• Sun, September 27, 2015 12:16 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Gates, N.Y. - Gates Police say they have always taken a proactive approach to fighting gang activity. Police and town leaders, along with the FBI monitor 3,000 gang members. They know who they are, where they live, what they're doing and what crimes they commit.

    Though Town Supervisor Mark Assini said most live in the city, he said some do live in the suburbs and the crimes spill into towns in the community.

    Assini confirmed that 21-year-old Johnny Blackshell, Jr., who was charged in connection with the mass shooting on Genesee Street last month, was a known gang member police have been tracking.

    Blackshell lived on a quiet cul-de-sac in Chili. His arrest and ties to gang activity were a surprise to his neighbors, many of who told us they were afraid to talk on camera.

    Assini said people who don’t think there is a gang problem in Rochester and Monroe County need to acknowledge these gangs not only exist, but can be associated with violent crimes.

    He said Gates has a tough approach to get to the gang members before violence occurs.

    "The first step is to recognize we have a gang problem here...if you belong to a gang, we are going to make your life miserable. You're not going to terrorize suburban towns...we're coming after you," Assini said.

    Assini said he isn't afraid to acknowledge the presence of gangs because he said it's the only way to deal with it.

    While these gangs are sometimes referred to as "groups of youth," Assini said he tells it like it is.

    "Youth groups aren't people who take out AK-47's and mow down their neighbors...we have sent a strong message to these gangs: We will track you down, we know where you are and who you are, you're not going to get away with it."

    Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode said he has always taken a tough approach when it comes to gang activity. He was part of a task force on gang violence when he worked in the Rochester Police Department several years ago. He said gangs aren't anything new; they have just become more violent.

    He said his department has learned of planned concerts, gatherings and other events that were gang-related and shut them down before they could happen.

    He told 13WHAM News, “We have no tolerance for these gangs. The minute they come to Gates, we are all over it. It's something we've taken seriously for 25 years."

  • Sun, September 27, 2015 12:15 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The federal government has awarded Syracuse a $300,000 grant to continue a program to combat gun and street gang violence.

    It's the second time in two years the city has received the grant from the federal Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

    The grant funds a coalition of law enforcement agencies and community groups to reduce gun and gang violence, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said Tuesday.

    The grant will fund Syracuse Truce, a program that began in 2013 in which law enforcement and community service agencies work together to reduce tensions between police and the community in the hope of reducing gang violence.

    Under Truce, police zero in on a small group of gang members responsible for most of the violent crime. Police tell the gangsters there's help if they want it, but that if they commit more violence, law enforcement will target their entire gang.

    Through the city's gang violence task force, eight Syracuse street gangs have been prosecuted in federal court since 2003, Hartunian said.

    Syracuse also received a $1.5 million federal grant in 2013 to support a U.S. Department of Justice program to combat gang and gun violence.

    "There is no higher priority than combining resources to save the lives of our young people," Hartunian said in a news release.

  • Wed, May 20, 2015 7:24 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Two men were convicted of charges in the slaying of a 17-year-old Rochester boy in Monroe County Court.

    The jury found Vincent Bean, 20, guilty on charges of murder, manslaughter and gang assault. The same jury also found Ronald Nelson, 28, guilty of gang assault

    Prosecutors say the men approached Travone Teasley, 17, at the corner of Kirkland and Genesee Street June 20, 2014. They chased him, beat him and then Bean stabbed him to death.

    A third defendant, Deiondre Francis, was also involved and plead guilty.

    Bean faces 25 years to life when he is sentenced June 9, 2015. Nelson faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced the following week.

  • Thu, May 07, 2015 3:44 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    NEW YORK (AP) - Ten reputed members of the Bloods street gang have been indicted in a gunrunning ring that smuggled weapons to New York City for resale.

    Authorities unsealed the 367-count indictment Wednesday.

    They say the gang would use Metro-North to smuggle weapons into the city from Port Chester and Connecticut. The firearms ranged from .22 caliber pistols to assault weapons.

    The suspects face charges of conspiracy, criminal possession and criminal sale of firearms.

    One defendant was indicted separately on a murder conspiracy charge.

    The alleged ring leader used the nickname "Redrum" - murder spelling backward

    State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the allegations lay out a disturbing but "all too familiar" pattern of gun trafficking and violence.

    Authorities say an undercover officer bought nearly 100 guns on 47 separate occasions from the suspects.

