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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Vice Lord Gang Members in Tennessee Convicted for Roles in Two Murders and Multiple Attempted Murders

Posted On 11:15 0 comments

federal jury has convicted three Vice Lord gang members for their various roles in the murder of two individuals, and attempted murders of additional victims, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and United States Attorney Jerry E. Martin for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Roger Wayne Battle, 30, aka “T-Wayne,” of Nashville, Tenn.; Jessie Lobbins, 26, aka “Jessie Oliver” and “Trap,” of Memphis, Tenn.; and Gary Eugene Chapman, 32,  aka “Wheat,” of Morristown, Tenn ., all were convicted yesterday in United States District Court in Nashville.

Battle was found guilty on 57 charged counts, including for the murder of Moss James Dixon and Brandon Harris, aka “Chicago.”  He also was convicted on charges of conspiracy to murder and attempted murder in aid of racketeering related to 13 additional victims; carrying and using firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence; and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. 


Lobbins was found guilty on six counts, including for his role in Harris’s murder; conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; carrying and using firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence; assault with a dangerous weapon resulting in serious bodily injury of a federal inmate in aid of racketeering; and tampering with a witness. 

Chapman was found guilty on 29 counts, including conspiracy to commit murder; assault with a dangerous weapon; carrying and using firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence; and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. 

“Mr Battle and his co-defendants committed brutal acts of violence in the name of the Vice Lords gang,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer.  “Yesterday, a Tennessee jury emphatically rejected their pattern of murder and mayhem.  Gang violence too often begets more gang violence, leading to ruthless retaliations, instilling fear among innocent civilians, and causing harm to mere bystanders.  We cannot, and we will not, slow down in our efforts to hold members of violent criminal enterprises like the Vice Lords to account for their crimes.”

“We will continue to vigorously pursue those who choose to become involved in violent gangs and wreak havoc on our communities,” said United States Attorney Jerry Martin.  “The verdicts in this case clearly demonstrate the dedication and commitment of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners to rid our communities of violent offenders.   Middle Tennessee will certainly be a safer place without the presence of these individuals.” 

According to evidence presented at trial, Battle was the leader of the Traveling Vice Lords, holding the rank of Five Star Universal Elite and controlling Middle and East Tennessee. The murders and attempted murders were a result of Battle and other members of the Traveling Vice Lords and the Conservative Vice Lords seeking revenge for the killing of Donnell Valentine, aka “Hitman,” the leader of the Conservative Vice Lords in Murfreesboro, Tenn. 

In the early morning hours of November 10, 2007, according to evidence presented at trial, multiple fights between members of the Vice Lords and the Gangster Disciples erupted at a party held at the Armory in Murfreesboro.  Valentine believed that during the course of the fighting, Antwan Butler, aka “Tweezy,” had not come to his aid.  Butler was a fellow member of the Traveling Vice Lord gang.   Failure to come to Valentine’s aid was a violation of Vice Lords’ rules, as Butler held a lower rank than Valentine’s Five Start Universal Elite rank.  As a result, Valentine complained to Battle, who then decided to “put” Butler out of the gang, meaning he would no longer be a member of the Vice Lords. 

According to evidence presented at trial, that same day, Butler was lured to an apartment at the Rutherford Woodlands apartment complex in Murfreesboro where he was beaten by Battle, Chapman and Valentine to the point of being unrecognizable by family members.  Christopher Imes, a co-defendant, was also present.   After the beating, Butler told family and friends, including Kevin Herrin, aka “Light Skin,” that Battle, Chapman, Imes and Valentine had beaten him. 

That same night, members of the Traveling Vice Lords, including Battle, Chapman, Imes and members of the Conservative Vice Lords, including Valentine, Samuel Gaines, aka “Born Ready,” and Frederick Carney, aka “Little Fred,” went to a club called The Drink, in Murfreesboro.  There, Herrin and others approached the Vice Lords and a fight erupted.  During the course of the fight, Valentine was shot and killed.  

As a result of the assault and murder at The Drink, Battle, Chapman, Imes, Demarco Smith, Danielle Hightower, Curtis Green (Battle’s cousin), Carney and Gaines conspired to retaliate against people they believed had been involved in the assault and murder by shooting at locations where they thought those individuals lived.  According to evidence presented at trial, while the targets were people at the fight, the Vice Lords were willing to shoot anyone staying in a house where their targets were visiting or living.

According to evidence presented at trial, five retaliatory shootings then occurred around Murfreesboro, including at the following locations:

  On November 13, 2007, at 431 East State Street, five people were in a house when shots were fired, including two individuals hit by the gunfire; On November 14, 2007, at 907 West Main Street, four people were in a house, including Dixon who was shot and died two weeks later as a result of his injuries;  On November 18, 2007, at 1401 Eagle Street, three people were in a house when shots were fired, though none were injured; and On January 1, 2008, at 424 Castleview Street, three people were in a house when shots were fired, including two individuals hit by the gunfire.

The fifth retaliatory shooting, on February 10, 2008, was carried out by Battle and Lobbins and resulted in Harris’ death.  According to evidence presented at trial, Harris was a member of the Mikey Cobras, a gang aligned with the Vice Lords.  Battle believed that Harris had made statements regarding Battle having some involvement in the death of Valentine.  Subsequently, Battle lured Harris to O’Charley’s, a restaurant on Bell Road in Nashville, under the guise of a drug transaction.  Lobbins accompanied Battle to the location.  Battle and Lobbins then led Harris, in a car driven by Gaines, to Rice Road in Antioch, Tenn ., where Battle and Lobbins then shot Harris to death.  According to evidence presented at trial, Battle admitted in a call from jail with Chapman to killing Harris, saying that he could only “let it slide for so long” and that he (Battle) had “personally demonstrated,” meaning that Battle had personally killed Harris.


Eight individuals have pleaded guilty to various crimes related to their involvement in the Vice Lord gang.  Smith and Imes each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and to the murder of Dixon.  Hightower pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and assault.  Gaines pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder related to the retaliatory shootings that occurred from November 13, 2007, to January 1, 2008.  Delregus Alexander pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence related to the retaliatory shootings on January 1, 2008.  Curtis Green pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.  These six individuals are currently awaiting sentencing.  Carney was a juvenile at the time of the shootings, and has subsequently been convicted of federal charges unrelated to these events and serving a prison sentence.  Herrin has subsequently been convicted of federal charges unrelated to these events and is currently in prison.  

Battle and Lobbins face mandatory life prison sentences.  Chapman faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.  Chief United States District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell scheduled sentencing for January 27, 2012. 

The investigation was a joint operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Murfreesboro Police Department; and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Van S. Vincent for the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Cody L. Skipper of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.


Appeals court upholds sentences, convictions for 13 Insane Deuces

Posted On 11:14 0 comments

federal appellate court has issued a decisive and sweeping rebuke of appeals filed by 13 former Aurora gang members convicted on racketeering charges.

The rulings by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals uphold the foundation of the case against the Aurora Insane Deuces: Members of a suburban street gang can be part of a criminal conspiracy to commit murder and deal drugs. The decisions were issued last week.

The opinions relate to the 2005 arrest of 15 members of Aurora’s Insane Deuces street gang. (A 16th suspect is still at large.) Prosecutors charged the men with being part of a criminal conspiracy tied to four murders, 11 attempted murders and up to $1.25 million in drug trafficking in 2002.

The sweep marked the first time in more than a decade that federal prosecutors had pursued a local gang using racketeering charges.

The men were tried in three groups and all were convicted or pleaded guilty. Eight received life sentences. For those who didn’t get life, their sentences totaled almost 200 years in prison.

Thirteen men filed appeals, arguing they were denied a fair trial for several reasons, including juror misconduct and misleading instructions to the jury. Lawyers for the convicted men also argued that the judge should not have allowed for an anonymous jury or banned two men from sitting through their trial.

The appeals were filed by attorneys for Mariano Morales, Christian Guzman, Romell Handley, Arturo Barbosa, Miguel Rodriguez, Brian Hernandez, Lionel Lechuga, Harold Crowder, Bolivar Benabe, Julian Salazar, Juan Juarez, Stephen Susinka and Fernando Delatorre. All the men are from Aurora except Juarez, a Sandwich resident, and Benabe, a Chicagoan.

Morales, Guzman, Barbosa, Rodriguez, Hernandez, Benabe, Salazar and Delatorre are serving life sentences.

Steven Perez has filed a separate appeal in the case, and Akeem Horton did not appeal his guilty plea.

Nearly all the men argued that they were not part of a conspiracy. While they admit to being gang members, they mostly deny their actions were part of a coordinated plan, or that they had any knowledge of what other gang members planned to do.

At trial, the prosecutors played recordings of gang members discussing drug sales and the strategies to target rivals. (The meetings had been secretly recorded by a former high ranking member.) But the men said they were individuals who were not always working as part of a conspiracy.

In one case, attorneys for Crowder argued he was so violent both inside and outside the gang, he was essentially freelance violence, not organized crime.

“Crowder’s argument, despite being creative, is unconvincing,” Judge Michael Kanne wrote in the appeal ruling. “While he might not have formally been an Insane Deuce, the relevant question was whether he had joined the racketeering conspiracy.”

The appellate court pointed out that the racketeering statute only requires prosecutors to prove that the men agreed that someone commit the criminal acts, not that they commit the acts themselves. Crowder was far from the only defendant to argue that he was treated unfairly by the court.

Two of the defendants, Benabe and Delatorre, did not attend any of their trial because of outbursts in the pre-trial hearings. Delatorre repeatedly argued that he was a sovereign entity and challenged the legitimacy of the U.S. government to arrest him. Benabe took up the same gripe.

