gun.


    They stepped back outside when they thought Johnson had left, but he was nearby and opened fire, sources said. He was likely aiming for someone else in the group, sources said.

    Someone in the group identified Johnson as the shooter, court papers say.

    Johnson had been arrested three weeks ago after accidentally shooting himself in the leg on May 12 in East New York. In that case, he was hit with reckless endangerment and gun possession charges and released on $3,500 bail, records show.

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