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Sunday, 22 May 2011

two Bloods gangs that operated side-by-side, led respectively by Derrick “Boss” Ward and Junior “Horse” Jackson.

08:20 | ,

arrests made this week highlight the presence of the Bloods street gang in Lackawanna County, but Lackawanna County Prison Intelligence Captain and Lackawanna County Gang Task Force Chairman Robert Maguire said even more nationally known gangs have shown a presence in the region for quite some time.

“Obviously, the arrest the other day shows that there is a big presence of gangs from New York City operating in the area,” Maguire said.

“Operation Sunset” served warrants on 42 people, arresting 36 by Thursday morning, in relation to the organized sale and purchase of $750,000 in cocaine, marijuana and LSD in the last six months.

The investigation discovered two Bloods gangs that operated side-by-side, led respectively by Derrick “Boss” Ward and Junior “Horse” Jackson.

“They will probably be replaced with other guys. The significant part about it was that they traced it back to New York with higher-ups out there,” Maguire said.

“The arrest the other day won’t do much to stop it. However, it does let them know that we’re on to their activities.”

Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan said leaders Ward and Jackson had high-level assistants, mid-level dealers and even a “human resources director” identified as Rashad Roper to solve disputes between the cooperating gangs in South Scranton.

The intricate operation of the business was no surprise to Maguire.

“They are run like an organized crime family. They have a hierarchy – lieutenants and captains, kind of like how a prison or a military force is run – and they need to answer to their higher-ups.”

Maguire said gang members from New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore have been discovered in this corner of the state for years.

Other gangs that have shown a presence in Lackawanna County include the Crips, Latin Kings, Trinitarios, Sure�os, Juggalos, and Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

While the community has been active in reporting graffiti and alleged gang activity, the arrests this week show investigations don’t occur overnight.

“This goes to show that some of the things that people like to call about, they think they’re going to be handled in a week. These things take time, and this way you take out a significant portion of a Bloods set,” Maguire said.

While the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office has worked to quickly remove graffiti along with the county’s community service program, Maguire said it is important to notice tags throughout the area.

“Look for signs of graffiti in your neighborhoods. It’s not all gang-related, but let your local law enforcement know. We’ll get somebody out to get pictures and track this,” he said.

Other signs of gang activity include colors worn to associate members with national groups.

Colors like red or blue, for Bloods and Crips respectively, are worn on bandanas or hats, but are often in subtle places, like the lining of a pants pocket, Maguire said.

“People need to look in their own neighborhoods. If they see something that’s not right, they need to let law enforcement check it out.”

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