“The judge also made it clear that they could return to court to attend their trial whenever they were willing to promise to behave. Neither ever did so,” Kanne wrote. “(The judge) was patient and judicious in dealing with these defendants’ persistent attempts to disrupt their prosecution. He took the extraordinary step of barring them from attending trial only after it was clear that they intended to disrupt the trial.”

The appellate court also found the judge’s decision to allow jurors to be anonymous throughout the trial was reasonable and did not prejudice the jurors against the defendants. The appellate court also found no merit to arguments that jurors who had joked amongst each other about the trail after verdict was reached had tainted their decision.

Federal prosecutors were understandably pleased with the appellate decisions.

“It’s a testament to the tremendous work done by the Aurora Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Pope, who prosecuted all the cases.

Pope highlighted the tremendous impact that several large sweeps have had on Aurora, where murders dropped from 25 in 2002 to two in 2008.


Murder convictions for drug-gang enforcer

Posted On 11:13 0 comments

Reputed drug-gang enforcer Malik Collins - all of 23 and already serving two life terms for murders - racked up a third Wednesday when a Philadelphia jury found him and his cousin guilty of the 2006 executions of two people in a truck in Brewerytown.
The Common Pleas Court jury of six men and six women had deliberated since Monday before returning guilty verdicts against Collins and Anthony Collins, 27, in the March 18, 2006, killings of rival drug dealer Johnny Harmon, 39, and Harmon's girlfriend, Latoya Bostick, 18.

Although the first-degree murder convictions carry mandatory life terms without chance of parole, Judge M. Teresa Sarmina will formally sentence the cousins Tuesday so victims' relatives may make impact statements.

The District Attorney's Office initially sought death penalties for the cousins. According to Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo, the death penalty was withdrawn against Anthony Collins to avoid having to try him separately.

Before the trial's Aug. 16 start, Sarmina granted a defense motion to bar the death penalty against Malik Collins after defense attorney Samuel C. Stretton presented expert testimony proving that Collins is mentally retarded. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may not execute people who are mentally retarded.

Zarallo said trial testimony showed the Collinses worked as enforcers for a violent Brewerytown drug gang known as "Thompson University," after a neighborhood street.

Harmon and some associates began selling drugs nearby in the 1200 block of Dover Street, and the Thompson gang decided to remove the competition, Zarallo said.

About 11 p.m. on March 18, 2006, Zarallo said, Harmon and Bostick were in his silver pickup truck parked on Dover near Thompson when the Collinses approached and fired more than a dozen shots at the pair, killing them.

"It was horrible," Zarallo said. "Latoya Bostick was truly an innocent bystander and her only crime was that she liked Johnny Harmon."

Neither Collins cousin testified. Stretton and defense attorney Michael E. Wallace attacked the credibility of two prosecution witnesses - a Harmon associate, who saw the shooting from inside a rowhouse, and a Collins cousin who said she saw the Collinses fleeing - because of their own criminal histories.

Malik Collins was convicted of two 2005 murders in 2008, according to court records. He was arrested in 2006 after two 15th District police officers had a robbery victim call a cellphone stolen by two men.

A man answered, and the victim said he would pay $100 for the phone's return. When men appeared to collect the cash, police were waiting. One of those arrested was Malik Collins, who was carrying a 9mm pistol


Gang leader gets 30 years in 2 murders

Posted On 11:11 0 comments

Camden gang leader who sanctioned the grisly killings of a Burlington County couple last year pleaded guilty to the double murder Wednesday in exchange for a 30-year prison term without parole.

Kuasheim "Presto" Powell, 25, told a Superior Court judge he shot Michael Hawkins in the head six times after other gang members had severely beaten and bound the 23-year-old inside a Berkley Street rowhome, and then ordered the killing of Hawkins' girlfriend, Muriah Huff, 18, of Cinnaminson, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

Powell also pleaded guilty Wednesday to two attempted murder charges for shooting a pair of Pennsauken brothers in an unrelated incident the day before the Feb. 22, 2010 killings on Berkley Street.

The brothers have recovered.

Facing the damning evidence of his own videotaped confession of how he shot Hawkins and the possibility of spending the remainder of his life behind bars, Powell's attorney said the decision to plead guilty made sense.

"Quite frankly it was an offer that was hard to turn down," attorney Richard Sparaco said of the 30-year deal.

"With an offer like that, it didn't pay for him to fight."

As long as Superior Court Judge Irvin Snyder accepts the plea agreement, Powell will be sentenced to two 30-year terms for the two murders and two 20-year terms for the attempted murder charges, according to the prosecutor's office. The sentences will be served concurrently, or during the same 30-year term.

Prosecutor's spokesman Jason Laughlin said the plea deal guarantees an "extraordinarily dangerous man will be away from society until his mid-50s." Laughlin added Powell has also agreed to cooperate with investigators and will provide information about others charged in the killings.

Powell is the third of 10 defendants to plead guilty in the killings, which prosecutors have labeled among the most horrific they had ever seen. In May 2010, the youngest defendant, Shatara Carter, pleaded guilty to her role in beating and choking Huff to death. Carter, who was 14 at the time of the murders, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

major gangland crime suspect linked to a series of tiger kidnappings was in custody in the Republic last night after two detectives opened fire on a fleeing car driver who attempted to mow them down.

Posted On 10:02 0 comments

The detectives, from the Garda's Organised Crime Unit (OCU), were described by a senior colleague last night as being "lucky to escape with their lives" after jumping out of the path of the speeding vehicle.

The OCU had been targeting suspected members of a crime gang based in west and north Dublin thought to have been involved in holding a number of people hostage for ransom over the past few years.

As part of an intelligence-led operation, several OCU squads were keeping a close watch on the movements of a number of suspect cars in the west Wicklow-Kildare area on Sunday.

Following surveillance, the units were ordered to intercept the two cars on the Naas Road outside the village of Ballymore Eustace.

The vehicles were brought to a halt but as the detectives approached the suspects the vehicle drove at speed towards them. The officers dived out of the way and fired two shots at the vehicle as it sped off in the direction of Naas.

The driver of the other car, a 30-year-old man from west Dublin, was arrested.

In a follow-up search, gardai recovered a small handgun at the roadside and several thousand euro in cash.

A number of rounds of ammunition for the firearm were also seized.

The detained man is suspected of being a key player in a gang that has been involved in serious crime, including tiger kidnappings in Dublin and surrounding counties.

Meanwhile, three people have been arrested following the kidnapping of a security van driver in Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

The cash-in-transit worker was taken from his west Belfast home, forced to get money and hand it over to his armed and masked assailants.

His partner and a son aged 16 were rescued in Co Monaghan after they were taken hostage and kidnapped from home that evening, with pillow cases covering their heads.

Police said yesterday that a man aged 35 was arrested in Belfast as well as a woman (64) and a man (63) in Newry, Co Down.

UN gang associate charged with conspiracy to murder

Posted On 00:17 0 comments

United Nations gang associate Amir Eghtesad, 29, was charged with one count of conspiracy to kill the Bacon brothers and other members of the Red Scorpion gang on Monday afternoon.

Eghstesad appeared in court on Monday after he was arrested on Sunday evening.  

United Nations gang associates Barzan Tilli-Choli, Daniel Russell, Dilun Heng, Jon Croitoru, Karwan Saed, and Yong Sung Lee have also been charged with the conspiracy. Conor D’Monte and Cory Vallee were indicted but have not yet been arrested.

Bacon brother Jonathon Bacon died as a result of a gunshot wound inflicted outside of the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna on August 14.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Jones and Tate were members of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang,

Posted On 23:43 0 comments

Robert Tate took the identity of his killer to the grave.

After he was shot on the West Side in April 2010, officers asked the dying 17-year-old to name the gunman.

Police said he responded: “I know. But I ain’t telling you s---.” He died as paramedics tried to save him.

Tate’s decision not to snitch on his shooter dealt a blow to the detectives trying to solve the murder. Even so, Tate will get justice, police said.

On Monday, John Jones, 38, was ordered held without bond on a murder charge after three witnesses identified him as the killer, authorities said.

“Even when we have a victim who isn’t concerned about the prosecution of his own case, we in the police department are still going to follow up, because he may not be the last victim,” said Anthony Riccio, commander of detectives in the Harrison Area.

“We have an obligation to the city to get the shooters off the street,” Riccio said.

Tate’s killing was part of a series of stories in the Chicago Sun-Times that won a 2011 Pulitzer Prize for documenting a “no snitching” culture in the city. The series exposed the difficulty of solving murders and other crimes when witnesses won’t cooperate.

Although police say Tate refused to talk to them, one of his tattoos — “Make Money or Die” — eerily sums up the murder case against Jones.

Jones and Tate were members of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, police said.

Jones controlled drug sales in the 900 block of North Avers and was allegedly angry at Tate for hurting business there. Tate was selling fake drugs and robbing customers, Riccio said.

On the morning of April 12, 2010, Jones allegedly warned Tate to stay off the block, but Tate didn’t listen to the older gang member.

Tate was hanging out on the block that evening when he spotted Jones and told witnesses: “Uh oh, here it comes!” Riccio said.

Jones allegedly chased Tate and shot him with a 9mm handgun. Tate suffered back and chest wounds, prosecutors said.

Three witnesses ran away before police could talk to them, Riccio said.

Then in April 2011, one of Jones’ associates was arrested on a drug charge in Chicago. He told detectives he saw Jones kill Tate and led police to two other witnesses, Riccio said.

Jones had been arrested on June 23, 2010, on a drug charge — a violation of his parole for a 1994 murder conviction, records show. Jones was sent back to prison to complete his 30-year sentence for the murder.

On Saturday, Jones finished his sentence and was released from Lawrence Correctional Center in southern Illinois. But Chicago homicide detectives were waiting when he walked out of prison and arrested him on a warrant for Tate’s murder.