  • Wed, May 06, 2015 3:42 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Derrick Yancey, 27, of Buffalo, a member of the now-defunct 10th Street Gang, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to serve a 168-month federal prison term for his conspiracy conviction under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi said that from 2005 through 2010 Yancey was an active member of the gang and on Sept. 15, 2008 he drove other gang members to Busti Avenue where they shot and killed Omar Fraticello-Lugo, an alleged member of the rival and now-defunct 7th Street Gang, and injured two other men. Yancey is the latest of 44 members of the 10th Street Gang or their associates charged and convicted.

  • Wed, May 06, 2015 3:41 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Three Buffalo women were arrested on felony gang assault charges late Tuesday and two other women were being sought by police in connection with the alleged attack on a 7th Street woman late Monday afternoon.

    Bridgett A. Salter, 33, of Pine Harbor Walk; Alexis Davis, 17, of 7th Street and Ayana Hardyh, 24, who refused to give police a local address, were all charged with second-degree gang assault for allegedly accosting the victim and hitting her while she was holding her 7-year-old daughter near her home.

    Police reported obtaining a video tape of the incident made with an apartment building surveillance camera system. Two other unidentified women still were being sought for allegedly taking part in the incident.

  • Wed, May 06, 2015 3:40 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Nine alleged members and associates of the violent Bloods street gang were indicted on charges of operating a high-volume gun trafficking ring, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announced Wednesday .

    According to the 367-count felony indictment unsealed in Bronx Supreme Court, investigators seized 93 illegal guns.

    The weapons were allegedly purchased on New York City streets, but also in Port Chester, Maine and Connecticut for resale in New York City by ring members.

    Some of the guns bought in Port Chester and Stamford, Conn., were transported to the city on Metro-North trains and the weapons were resold in New York City for several times their original price, the attorney general's office said.

    Stamford Police arrested two of the men Tuesday after they were drawn into the investigation by New York City Police, New York State investigators and federal authorities last week, said Capt. Richard Conklin. He said Stamford police were told two of the suspects may have been spending time in the city.

    Brett "Agony" Irving-Carroll, 27, was arrested at his residence at 186 W. Main St., Apt. C., shortly before 6 a.m. Conklin said. He said police had been conducting surveillance on him and the residence. Stamford Police were joined New York City Police, New York Attorney General's office and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms representatives at the arrest.

    Conklin said a Ruger semiautomatic pistol with a laser sight, ammunition for other weapons and 3.5 pounds of marijuana were found in the residence.

    Irving-Carroll was extradited to New York, but Conklin said Stamford Police will also prepare drug and weapon charges against him.

    Later, officers swooped in and arrested a second member of the Bloods, Cadeim Beckford, 20, of the Bronx, as he walked in the area of Pacific Street and Towne Street in Stamford around 1 p.m. Conklin said Stamford Police will not be pressing any charges against Beckford because he was simply arrested by city police on behalf of New York authorities.

    Conklin said Stamford Police are "very interested" in the men's presence in Stamford.

    "We are very interested that they are in our fair city," he said.

    As a result of the Operation Redrum investigation, based on the nickname of alleged ring leader William “Redrum” Soler, the gang members and associates were charged with felony conspiracy and criminal possession and criminal sale of firearms counts. Soler was also charged with second-degree conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, for allegedly plotting to kill a rival gang member.

    If convicted, the lead defendants, Soler, Ronald Snyder, Princesequan Hunter, and Cadeim Beckford, face up to 25 years in prison on the top count, first-degree criminal sale of a firearm.

    A 10th defendant, Erick Ransom, was separately indicted for the murder conspiracy. He also faces up to 25 years behind bars.

    The investigation, led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit, began last summer.

    According to the papers, after an undercover detective, posing as a gun reseller, purchased guns directly from Soler, electronic surveillance was used to monitor the ring’s activities.

    Firearms sales charged in the indictment range from .22 caliber pistols to assault weapons. Approximately 11 of the guns seized had the serial numbers filed off, making the weapons untraceable.

