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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

LSP stands for Laclede, Sherwood, Parkview and/or Princeton avenues, the area on the South Side of Youngstown in which they operated. The group also went by 577, which are the numbers for LSP on a phone dial. Over the past eight years, police said they've been involved with crimes like attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, felonious assault and drug trafficking.


08:12 | , ,

Just the leader alone of a South Side street gang reportedly attempted to murder a man in 2008 and kill another by kicking, punching and pistol whipping him in 2010.

Other members of the LSP street gang were involved in much of the same type of activity over a period of eight years, marking their territory with graffiti, selling drugs and retaliating against who they thought were traitors.
 
When they were done, they'd often brag about it online.

"Thank you," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach jokingly said of those suspects. "When criminals are brazen enough to brag about breaking the law, we certainly use that information."

After a two-year investigation, officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, along with Youngstown police and U.S. Marshal's Service descended on the area run by the gang, known as LSP, with a series of raids beginning at about 4 a.m. Thursday.

A 42-count indictment was filed charging 23 people with conspiracy to commit racketeering (RICO) and several other crimes. Some were arrested during the raids, and many others turned themselves in. As of Friday, six were still wanted. They all range in age from 18 to 34.

"I feel confident those still at large will be brought to justice," Mayor Jay Williams said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

"There were no incidents," said ATF official Bob Browning. "Everything was carried off without a hitch."

Browning said no drugs were found or confiscated, but because of the in-depth investigation, "I think these cases are well-proven."

LSP stands for Laclede, Sherwood, Parkview and/or Princeton avenues, the area on the South Side of Youngstown in which they operated. The group also went by 577, which are the numbers for LSP on a phone dial. Over the past eight years, police said they've been involved with crimes like attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, felonious assault and drug trafficking.

Indictment papers outline several instances where gang members posted details about the crimes they committed and bragged about their involvement in LSP on websites like Facebook and Myspace.

"The indictment sets forth an appalling conspiracy in which a group of people used violence to intimidate an entire neighborhood," said Dettelbach. "Today's charges represent a message from the community that they will not take it anymore."

Williams emphasized the raid was only a part of continuing efforts to bring crime under control in Youngstown. Last summer, several arrests were made through VGRIP, which he hopes to continue this year.

The city will soon be heavily involved in the Ohio State Highway Patrol, after Gov. John Kasich offered assistance following the off-campus party shootings near Youngstown State University.

"The community is refusing to be defined by the past it has," said Williams.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said the city will be safer after the bust. Officials said several members of the community helped with the investigation, describing what they may have seen or heard when it came to the gang's activities.

"When they constantly complain ... (the information) is channeled," said Hughes. "And we invite it to come in."

Browning said when it comes to the gang activity, Youngstown is not unique.

"This is a problem that plagues a lot of American cities," he said.

The activity has changed from gang activity in years past, when members frequently were part of national gangs rather than local gangs like LSP.

Hughes said there were many initiation practices in the 1990s, like robbing or other crimes required to become a member of a gang.

"We don't see that with these individuals," said Hughes. "They grew up together and know each other from being related."

Charged in the indictment were: Daquann Hackett; Derrick Johnson, Jr.; Aldric Jones, 20; Dominique Callier, 19; Richard Ivy, 26; Andre Ballinger II, 21; Van Lighting, 21; Terrance Machen Jr., 29; Tyrell Oliver, 32; Nalemn Hasley, 31; James Neail, 27; Marques Duvall, 23; Melvin Johnson III, 19; Corey Council, 22; Carlton Council Jr., 28; Braylyn Williams, 20; Michael Jones, 26; Wayne Kerns, 21; Maurise Kerns, 21; Edward Campbell III, 20; Ryan Davis, 21; Shawn Jones, 21; and Tre'Von Mason, 18.


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