On Sunday, the three witnesses viewed a lineup and identified Jones as the killer, Riccio said, adding: “He had seconds of freedom.”

Tate’s family could not be reached for comment. Previously, his mother said she couldn’t believe he would refuse to tell police who shot him. Detectives have notified Tate’s relatives about the arrest and they were pleased, Riccio said.

The Calton Tongs, who caused mayhem for more than 60 years in the east end of Glasgow, have virtually ceased to exist

Posted On 15:08 0 comments

One of Scotland's most violent gangs have been smashed by a major initiative - and it is to be copied in London in the aftermath of the English riots.
The Calton Tongs, who caused mayhem for more than 60 years in the east end of Glasgow, have virtually ceased to exist thanks to Strathclyde's Community Initiative to reduce Violence (CIRV).
The policy, which combines strong enforcement with pathways out of gangs, has seen murder rates in the east end plummet by 78 per cent.
And it is now to be used as a blueprint by David Cameron in the "war on gangs" south of the Border.
The Calton Tongs wreaked havoc in Calton throughout the 60s and 70s.
Gang members ran protection rackets and marked their areas with graffiti as "Tongland" - a name immortalised in the film Small Faces.
Their infamy meant that "Tongs, ya bass" became a ned slogan in the west Scotland.
But intelligence and measurements of the gang's activities show they have virtually disappeared in their form since the clampdown started in 2007.
Strathclyde Police Gangs Task Force use a method called Recency, Frequency and Gravity, which looks scientifically at how recently gang members offended, how frequently and how serious the offences were.
Gang members are then broken down into categories, producing lists of names which the Gangs Task Force can use to target the worst offenders.
Strathclyde Police's strategic development manager Martin Smith said: "Calton Tongs are virtually dismantled.
"The scores for the members linked to the Calton Tongs dropped off. Their scoring now pales into insignificance compared to three years have been practically wiped our radar."
The approach saw the arrest of core members, allowing those on the fringes to quit with support from charities such as Includem, who offer routes out of gangs.
Martin said: "These gangs are held together often just by loyalty, so as soon as the main ones who hold that together are out the picture, that is a time for those on the to get the breathing space something with their lives."
CIRV is a co-ordinated approach by the Strathclyde Police gangs task force, the national Violence Reduction Unit, youth support charities such as Includem, social work, housing and education bodies.
The effect has been felt on the ground in areas such as Calton and nearby Bridgeton, where there has been a noticeable improvement in the perception people have of gang activity in their area. The statistics show they feel safer, but locals also say their experience backs it up.
Mohammed Saddiq, 39, who owns newsagent in Calton believes that the area has improved dramatically years he has been there. "The previous owner told had experienced a lot of problems but it's quiet now.
He said:"We don't really get trouble  any more, nothing worth mentioning. The vast majority of people around here are really decent and want a quiet life."
There are still trouble spots, such as an abandoned school 100 yards down from his shop, where a fight broke out a couple of weeks ago. But even here, incidents have tailed off.
Joe Pyke, 77, has lived in the area for 50 years and recalls running the gauntlet from nearby Gallowhill when he ventured into Calton to court his wife as a teenager.
He said: "My wife's brother had to tell the local gang here that I needed a free pass because I was marrying into the family.
"That was 60 years ago so there have always been gangs, always will be - but now it's daft boys. Then it was bicycle chains and razors. It's settled down a lot but there is still trouble now and again."
Other factors came into play in improving the quality of life in Calton, such as the injection of cash that is being used to give the area a facelift and new housing in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
But the life expectancy of men in Calton is still the lowest in the UK at 53 - worse than Iraq or Gaza.
Gary Barton, 46, a local activist who ran for the council, believes in giving young people something to do to stop them wanting to fight.
He said: "There is no harm in being in a gang. Violence is the problem. We need to turn it around.
"If former members of the IRA can sit in parliament, why can't members of the Calton Tongs be in the Calton swimming club, football club or whatever, instead? There is nothing here - schools have closed, churches have closed. Alternatives for these kids is the only option."
Includem, who work with kids other groups have given up on, have seen offending drop by nearly half among the gang members they have helped.
And community police officers Sergeant Kenny Ramsay and PC Allan Verne have made their presence felt across much of the east end, going back to the basics of speaking to the locals and stopping the youths they know are active.
Stop searches have increased 180 per cent during the last four years and the police are aware that old affiliations may die but new ones spring up.
A  new gang with a difference, the Crownie Young Team, have emerged in Calton. Their members come from various areas but are all from the same school, breaking with the age-old tradition of affiliation being dictated by streets.
Sergeant Ramsay said: "When we stop people and they are telling us who they run with, if they come up with a new name of a gang we haven't heard of before, we have to be on top of that and build up a picture of who is involved.
"Where will they go, where they won't, where they will fight?
"If we can get in at the beginning, we can throw resources at it and get it before it takes hold."
In nearby Bridgeton, locals are enthusiastic about the regeneration and the dwindling presence of gangs. Allan Kelly, 49, was born in the area and believes that it has improved dramatically.
He said: "It used to be the clash of 2010 the Titans but there's virtually no fighting now. The knock-on been it's less sectarian.
 This area was mainly Protestant and they'd fight with the Calton, which was Catholic. If there's less gang fighting, the religious divide isn't as obvious."
Lahcene Yekeen, 38, opened a barbershop in the area eight years ago.
 He said: "It was rough years ago but now it's improved.
 "There were always fights before, stabbings murders and people scared. There is a lot here. More than before."

arrested 38 people in connection with a sweep targeting the 1200 Bloc Crips street gang,

Posted On 08:30 0 comments

Riverside police say they've now arrested 38 people in connection with a sweep targeting the 1200 Bloc Crips street gang, a move they hope will help quiet the city's Eastside after 20 years of violence.

The sweep so far seems to be having its intended effect, said Lt. Guy Toussaint, a spokesman for Riverside police. There have been no police responses to calls of activity by 1200 Bloc Crips gang members in the 10 days since the operation.

In the year before the sweep, Toussaint said police responded to at least a dozen calls that led to several arrests. Members of the gang allegedly committed four assaults with a deadly weapon, at least one drive-by shooting and two attempted murders, along with several lesser crimes, Toussaint said.

"It sent a message to the criminal elements on the street," Toussaint said. "It's too early to tell if it's made a dramatic difference but it has made a difference."

The question is how long?

The crackdown came about 18 months after a similar sweep against East Side Riva, a predominantly Latino gang that has warred with the mostly African-American 1200 Bloc Crips in an area roughly from the 91 freeway east to Chicago Avenue, between Martin Luther King to University avenues since the early 1990s.

Toussaint conceded that a 2007 court injunction targeting East Side Riva members and the January 2010 sweep against the gang -- 650 officers from 34 local and federal agencies made 50 arrests in that operation -- may have opened opportunity for the 1200 Bloc Crips to increase their activities, which included drug dealing, gun sales and pimping.

But police said they hope the latest crackdown, along with injunctions and enhanced patrols, will put a long-term stop to gang activity.

Racial violence between Eastside African-American and Latino gangs started in the 1990s, culminating in a string of shootings between gangs during the summer and fall of 2002.

Most of the victims were not gang members.

Pastor Ruben Guitron of Peacemaker Ministries on the Eastside doubts the calm will last without fundamental changes within the community.

"I believe what the police have done is good," he said Sunday afternoon following his sermon. "But it's all for naught, for the simple reason that as soon as you get rid of one (gang) there's always someone ready to replace them."

Guitron said until those in the community take more responsibility and push for education and jobs, police action alone will not be enough to keep gangs out.

"They have to get to the root of the problem," Guitron said. "And root of the problem is that these kids are ours. We have three, four, five generations of uneducated parents, uneducated families. We are the root of the problem."

South-East Boys (south eastern), The Lavs (Laverton), B4L Brothers 4 Life (western), The Clan (western), KBK (Kick Back Krew, western), North Side Boys, LBK (Lazy But Crazy, south east graffiti gang), ROM (Running Over Melbourne, southeast) MBML (My Brothers, My Life).

Posted On 08:28 0 comments

Asian, Arabic, Islander, African and southern European gangs are all active in the city and often target each other in turf wars.

One of the most sophisticated and feared is the highly organised Southern Cross Soldiers, a white Australia gang with four "chapters'' across Melbourne.

SCS members have been linked to race hate crimes.

Police shooting victim Tyler Cassidy, 15, was a SCS member. He was shot in 2008 after arming himself with knives and confronting police in Northcote.

SCS has hundreds of members but struggled to get 40 to an Australia Day rally at Mordialloc beach in 2009.

Other race gangs include: SSS (South Side Sudanese), Arabian Soldiers Arab Defenders (Newport), Lebanese gang CLW, KMC (Kill more Curries), TB (Turban Bashers), ETB (East Timorese Boys), Coburg Lebos, Oakleigh Wogs, EthioRydaz (an Ethiopian gang), M C-Un1tz (Multi-race gang), and Tongan gang DSC (Dirty Saint Crips).

Veteran youth worker Les Twentyman has called on police and the State Government to "come clean'' on gangs.

Mr Twentyman blamed their "head in the sand'' mentality for an explosion in gangs in recent years.

The Herald Sun yesterday revealed police were monitoring more than 70 gangs in the wake of the UK riots.

Mr Twentyman said one of his 20th Man youth workers was stabbed and robbed by an Islander gang in Altona last month but police told local media it was not a gang-related attack.

"It is time for police command and the Government to begin to listen to those who see this problem daily,'' Mr Twentyman said.

"It is time for the spin and denial to stop, and for effective policies to be implemented to stop the rise of gangs before we are faced with the same issues gripping the UK.''

Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said riots were less likely here but were possible among pockets of disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth, particularly in high jobless areas.

These areas are often home to recent immigrants and include high-rise public housing.