    The indictment charges the following defendants:

    • Devon “Burnz” Fairburn, 27, Brooklyn.
    • William “Wobbles” Soler, 33, the Bronx.
    • Ronald “Piff” Snyder, 25, Manhattan.
    • Princesequan “Saiko” Hunter, 29, the Bronx.
    • Cadeim “Deim” Beckford, 20, the Bronx.
    • Brett “Agony” Carroll, Stamford, Conn.
    • Jordan Romeo, 20, Binghamton.
    • Terrence “T-Bone” Gordon, 35, Rocky Point, N.Y.
    • Julio “Punn” Morales, 29, the Bronx.
    • Erick “Pilz” Ransom, 26, the Bronx.
  • Tue, May 05, 2015 3:39 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    JACKSON HEIGHTS — Two gunmen shot and killed a man in what appears to be a gang-related attack, sparking investigators to shut down part of the neighborhood in a search for the suspects, officials said.

    The victim, identified as Jorge Manzanarez, 38, of Corona, was in front of 93-12 Roosevelt Ave., near Whitney Avenue, about 2:23 p.m., when he was shot in the torso, an NYPD spokesman said.

    He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition, an FDNY spokesman said. He later died of his injuries, police said.

    In the wake of the shooting, police cordoned off Roosevelt Avenue between 93rd and 94th streets and Whitney Avenue from Aske Street to 40th Road to allow investigators to canvass the area.

    Police looked under cars and in backyards for the two suspects while a police helicopter circled overhead.

    Locals said the shooting and police response made them feel tense.

    Slideshow A man was shot on Roosevelt Avenue near Whitney Street, police said.

    Man Shot to Death in Jackson Heights Shooting, Police Say

    "Everybody who live here, is not safe," said Alfons Matta, 69, who has lived in the area for 10 years, "You have to protect yourself. Close door, go inside. A lot of gangs. You have to stay away."

    The investigation continued Wednesday, but an NYPD spokesman said it appeared to be a gang-related incident.

  • Tue, May 05, 2015 3:38 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    The Guardian Angels, who have been diligently patrolling Greenport every week for months, have uncovered what they believe is gang graffitti near the railroad tracks.

    According to Benjamin Garcia, patrol leader for the Guardian Angels in Greenport, the graffiti was found on a trailer, and read “666”.

    According to multiple sources, the “666” tag is sometimes used by the 18th Street gang.

    “We do get a variety of graffiti complaints over the course of the year, some are just tags of a graffiti artists’s work, some are simply symbols of favorite bands — but some are definitely associated with gang symbols and gangs marking their territory,” said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley. “We have seen the ‘666’ tag in the past in different parks in Greenport, so this may be an older graffiti marking, and yes, that symbol was associated with the 18th Street gang. We investigate every report of graffiti sightings in town and document them by photographing and maintaining a file with all of these photos, which will assist with our investigations.”

    Steven Lundquist, commanding officer of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Gang Intelligence Unit, said the symbol is also used as a sign of the devil.

    Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, said the Guardian Angels are fighting back and taking a proactive stance against any signs of gang activity in Greenport, including graffiti.

    “There is no doubt that it is gang related graffiti,” Sliwa said. “In communities all over the country, large or small, there is a rule of thumb: As soon as the gang graffiti goes up, it must be painted over or removed.”

    Often, Sliwa said, the graffiti is painted on commercial or residential property that’s owned by absentee landlords and property managers, “if they even have one, normally won’t lift a finger to have it removed. Every day it remains up, it empowers the gangs all the more. It says to the immigrant community, ‘We rule the day and we rule the night.’ The kids see it and then, some are attracted to it as part of a public recruitment campaign. Every minute, every hour, every day it remains up it strengthens the gang.”

    Sliwa said if the graffiti remains in Greeport, the Guardian Angels will remove it themselves.

    Hate crimes and graffiti laced with gang symbols must be eradicated, Sliwa said. “Imagine if it were swastikas, how quickly it would be removed, and rightfully so. The fear and intimidation of what the swastika stands for, especially in the Jewish community — we’ve seen that controversy blow up recently in Commack and before that, in Bellmore, where teenagers were flaunting swastikas. When the immigrant community sees the gang graffiti from their country of origins it reminds them of the nightmare that they have fled from. The tyranny has followed them to the East End.”

    Sliwa attended a Tolerance Dinner at Westbury Manor last night hosted by the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, he said. “The people of Long Island need to recognize the harm, fear, fright and hysteria that the gang graffiti spreads in the immigrant community. We will be in the forefront of removing it and keeping it off.”

    In Southold Town, the anti-bias task force came before the town board today and outlined ways it, too, aims to galvanize to prevent gang activity or bullying, looking toward education of young people to help create change. The immigrant community, they said, needs to be able to feel comfortable coming forward to the police when necessary; the hiring of a Spanish-speaking officer this year was a critical step, the group said.