Mr Fontana said the force was working with local communities to find solutions.

"It's not just a policing issue. It's about the community taking some ownership as well,'' he said.

"There are some groups that are actually quite aggressive every time we approach them.

"They're not only aggressive to us, they've got a chip on their shoulder and they show that aggression to people on the street. There is a general lack of respect out there that's part of the problem.''

Other gangs include: South-East Boys (south eastern), The Lavs (Laverton), B4L Brothers 4 Life (western), The Clan (western), KBK (Kick Back Krew, western), North Side Boys, LBK (Lazy But Crazy, south east graffiti gang), ROM (Running Over Melbourne, southeast) MBML (My Brothers, My Life).

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Cherry Boys, All ’Bout Money, Catford Wildcats, Organized Crime: These are the names of a few youth gangs in South London, part of an estimated 170 active gangs in the United Kingdom.

Posted On 00:17 0 comments

Prime Minister David Cameron holds gangs like these partially responsible for the four nights of mayhem and looting that rocked London and several other English cities earlier this month after suspected gangster Mark Duggan was shot dead by police on Aug. 4.

Mr. Cameron’s now vowing a “concerted all-out war on gangs and gang culture.”

“This isn’t some side issue,” Cameron said days after the riots. “It is a major criminal disease that has infected streets and estates across our country. Stamping out these gangs is a new national priority.”

Cameron has asked former Los Angeles, New York, and Boston police commissioner Bill Bratton to help enact tough antigang measures. Yet, while Cameron gears up to pursue an aggressive set of law-and-order tactics, groups with experience battling gang violence in London say a more multifaceted approach is needed.

“It’s easy to give knee-jerk reactions and place an emphasis on law enforcement, but that doesn’t get to the cause of why people join gangs,” says Nick Mason, at the Growing Against Gangs (GAG) project that works with young students to deter gang membership. “The Prime Minister talks about ‘zero tolerance’ which people like [Mr. Bratton] advocate, but that is massively resource-intensive compared to our project.”

Youths needed to fear the police and possible punishment, Bratton told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“You want the criminal element to fear them, fear their ability to interrupt their own ability to carry out criminal behavior, and arrest and prosecute and incarcerate them,” said Bratton. “In my experience, the younger criminal element doesn’t fear the police and have been emboldened to challenge the police and effectively take them on.”

This emphasis on confrontation worries gang workers such as Mr. Mason. Working with the London police, staff at his GAG group speak to students aged between nine and 12 – when they are most susceptible to joining gangs – about the consequences and myths of membership. Over the past 18 months GAG has spoken to more than 3,700 children at 55 schools in five south London boroughs. It plans to expand the project across another 10 boroughs in the next 18 months.

“Prevention is better than cure and a lot cheaper. We’ve worked out that it costs around £1 [$1.65] per child, but if you compare that to putting someone through the criminal justice system and he gets a 12-month sentence, that can cost £150,000 [$248,242]. If someone is stabbed, that can cost the National Health Service £150,000 [$248,242]. So it makes sense to deter gang membership in the first place.”

Facilitators speak to pupils in intensive sessions, bringing in professionals such as surgeons to explain the consequences of stabbings and shootings, or former gang members on how prison affects inmates.

Gang violence has been ignored by the government and the public, says Christian Guy, director of policy at the Centre for Social Justice think tank.

“A lot of these gangs come from badly deprived areas with high unemployment and little hope,” he says. “The gang members have usually never worked or come from homes where parents have never worked. Their families are poor, anarchic, chaotic and often violent – and ironically gangs offer them a home and stability. After [the riots], the justice system has to take its course, but just arresting people is not the answer, because ... gang members who go to prison often come out martyrs and looking stronger.”

Indeed, gang life continues to hold an allure. In the poor South London neighborhood of Stockwell, single mother Doreen White worries about her two boys, ages 11 and nine.

“The gangs are out there and I know my boys will come across them at some point,” says Ms. White. “They’re threatening and have their own codes. They’ve got money and power and you can see why some kids get attracted to them because there’s nothing much else ’round here.”

Next to a memorial for young man recently shot dead in what was suspected to be a gang-related killing, a group of youths on bikes circle on the pavement.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Lincoln Park Piru, whose members included two brothers, Jeffrey and Tonie Future. Jeffrey Future is serving life in prison for his role in the slaying of Mr. Fernandez, a member of a rival street gang who was driven from Hazleton to Scranton and shot 12 times.

Posted On 09:34 0 comments

Following eight hours of deliberations over two days, a Lackawanna County jury convicted Christian Kenyon, a former West Scranton High School football player, on Wednesday of first-degree murder in a gang execution slaying on Snake Road in 2009.

Mr. Kenyon, 19, rested his chin in his hand, looking like a bored student, when the verdict carrying a life-in-prison sentence was read. His parents sat stoically in the back of the courtroom.

Besides the gang execution of Allen Fernandez, Mr. Kenyon was convicted of conspiracy to rob the Dunkin' Donuts on Moosic Street in Scranton along with related crimes and aggravated assault in a shooting on 10th Avenue in Scranton that left a man with life-threatening injuries.

Testimony during the eight-day trial provided a glimpse into the secretive world of Mr. Kenyon's Scranton street gang, the Lincoln Park Piru, whose members included two brothers, Jeffrey and Tonie Future. Jeffrey Future is serving life in prison for his role in the slaying of Mr. Fernandez, a member of a rival street gang who was driven from Hazleton to Scranton and shot 12 times.

Mr. Kenyon, testifying against the advice of his lawyers, said he was forced to participate in the execution of Mr. Fernandez that night by one of the other gunmen who shoved a gun in his stomach while suggesting he would be "food," gang slang for marked for death, if he did not join in the gunplay. It was an explanation the jury rejected in reaching its verdict.

State and local police who investigated the Snake Road slaying said Mr. Kenyon never mentioned that in any of his interviews, nor did he offer that explanation to his parents when they spoke to him while he was in prison. The jury heard audio tapes of those conversations in which Mr. Kenyon flatly stated he shot Mr. Fernandez.

The jury also read letters Mr. Kenyon and Tonie Future, another alleged gunman at the Snake Road murder who is awaiting trial, exchanged through a 16-year-old girl who agreed to act as a go-between for two gang members. Prosecutors said the letters and the tapes showed another side of Mr. Kenyon, that of a savvy gang member who talked about seeking revenge against the people he suspected had "ratted on" him regarding his involvement in the three crimes.

Those comments by Mr. Kenyon undermined the defense's claims that he was an impressionable teenager, a "follower" who fell in the wrong crowd.

During his testimony, Mr. Kenyon denied he was present the night Shaquan Burgess was shot twice outside an underage drinking party on 10th Avenue, and he denied he was at the Dunkin' Donuts on the night it was robbed at gunpoint by a masked man and a woman dressed as a man, who was later identified as Mr. Future's girlfriend.

In returning its verdict, the jury rejected Mr. Kenyon's story.

The jury convicted Mr. Kenyon of aggravated assault and a firearms offense but acquitted him of criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder.

In the Dunkin' Donuts case, the jury convicted Mr. Kenyon of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, a firearms offense, receiving stolen property, theft, two counts of simple assault and two counts of reckless endangerment for each of the two clerks in the store. He was acquitted of aggravated assault and robbery with intent to inflict serious bodily injury.

Outside the courtroom, First Assistant District Attorney Gene Talerico, the lead prosecutor, praised what he called the "incredible" teamwork by state and local police and the FBI in solving the murder and following other leads that tied the three cases against Mr. Kenyon together.

Referring to the young ages of some the witnesses, Mr. Talerico, said "That's frightening that they are not drawn away from it (gangs), but drawn to it."

"You can't see what you've seen in the trial and not feel a sense of a pit in your stomach," Mr. Talerico said.

Asked if the investigation had spawned other gang investigations, Mr. Talerico said, "We are not able to talk about it."

Mr. Kenyon's parents and his lawyers declined to talk about the case.

A sentencing date for Mr. Kenyon has not been set by Judge Carmen Minora.

Police will be out in full force for the funeral of slain gang member Jonathan Bacon

Posted On 08:13 0 comments

Police will be out in full force for the funeral of slain gang member Jonathan Bacon to prevent any further violence, according to the spokesman for the police gang task force.

"There will be a significant police presence," said Sgt. Shinder Kirk of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

"It may not be overt but there certainly will be uniformed officers on the periphery as well as plain clothes officers in attendance. That's to allow the family to grieve and to prevent any sort of violence."

He said police will be "actively carrying out policing duties" by photographing mourners and noting any activity among the attendees.

Any attempt to dissuade rival gang members from attending will be done if warranted, he said.

"We haven't done it before [warned mourners away] but we will look at each situation on a case-by-case basis," he said.

He also wouldn't rule out making arrests the day of the funeral.

It's not known where or when a service will be held for Bacon, 30, leader of the Red Scorpions who was gunned down outside the Delta Grand Okanagan, a casino and posh hotel in downtown Kelowna on Sunday afternoon.

A masked gunman shot at a white Porsche SUV, killing Bacon and wounding Larry Amero, a Hells Angel gangster, and possibly James Riach of the Independent Soliders gang, as well as two unidentified women before fleeing in a vehicle.

No arrests have been made in the brazen attack that shocked the quiet lakeside city. Amero is in hospital while Riach fled and hasn't been found.

Funeral homes in Bacon's hometown of Abbotsford said they haven't been asked to take care of arrangements for the burial but all would if asked and none were concerned about the potential for violence.

"We would accommodate them like any family who experienced a loss," said Angelo Rea of Woodlawn Funeral Home.

Tony Oliveira of Oliveira Funeral Home of Port Coquitlam said he would welcome the opportunity to serve the family, despite Bacon's criminal past. The Bacon family has a home in nearby Port Moody.

"I'm sure the cops will be watchng," he said.

He said gang members' services are usually held at Ocean View Funeral Home in Burnaby.

It's not known if Jonathan's brothers will attend the funeral. Jarrod, 28, is scheduled in court next month on charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, while Jamie, 26, is in jail for weapons and drug charges and awaiting trial for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the notorious Surrey Six slayings.

B.C. Corrections has a policy to guide its staff in considering a request to attend a service. The decisions are made by managers, dependent on public safety, risk level of the inmate and likelihood of an escape attempt, according to a spokesman for the Public Safety and Solicitor General Ministry.

Shots in Surrey follow fatal attack in Kelowna

Posted On 07:37 0 comments

Hours after RCMP confirmed Red Scorpions leader Jonathan Bacon was the man slain outside a Kelowna hotel and said retaliation was a possibility, shots rang out in Surrey in what police called a targeted attack against a man with gang connections.

Mounties said they had not come across any evidence the two events were connected. But the Surrey incident highlighted the heightened tension in a province that was plagued by a bloody turf war and near-daily shootings two years ago.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Former United Nations gangster appeared in court today

Posted On 13:27 0 comments

Two days after Jonathan Bacon was brazenly gunned down outside a Kelowna casino, a case proceeded in Vancouver courts with links to his brother.
Former self described leader of the United Nations gang, Doug Vanelstine appeared via video link in a hearing in Vancouver court today. A judge in the case made some key decisions in a disclosure hearing but a publication ban prevents those from being revealed. Vanelstine is facing charges of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance and possession of cocaine for purpose of trafficking. 
The case comes as a result of an elaborate police undercover operation which also resulted in the arrest of Jarrod Bacon. 
Bacon faces charges of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance his case will be heard in Octobe


Target of Facebook murder-for-hire is shot dead

Posted On 02:42 0 comments

Teens London Eley and Timothy Bynum insist they were just blowing off steam when they posted a Facebook exchange about a plot to kill the father of Eley's baby.

But target Corey White's family saw the posts this spring and called police. A Philadelphia judge on Monday upheld felony charges against the pair, who have been detained since their June arrest.

Hours later, the 22-year-old White was gunned down on a southwest Philadelphia street.

"I get the speculative connection to my client," said defense lawyer Gerald Stein, who represents Eley. "The hearing being yesterday and then, boom, the guy's dead a couple of hours later?"

He believes it's mere coincidence — but is nevertheless glad his client was still in custody Monday night when White was killed.

Police said they have several leads in the precision hit on White, not all of them related to the Facebook plot.

Detectives in nearby Upper Darby had been looking to talk to White about a July 18 slaying outside a nightclub. They have a warrant for the suspected gunman, but heard talk that White was the getaway driver and wanted to question him, Superintendent Michael Chitwood said Tuesday.

Police believe the man who shot White had carjacked two movie-goers in Upper Darby at 7:30 p.m., then driven the car to White's neighborhood nearby. One or two men in the car briefly argued with White before the gunman stepped outside and shot him once in the chest. The stolen car was found torched four hours later.

"It could be the Facebook caper that the girlfriend (allegedly arranged) ... or it could be in retaliation for this homicide," Chitwood told The Associated Press.

Eley, who turned 20 last month, was fighting with White this spring about custody of their baby, among other things. The baby was staying with White's family, Stein said.

"That was part of the underlying contention," the attorney said.

After a heated argument in May, police say, Eley wrote on her Facebook page: "I will pay somebody a stack to kill my baby father."

The 18-year-old Bynum, of nearby Darby, answered the call, police alleged.

"Say no more ... what he look like ... where he be at ... need that stack 1st," Bynum allegedly wrote.

A "stack" is slang for $1,000.

Stein has argued that his client was merely venting about her ex-boyfriend and had no intention of following through. But he acknowledges that such rants can have serious consequences when they're posted online.

"Unfortunately, it sort of magnifies the anger," Stein said.

Prosecutors do not believe Eley was joking about the hit. They say she insisted to Bynum, an online friend, that she was serious.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported White's death. No one answered the door at his family's home Tuesday afternoon.

Bynum's lawyer, Lopez Thompson, said his family is devastated by the news.

Thompson insisted his client had no intention of killing White when he responded to the Facebook message and had nothing to do with White's shooting. The two did not know each other, Thompson said.

He described Bynum as a high school student with no prior arrests.

Eley has a simple assault case going to trial soon. Her lawyer in that case did not think it involved White.

White had testified at a preliminary hearing in the Facebook case a few weeks ago.

"There was never any indication that he was fearful for his life," Thompson recalled.

Thompson argued that his client had never even been given White's name or a description of him. Police say they found three guns in Bynum's home, but Thompson said one was legally registered to a parent, another was a BB gun and the third was inoperable.

Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dugan on Monday upheld a murder solicitation charge against Eley and a murder conspiracy charge against Bynum. Both are also charged with the illegal use of a computer. No gun charges have been filed against Bynum, although an investigation is under way.

Philadelphia police agree it's too early to say if the Facebook posts led to White's shooting.

"There are a couple of other theories out there," Philadelphia homicide Capt. James Clark said at a news conference.

Stein is glad his client could not make bail Monday, even after it was reduced from $50,000 to $35,000. Bynum, too, remains in custody until a Sept. 6 arraignment on $50,000 bail.

"I'm sort of somewhat happy, ironically, that she was in custody, so at least we know physically she's not involved," he said.


Firearms from ATF sting linked to 11 more violent crimes

Posted On 02:38 0 comments

Firearms from the ATF's Fast and Furious weapons-trafficking investigation turned up at the scenes of at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S. as well as at a U.S. Border Patrol agent's slaying in southern Arizona last year, the Justice Department has acknowledged to Congress.

Justice did not provide any details about those crimes. But The Times has learned that they occurred in several Arizona cities, including Phoenix, where Operation Fast and Furious was managed, as well as in El Paso, Texas, where a total of 42 Fast and Furious weapons were seized at two separate crime scenes.

The new numbers, which vastly expand the scope of the danger the program posed to U.S. citizens over a 14-month period, are contained in a letter that Justice Department officials turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

DOCUMENTS: Fast and Furious paper trail

In the letter, obtained by The Times on Tuesday, Justice officials also reported that ATF officials advised them that the ATF's acting director, Kenneth Melson, "likely became aware" of Fast and Furious as early as December 2009, a month after the program began.

Melson has said he did not learn about how the program was run until January of this year, when it was canceled.

The July 22 letter, signed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich, was sent to Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was in response to questions posed to the Justice Department about Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and Fast and Furious.

The program was intended to identify Mexican drug cartel leaders and smuggling routes across the border by allowing illegal purchases of firearms and then tracking the weapons. Instead, many of the guns simply vanished.

Weich said that although the "ATF does not have complete information" on all the lost guns, "it is our understanding that ATF is aware of 11 instances" beyond the Border Patrol agent's killing where a Fast and Furious firearm "was recovered in connection with a crime of violence in the United States."

Justice officials did not provide any more details about those crimes or how many guns were found.

But a source close to the unfolding controversy, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation, said that as early as January 2010, just after the operation began, Fast and Furious weapons had turned up at crime scenes in Phoenix, Nogales, Douglas and Glendale in Arizona, and in El Paso. The largest haul was 40 Fast and Furious weapons at one crime scene in El Paso.

In all, 57 Fast and Furious weapons were recovered at those six U.S. crime scenes, in addition to the two seized where Agent Brian Terry was killed.

Weich's letter also said a total of 1,418 firearms were circulated under Fast and Furious. How many remain missing in the U.S. and Mexico is unclear. That total is considerably lower than earlier estimates: In the past, authorities have estimated that at least 2,000 guns had vanished.

Melson has told congressional investigators that he learned how the program was operated in the field only after it was shut down last January.

But Weich wrote that the ATF has advised Justice officials that Melson "likely became aware on or about Dec. 9, 2009, as part of a briefing following a seizure of weapons in Douglas, Ariz."

Weich added that the ATF told Justice that although Melson was not given "regular" briefings on Fast and Furious, "periodic updates were provided to the acting director as determined to be necessary by the [ATF] Office of Field Operations. These briefings typically coincided with planned field visits or in preparation for meetings."

Weich added that Holder first spoke to Melson about Fast and Furious "in or about late April" of this year, after the attorney general first learned of the program and during a regular briefing.

Senior Justice officials have insisted they did not know about the "operational tactics" of the program, and the Weich letter reemphasized that point. Weich noted that the officials are cooperating with investigations by Congress and the Justice Department Inspector General's Office, which reflects "our commitment to learning the facts underlying this matter


member of the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang admitted today to conspiring to murder a rival gang member

Posted On 02:34 0 comments

member of the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang admitted today to conspiring to murder a rival gang member in April 2009 and illegally possessing firearms, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Thomas Haskins, 26, of Jersey City, N.J., pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and one count of possession of two firearms while a convicted felon. Haskins entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Haskins admitted that he conspired with other Fruit Town and Brick City Brims members—including Gerard Jennette, a/k/a “Swizzy,” and Samad McCallum—to kill a rival gang member, identified in court documents as “M.B.” They believed M.B. was responsible for ordering the murder of two Fruit Town and Brick City Brims members in Jersey City.

On April 27, 2009, Haskins, Jennette, and McCallum were arrested in Jersey City in a van with a loaded Kahr 9 millimeter handgun, a loaded Intratech Luger 9 millimeter semi-automatic Tec-9, and three ski masks.

Each count to which Haskins pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Haskins is currently scheduled to be sentenced on November 11, 2011.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; law enforcement officers from the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Frank X. Schillari; the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Samuel Jefferson and Chief Thomas Comey; and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Edward J. De Fazio, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa Jampol, Lisa Colone, and Robert Frazer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

McCallum pleaded guilty to the same charges on July 22, 2011.