    Meanwhile, the Guardian Angels who’ve patrolled the streets of Greenport continue to report a positive response from the community.

    “Cars have been passing, with drivers honking at us and giving us the thumb’s up,” Garcia said.

    Diners on Front Street stopped a recent patrol and thanked the Guardian Angels, as did recent guests at a children’s birthday party held near the carousel; kids and parents asked the Guardian Angels if they could pose with them for photos.

    “They tell us we’re doing a great job,” Garcia said, adding that even a police officer on patrol last weekend gave the Guardian Angels words of support.

    Cami Feeney of Southold said after she heard about a brutal gang shooting and machete attack that began in Greenport between the 18th Street gang and MS-13 and ended up in Southold last fall, she was “very, very concerned. I was shocked.” She and her family left Sayville for a quieter North Fork life but now, she said, she won’t even let her the son, 14, ride his bike alone at night.

    Stopping to thank the Guardian Angels, Feeney said, “It’s nice to see you guys here,” she said. “Thank you for what you do.”

    On a recent patrol with the Guardian Angels, two members of the Latino community also stopped to sign up as future patrol members. “I want to help make a difference in my community,” said Walter Alvarado.

    Sliwa said the Guardian Angels’ continuous presence in the village over the past months has helped to create bonds and a sense of security.

    “The Guardian Angels’ regular presence is building up trust in the local immigrant community, so if they have a problem involving public safety they know feel confident to approach members of their own community, who are out there boldly patrolling as Guardian Angels. From the merchants to families to day laborers and street people, the more we’re out and involved with their community the more trust is conveyed into us. As of this date the assimilation of the Guardian Angels into the immigrant community is working as planned,” he said.

  • Mon, May 04, 2015 3:37 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Syracuse, NY -- Jerry Benton is going on trial later this month in the stabbing death of another man outside a Milton Avenue bar last year.

    But can Senior Assistant District Attorney Melinda McGunnigle bring up his alleged gang affiliation to the jury? Benton's lawyer says no, arguing that it's "highly prejudicial."

    Defense lawyer Robert Baska noted that Benton, 32, was not charged with a gang-related homicide. Benton is charged with manslaughter, accused of stabbing Bryan "Gadget" Sheppard to death June 7, 2014 outside Club Gravity bar, on Milton Avenue near the city's border with Solvay.

    But McGunnigle said her key law enforcement witnesses -- including Benton's federal parole officer and Syracuse cops -- recognized Benton because he was considered a gang member.

    The key piece of evidence in Benton's trial will be a videotape of the fatal stabbing.

    McGunnigle said Benton's parole officer -- he was convicted of federal drug crimes -- will say she recognized Benton as the attacker. Federal authorities had labeled Benton a gang member, but never prosecuted him as such.

    In addition, a Syracuse police officer who followed street gangs and recognized Benton in the video because of Benton's reputed gang affiliation, McGunnigle said.

    Baska argued that McGunnigle simply wanted to bring up the gang issue to provide a motive for the crime that wasn't proven with facts. McGunnigle said there was a known conflict between Bricktown -- Benton's alleged gang -- and the 110 gang. She suggested that was an impetus for the fight.

    "I do think it's a motive, but also his identity," McGunnigle said.

    Benton reportedly made a reference to his membership in the Bricktown gang during a scuffle at the Onondaga County Justice Center jail, McGunnigle said.

    County Court Judge Thomas J. Miller said he would offer Baska time to respond in writing before making his decision. He promised to rule by the end of the week.

    But the judge appeared to look for ways today to allow the prosecution to present a case without bringing up the word "gang." For the parole officer, for example, would it be OK to tell the jury that Benton had been convicted of a previous crime without saying he had been identified as a gang member?

    Benton goes to trial May 18. If found guilty, he is facing up to 25 years in state prison.

    This is not a new issue. In a trial earlier this year, it wasn't made public until sentencing that a Syracuse man accused of murder was a gang member.

    Lewis Swift was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison this February for the brutal beating death of Carnell Marshall. Prosecutor Matthew Doran was barred until sentencing from saying that Swift was a gang member who ordered his subordinates to carry out the fatal attack.

    And in 2014, a judge barred prosecutors from labeling a Syracuse man as a gang member at a murder trial involving a death outside a South Avenue bar. That defendant was acquitted of the crime.

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