As for Jennette, the charges and allegations in the Complaint against him are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Shot Mark Duggan’s fiancée held in drugs raid

Posted On 02:33 0 comments

THE fiancée of gangster suspect Mark Duggan has been arrested and quizzed over drug dealing after a large stash of cocaine was allegedly found at her home.
Since he was shot dead by cops almost two weeks ago, Semone Wilson, 29, has insisted her partner had no links to violent gun and drugs gangs.

But she is at the centre of a police investigation after officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Trident team - the same unit trailing Duggan before he died - raided her Tottenham home.

They allegedly found a large quantity of the class A drug and Wilson, mum to three of Duggan's five kids, was arrested.

She was quizzed on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to supply then released on police bail until September.

A 25-year-old man was also questioned and bailed.

News of Wilson's arrest, which took place in June, is so sensitive that Scotland Yard top brass had to inform the Independent Police Complaints Commission before confirming she had been held.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Gun fire erupted on the street in Surrey last night.

Posted On 18:00 0 comments

As many as three individuals came under what appears to be a targetted attack in Guildford, police say.

“Based on [the targets’] background, it seems there is a level of gang affiliation,” said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Peter Thiessen early Tuesday morning.

He said the attack happened at around 10:40 p.m. near the intersection of 101st Avenue and 153rd Street.

There were a “number of people” that witnessed the attack, he said.

“Numerous shots were fired toward the individuals,” Thiessen said, adding that the injuries are “minor.”

At this early stage of the investigation he said police couldn’t say if the attack had anything to do with the fatal mass shooting in Kelowna on Sunday afternoon, which took the life of notorious Red Scorpion gangster Jonathan Bacon, wounded three others, and possibly injured a fifth person—who fled the scene.

“We’ll be looking at whether there is a connection to what happened in Kelowna,” he said. “We’re aware that people sense that a gang war is erupting.”

The officer said investigators are speaking with the individuals who came under fire.

Thiessen said police have seen this sort of violence in the past and “there are strategies in place.”

The first step, he said, is to start gathering intelligence.

Revenge may be on horizon after Kelowna ambush

Posted On 17:31 0 comments

A settling of scores could be on the way between gangs in British Columbia after a notorious leader of the Red Scorpions was gunned down and a full-patch member of the Hells Angels was wounded in a very public daylight attack, police say.

The brazen slaying of 30-year-old Jonathan Bacon outside a glamorous waterfront hotel in Kelowna Sunday has the potential to ignite violent reprisals, RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon acknowledged Monday, a day after the shooting that injured at least four others at the time.

"I think retaliation is something we're very cautious of," the officer told a news conference in the B.C. Interior city.

"Where it might happen, whether it'll happen in Kelowna or any community in this province is something that law enforcement officials are very leery of at this particular time.

"I can't comment on expectations. I think it's a possibility that it could happen."

No arrests have yet been made in the high-profile slaying that police described as linked to organized crime. Const. Steve Holmes said it was targeted but he wouldn't say who in the group was the intended victim.

One person in the Porsche SUV that was hit by the volley of gunfire fled the scene and hasn't been located. Two women were also wounded.

Forensic experts are examining a burnt-out SUV that was found some hours later to see if it's linked.

The police were reluctant to release other details of their investigation, refusing to say how many suspects they're looking for or what kind of weapon was used.

"The investigation is looking at the motive behind Sunday's attack," McKinnon said, adding he wouldn't comment on whether police were already aware gang members were in the city.

"While there can be a series of complex cause-based factors behind it, it can also be as simple as who is dating whom."

Experts in the province's long-running gang violence agreed Monday British Columbians should brace themselves for the possibility of ugly vengeance.

"Definitely this won't be taken lightly by the associates of the supposed victims here," said Kash Heed, a former West Vancouver police chief who helped spearhead the province's anti-gangs task force almost a decade ago.

"I'm sure there will be attempts or certainly a lot of discussion regarding retaliation."

Heed, now a Vancouver-area MLA, said the public should be alarmed.

"Just because we did not have an innocent bystander hurt here, we've have had innocent bystanders hurt and killed in the past," he said, explaining that's why he's urging police to ramp up efforts and co-operation across jurisdictions before more bloody warfare erupts.

"We've known the players for years. ... The infamous Bacon gang, the Red Scorpions, the UN gang, the Hells Angels, the Independent Soldiers. You just got to put the pieces of the puzzle together. And you need to do it with intel-led policing."

Sgt. Shinder Kirk, spokesman for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit which includes the gangs task force, said the shooting shows that gang tensions in the province haven't gone away.

Gangland activity has killed and injured dozens of people in B.C.'s Lower Mainland in recent years. Turf battles have been waged between a variety of different gangs, some over drug profits, with at least four dozen shootings in 2009 in the Vancouver area alone.

Two people in the wrong place at the wrong time were shot to death along with four other men in a Surrey, B.C. apartment building in October 2007. Police blamed the Red Scorpions and Jamie Bacon is among those charged with murder.

"It's very difficult to say what motivated this or motivates any of these types of shootings," Kirk said, noting he couldn't speak to the specifics of the Kelowna case.

"Is it long-standing disputes? We know that in the gang world, they have very long memories and the violence can occur for not only what the group or the individual within the group is up to, but it can occur for any reason."

Whether tit-for-tat clashes are likely "remains to be seen," Kirk said.

He noted that generally, when gang violence occurs, police work not only to finger those responsible, but also to determine "what potentially could fall out as a result of whatever may have occurred, (and) also to look at making arrests and monitoring individuals that are extremely high-profile that could likely get involved."

Anxiety is already building for some officials who work on the front lines in dealing with the repercussions of gang violence.

Vancouver General Hospital imposed a controlled access procedure for almost three hours early Monday morning, restricting visitors to the facility in what a hospital spokeswoman called a safety precaution.

She could not elaborate, but RCMP Insp. Bryon Massie said a patient with a known gang affiliation was being treated.

"They wanted to make sure that the staff and any of the patients at the hospital were not going to be subject to any of the influx of their friends coming in, who would have some gang history," said Massie.

He said the patient was not what he called "a gang player" and wouldn't say if the patient was linked to the Kelowna attack. But he agreed people are nervous about a renewed gang war.

"Any time you are dealing with anything of the nature that took place in Kelowna, I would think that does kind of raise a little bit of a heightened anxiety throughout the whole province," he said.

Witnesses reported spotting suspects dressed all in black brandishing what looked like semi-automatic weapons and then hearing a rapid succession of gunshots, leaving a splatter of blood and the vehicle dappled with bullet holes.

The clamour unfolded outside the front entrance of the swanky Delta Grand hotel after a silvery-green SUV stopped behind the victims' vehicle about 2:45 p.m. PT.

Daniel Bibby, the hotel's general manager, said it was a "tough day" for employees, about 150 who banded together to soothe terrified guests. He said neither Bacon, nor the other victims, were registered guests at the hotel.

"They could have been using different names, it's really hard for me to know at this point," he said, adding he'd prefer to defer to the RCMP on providing further details.

Jonathan and his youngest brother Jamie have escaped attempted assassinations in the past, and in 2008 police warned anyone associated with Jamie and middle brother Jarrod that they may be in danger because of the violence around the brothers.

The three have had repeated run-ins with the law over gun-and-drug offences. Police have said they are the nucleus of the Red Scorpions gang.

Youngest brother Jamie Bacon is currently serving a prison term.

Jonathan Bacon, the eldest, was charged in a case that the Supreme Court of Canada said last year it would review after a lower court found his charter rights were violated when he was charged with drug-and-gun offences in 2005.

Prosecutors have been hampered in their efforts to get convictions on other gang-related crimes.

In April, the Crown stayed charges against the purported leader of the Sanghera crime group, which police blamed for at least 20 fatal shootings.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Three different gangs in vehicle shooting that killed Jonathan Bacon

Posted On 23:43 0 comments

Members of at least three different gangs were in the vehicle targeted in a brazen public shooting outside a Kelowna hotel Sunday afternoon, The Vancouver Sun has learned. Red Scorpion gangster Jon Bacon was killed in the targeted attack and Hells Angel Larry Amero was wounded.

But The Sun has learned that members of the Independent Soldiers gang were with Bacon and Amero when masked gunmen opened fire on their Porsche Cayenne as they attempted to leave the parking lot of the Delta Grand Hotel at about 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

One of the IS members was shot and left the crime scene on his own.

The fact that three different gangs were present makes it difficult for investigators to determine if one or all of those shot were the intended target of the hit, Supt. Pat Fogarty said Monday.

Fogarty, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said anti-gang police specialists are gathering as much intelligence as they can about the shooting and any disputes that led up to it.

And he said police around the province are already working to prevent retaliatory shootings.

Fogarty said it would be wrong for investigators to assume that Bacon, the high-profile Abbotsford native linked to gang violence for years, was the intended target of the shooters.

"In the case of this one, we can't say for sure who was the target," Fogarty said.

"It is not surprising that any of the people in in the car - particularly the men - would be targeted. This is not a shocker for us."

But he said the public should not be concerned about tit-for-tat retribution because police are constantly working to get ahead of plots to target rivals.

"If the public only realized how many of these we get in front of," Fogarty said. "This one slipped through the net."

He said any gangsters that are assertive in the criminal underworld "are going to piss people off."

Despite the drain on resources from working to foil plots, police will do whatever they can to stem further violence, Fogarty said.

Police will pick up people on outstanding warrants or lesser charges to get them off the streets when things are volatile, he said.

And they will also do "duty to warns" - where they knock on the door of gangsters believed to be at risk and tell them someone is plotting to do them harm.

But Fogarty said there is nothing like the "fluidity of gangs and gangsters in this province."

People who are allies one day are enemies the next, he said, which is why people with three different gang tags would be riding around Kelowna together.

"This is clearly an alliance of people that we would not have seen together a couple of years ago," he said.

Fogarty said that as soon as he heard about the shooting, he put together a provincial response plan as the Kelowna investigators began their search for suspects.

"We are more concerned about getting the intelligence flowing," Fogarty said. "If there is any, what kind of fallout will there be?"

He said the shooting of a full-patch Hells Angels shows that other criminals don't fear the biker gang the way they once did.

"Not that many people are afraid of them any more," he said.

He said there are "testosterone-fuelled young bucks" out there willing to commit violent acts like Sunday's shooting.

"That is the way it is now," he said. "This is a particularly serious one - you are slapping the Hells Angels in the face."

Kelowna RCMP Const. Steve Holmes will provide an update on the shooting investigation later Monday. Police have still not officially identified the slain man as Bacon, a former Abbotsford man who was out on bail on gun and drug charges when he was shot to death.

Nor have police confirmed that a vehicle that was found torched later Sunday near Kelowna may have a link to the shooting suspects.

Vancouver Hospital implemented heightened security for several hours Monday morning after a patient with "gang affiliations" was being treated. But that security alert was later lifted.


Jonathan Bacon, one of British Columbia's most notorious gangsters, was shot dead Sunday

Posted On 16:22 0 comments

Jonathan Bacon, one of British Columbia's most notorious gangsters, was shot dead Sunday in a brazen daylight attack outside an upscale Kelowna hotel.

Six people, including Bacon, were taken to Kelowna General Hospital around 3 p.m. after at least one masked gunman opened fire on a vehicle in the parking lot of the Delta Grand Hotel, which houses the Lake City Casino.

One of the injured men is Larry Amero, a full-patch Hells Angels member from White Rock. As of Sunday evening, Amero was clinging to life, a senior police officer told The Province.

It appears the Hells Angels and a splinter group of the Red Scorpions gang were meeting in the area. Police do not know who the shooter is yet, but fear retaliation could lead to an all-out gang war.

B.C. Ambulance spokeswoman Kelsie Carwithen confirmed that paramedics responded to a call in the 1300-block Water Street at 3 p.m. Sunday and transported six patients - one in critical condition - to hospital.

The Province has learned that one of the victims is a niece of a senior Hells Angel. She was shot in the leg.

Bacon was to stand trial this fall in B.C. Provincial Court for 15 weapons and drug charges.

He and his brothers, Jamie and Jarrod, have been linked to a number of crimes in the Lower Mainland. Jamie Bacon is currently in prison, awaiting trial for first-degree murder in the Surrey Six shootings of 2007.

Kelowna RCMP Const. Steve Holmes said the victims were leaving the Delta Grand Hotel parking lot at 2: 45 p.m. Sunday in a white Porsche sport utility vehicle when the shooters drove up behind them.

Witnesses said up to two men wearing masks and black clothing exited the vehicle and opened fire on the victims' SUV, which then travelled a short distance before coming to a halt. Police are searching for a Ford Explorer SUV that was spotted racing from the scene.

Kelowna RCMP are asking any witnesses to the shooting to come forward, though Holmes said the public should have confidence that the RCMP will find those responsible.

"Police believe that the general public is not at risk," Holmes said.

"This kind of incident is quite rare in Kelowna, but when it happens it

is shocking and traumatic to those in the community. The public needs to know that swift and extraordinary measures are being taken in order to ensure that those responsible will be found and brought to account before the courts."

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Mural for Executed Gang Member Painted on Store

Posted On 22:32 0 comments

A mural on the wall of a westside convenience store is causing some controversy.

The painting which went up with the permission of the store owner reads "In Loving Memory of Marty Robles."

Martin Robles was executed by the State of Texas on Wednesday night for the murders of two rival gang members in 2002.

We spoke with a couple who say they are responsible for the mural and had permission from the store to paint it.

They didn't want to go on camera, but defended the mural saying they just wanted to honor the memory of their friend.

They also acknowledged that Robles was responsible for the murders and say he paid the price for it.


five days, at least eight people have been killed in violent shootings in South Florida.

Posted On 22:19 0 comments

25-year-old mom who clerked at a check cashing store. A former head cheerleader at Booker T. Washington Senior High. A middle-aged man who worked mowing lawns with his friend. A distraught U.S. Air Force veteran.

These are the latest victims in a particularly bloody week in South Florida where gunshots have left at least eight people dead and more wounded.

The mom, Clairemathe Geffrard, was shot execution-style in an armed robbery near Fort Lauderdale. The ex-cheerleader, Calvin Milton, Jr., 27, was gunned down in a drive-by in Overtown. Roberto Morejon, in his early 50s, and his ex-girlfriend Yordanis Montoya, 36, were found dead — an apparent murder-suicide — in his Little Havana efficiency Friday morning. And the veteran, Catawaba Howard, 32, fired at Miami-Dade police, who shot back and killed her.

The shootings have devastated friends and families and signal a seasonal summer spike in crime. Law enforcement officials also say they are seeing more firearms on the streets.

“This is real bad,” said Jesus Gonzalez, 82, who had been renting out an efficiency to Morejon in Little Havana. “That makes every citizen living in Miami afraid to even go out and buy something. I go out on my own, but I don’t feel safe in the city.”

Officials say the shootings do not mean there is a crime wave in South Florida. But they do point to a general consensus among experts: Violent crime often spikes during the summer.

Hector Garcia, director of the School of Justice at Miami-Dade College, spoke of a commonly accepted theory: “The hot summer and short tempers lead to more violence.”

Unemployment and adolescents out of school may also contribute to the mayhem.

“When you have all these factors together, it does tend to increase people’s tendencies toward violence,” Garcia said.

In 2005, Miami-Dade saw its murder rate hit a low - 171 murders that year, a rate of seven murders for every 100,000 residents.

Over the last few years, that rate has crept up. In 2010, the murder rate in Miami-Dade was nine for every 100,000 residents. That’s still much better than 1981 when Miami-Dade’s murder rate hit a peak of 33.5 for every 100,000 residents, said Bill Bales, an associate professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University’s, a top-ranked department in the country.

“You’re much less likely to be murdered in Miami-Dade now than 20 years ago. That’s the good news,” Bales said. “There’s certainly concern about the recent trend.”

While violent crime has decreased in Broward County, Sheriff Al Lamberti said his deputies have seen more crimes involving guns, such as Tuesday’s armed robbery that left the clerk at the check cashing store dead. The shooting occurred early in the morning in a busy area off a major thoroughfare with plenty of pedestrian traffic. The gunman came out shooting at police, and a bullet struck a bystander across the street.

And as individual crimes become more violent — at times taking innocent lives — those cases will draw attention and community concern, he said.

“Those strike at the heart of the community when you hear’’ about those brazen kind of shootings, he said.

He has created a unit dubbed the gun squad: one sergeant and three detectives who focus on gun crimes and try to trace the weapons to find where they come from.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Murda Squad’ gang suspected in Reader killing

Posted On 19:43 0 comments

For six years, Jonathan Reader’s family has wondered who took the young man’s life. Now they’re publicly pointing the finger at a violent Halifax street gang.

"We found ourselves in a little bit of a better place this year, if I can put it that way, (because) we now believe we know . . . the group of people that is responsible for Jon’s murder," said David Reader, Jon’s father.

"Over time, the community has persistently and consistently come with the same message and we believe it was a youth gang that went by the name Murder Squad."

Jonathan Reader, 19, was found unconscious and bleeding on the pavement at Radcliffe Drive and Dunbrack Street in Halifax’s Clayton Park at 4:10 a.m. on Aug. 7, 2005. He died a short time later in hospital from what the medical examiner determined was blunt force trauma.

Police believe the incident that led to his death happened in the area of Clayton Park where he was found.

David Reader knows little about the gang he believes killed his son, except that it was involved in crime.

But "there’s something about knowing and putting a label to who they are that’s helpful," the father said. "It’s obviously not as good as having somebody charged, but it is good knowing for us. It helps in the healing to know who they are so that it’s not a secret."

On Friday, police confirmed that the Murda Squad — the real name of the gang — is of interest to detectives working the Reader case.

"Part of our investigation focused on a youth group who refer to themselves as Murda Squad, which was a youth group that was active in the area at the time of Jonathan’s death and that we haven’t ruled out their involvement," said Const. Brian Palmeter, Halifax Regional Police spokesman.

In 2006, The Chronicle Herald’s Brian Hayes reported that metro police had identified the Murda Squad as a youth gang from Fairview. It was one of a handful of violent youth gangs in the city that police had been tracking.

"The gangs in this area (Metro Halifax) appear to have started on a small scale but the nature and violence of the offices they are involved (in) seems to have increased," said a 2007 federal Justice Department report that looked into urban gangs across Canada.

The report said the Murda Squad was one of the most prevalent of the five urban gangs in the city at the time.

The gang had 10 to 15 members and numerous associates, who were black and white, the report said. "While the gender makeup is mostly male, there are some female members," the report said. "They often wear specific coloured bandanas and T-shirts or sweatshirts. They also tend to use hand signs for communication" and were into robberies, trafficking, weapons offences, threats and assaults.

David Reader said his son, a graduate of Halifax West High School who was looking forward to going to Saint Mary’s University, was not connected to the gang.

It’s a sentiment echoed by police.

"There’s no indication that he did anything to contribute to his death," Palmeter said. "He was what we would believe to be a completely innocent victim."

By identifying the gang, "we’re hoping that the people who were associated, who are involved may realize that we do have information and they may re-evaluate their silence," the officer said.

Those who don’t, he said, could face charges of accessory to murder after the fact.

Major crime investigators traced Jonathan Reader’s movements leading up to his death and determined that he left the Pacifico Bar and Grill in Halifax at 1:57 a.m. with an unidentified woman. At 3:20 a.m., he was in the area of Dutch Village Road, likely alone.

But what happened between then and when he was found isn’t known.

The provincial Justice Department has offered a $150,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Reader’s death.

Police are asking anyone who may have seen anything out of the ordinary on Radcliffe Drive and Dunbrack Street in the wee hours of Aug. 7, 2005, to contact investigators at (902) 490-5333 or Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 1-800-222-8477.

"Jon was an innocent victim," David Reader said. "He was a normal, healthy 19-year-old from a relatively normal family. . . . He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and we just need somebody to talk and be held accountable for it."


Police have released the identity of two men who were killed outside of a nightclub early Sunday morning in a gang-related shooting.

Posted On 19:41 0 comments

Ruben Sanchez, 34, and Angel Rodriguez, 30, died after being shot on the 500 block of I Street near Club Azul.
Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. said police have determined the two homicide victims are from the same gang. Authorities, however, declined to reveal whether motorcycle gangs were involved.
Double homicide reported in Los Banos

Police have not named a suspect and are continuing to talk to witnesses.
Police responded to the scene after reports of a large fight involving firearms at 1:46 a.m. When officers arrived, they heard several shot being fired from the north alleyway and saw several people running from the scene. Officers located the two victims, who were both pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.
Reyna said his department is planning to contact the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control about Club Azul’s role in the incident.
A woman named Stacy, who is an employee at Club Azul, said the owner is waiting to see the police report before she comments on the incident.
Reyna said all of the department’s detectives are working on the case and police are increasing nighttime patrol as a public safety measure. The incident marked the 13th gang-related shooting in Los Banos since April and the first and second homicides of the year.
On June 7 Los Banos worked with the state attorney general’s office and multiple city and county law enforcement agencies on Operation Red Zone. The operation focused on Norteño criminal street gang members and resulted in 72 arrests, 30 of which were gang members living in Los Banos.

Fifty-nine are members or associates of either the Elm Street Wolves or the Cliff Street Gangsters – two street gangs based in that city charged

Posted On 19:40 0 comments

Authorities Tuesday announced the unsealing of five separate indictments against 65 people charging them with federal crimes including murder, narcotics distribution and firearms possession in Yonkers.  Fifty-nine are members or associates of either the Elm Street Wolves or the Cliff Street Gangsters – two street gangs based in that city.

A 21-count indictment charges 47 members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves with several counts related to distribution of crack cocaine as well as firearms offenses.

Three of the members, including its leader, Steven Knowles, are also charged with the murder of Christopher Cokley, a member of a rival gang, on July 4, 2009.

A five-count indictment charges 12 members and associates of the Cliff Street Gangsters with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana, as well as firearms offenses.

Two additional indictments charge four Yonkers residents with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine as well as possession and distribution of the drug.

A fifth indictment charges two residents with conspiracy to distribute firearms and with selling two semi-automatic firearms.

During the warrant searches at 13 locations Tuesday, authorities seized a number of firearms, crack and marijuana and cash from at least 11 individuals and locations.

The new federal charges “should make it crystal clear that if you join a gang or deal drugs or engage in violence in Yonkers, you are facing federal time now,” said US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A man shot by police - sparking the riots which have hit London for several nights - died of a single gunshot wound to the chest,

Posted On 14:26 0 comments

A man shot by police - sparking the riots which have hit London for several nights - died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, an inquest has heard.
Mark Duggan, 29, was killed by armed officers last Thursday in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, north London, after they stopped the minicab he was in to carry out an arrest as part of a pre-planned operation.

An inquest, opened at North London Coroner's Court in High Barnet, heard that the father of four died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

He was pronounced dead at 6.41pm on Thursday evening.

Colin Sparrow, deputy senior investigator for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), told the brief hearing that their "complex investigation" could take four to six months.

Coroner for the Northern District of Greater London Andrew Walker adjourned the hearing to December 12 when a pre-inquest review will be held.

Mr Walker told members of Mr Duggan's family, including his fiancee Semone Wilson: "Can I just offer my deepest sympathies to the family of Mark Duggan.

"As members of the family will know, in due course there will be an inquest touching the death of Mark Duggan and this is the first stage in that process.

"Of course, as well as offering our deepest sympathies to members of the family, I would like to reassure members of the family that we will be working closely with the IPCC throughout the process.

Two Fatally Shot in Los Banos

Posted On 14:05 0 comments

Los Banos police were called to a club at the 500 block of "I" street just before 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

Upon arrival, officers heard several gunshots and found two men, ages 30 and 34-years-old, fatally shot.

The two murders are the city's first and second homicide for the year.

The shooting is under investigation but police believe the incident was gang relate.


thrill-seeking Florida stripper and her AK-47-toting siblings on a multistate crime spree yesterday ignored their heartsick mother's plea to give themselves up

Posted On 14:01 0 comments

thrill-seeking Florida stripper and her AK-47-toting siblings on a multistate crime spree yesterday ignored their heartsick mother's plea to give themselves up, authorities said.

The mom's appeal came as the FBI launched a nationwide manhunt for alleged "Dougherty Gang" bank robbers Lee Grace Dougherty, a 26-year-old exotic dancer; her brother Ryan Dougherty, 21; and their half-brother, Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26.

"The only safe thing, the only right thing, the only good thing to do is turn yourselves in," Barbara Bell begged her kids.

BAD GIRL: Florida stripper Lee Grace Dougherty (above) and her two brothers have embarked on a wild crime spree, including shooting at a cop and robbing a Georgia bank at gunpoint, police say.

"Only Mom knows what good people you are inside," she said.

"Please prove me right . . .You've made some bad mistakes, but so far, no one has been physically harmed.

"I love you," she added.

The rampaging siblings have been on the lam since last Tuesday, when they allegedly opened fire on a Zephyrhills, Fla., cop who had been trying to chase down their white Subaru for speeding.

The cop wasn't hurt, but one of the 20 bullets they unleashed on him flattened one of his tires and effectively ended the chase.

Later that day, the Doughertys turned up about 200 miles away at a Georgia bank.

All three, masked and armed with AK-47s, shot up the bank ceiling before making off with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

The siblings' faces are now plastered on billboards across the Southeast.

Lee Grace -- who works as a stripper at Cheaters in Cocoa Beach -- had also been wanted by police for a probation violation.

Like both her brothers, she has a rap sheet -- records show her most recent arrest was May 17, when she allegedly bashed up a car and left the scene.

The FBI believes the trio first tried to flee the highway cop because of Ryan Dougherty, who was sentenced Aug. 1 to 12 years of probation for sending nearly 400 sexually explicit text messages to an 11-year-old girl he met on MySpace.

As part of his plea deal, Ryan had been required to register as a sex offender -- which he had not yet done -- and did not want to risk going to jail because of it if caught, officials believe.

The Subaru that the three were driving in is registered in Troy, NY, to Amanda Suriano, who is due to give birth to Ryan's son Aug. 13, according to her online Target gift registry.

Suriano, who now lives in Florida, couldn't be reached, and relatives in Troy didn't return calls.

Police said the Doughertys have sent at least one text message to their mom while on the lam.

"There's a time for all of us to die," it read.

Lee Grace has previously boasted of her penchant for wreaking havoc, particularly with her brothers.

"I love to farm and shoot guys and wreck cars," she wrote on her profile page.

"I'm a redneck and proud of it, I like causing mayhem with my siblings."

A police search of an abandoned home that the Dougherty trio had recently shared turned up an expansive underground bunker. The siblings are believed to have a stockpile of weapons with them.

"I don't think this will end happily," said Lee Grace's fiancé of seven months, college math teacher Brendon Bookman.

Records show the twice-divorced Bookman, 43, was arrested on domestic-violence charges in May, the same day his fiancée was nabbed in the car-bashing incident.

Late yesterday, police were checking tips that the siblings' car had been seen in Forsyth, Ga., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Monday, 8 August 2011

MS-13's Intention Is To "attack and kill rival gang members

Posted On 22:30 0 comments

A prosecutor told a federal jury in San Francisco today that the most important rule of the MS-13 street gang is to "attack and kill rival gang members."

"They waged war against rival gang members ... and they ended up spilling a lot of blood on the streets of San Francisco," prosecutor Wilson Leung told the jury in the court of U.S. District Judge William Alsup.

"This was what MS-13 was all about: violence and bloodletting," the prosecutor said.
Leung spoke at the start of closing arguments in the four-month racketeering and murder conspiracy trial of seven members of the MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang.

The seven men, most of whom are in their early 20s, belonged to a branch of MS-13 centered at 20th and Mission streets in San Francisco.

All are accused of conspiring to racketeer, or engage in organized crime, and conspiring to commit murders. Three are also charged with carrying out four shooting murders on San Francisco streets in 2008.

Closing arguments by prosecution and defense are scheduled to take all week, and the jury is expected to begin deliberating early next week.

The MS-13 gang has roots in El Salvador and now has thousands of members in 20 states and Central America, according to prosecutors. MS-13 members identify with gangs known as "Surenos," whose gang color is blue, and their principal rivals are "Nortenos," who use the color red.

Leung, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the jury that the racketeering included murder, attempted murder, assaults, gun use, drug dealing and extortion.

After saying that 11 guns allegedly owned by gang members had been seized, Leung read off the evidence numbers of the weapons as an agent showed one shotgun and 10 handguns to the jury one by one.

The four murder victims included a member of a rival gang, a seller of fake identification documents who refused to pay an extortion "tax" to the 20th Street group, and two men who were wearing red but were not gang members, according to prosecutors.

Defense attorneys during the trial have sought to question the credibility of former gang members who testified for the prosecution in exchange for plea deals.



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