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  • Tue, April 21, 2015 11:02 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)


    GREAT mountain climb.jpg

    Kids climb a wall at the G.R.E.A.T. Summer Youth Academy which is meant to teach kids how to cope with pressure to join gangs through team and confidence building exercises, police said. (Provided by Syracuse Police Department)

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Children with a high risk of joining gangs can attend a summer program sponsored by Syracuse police to help keep them out of trouble.

    The G.R.E.A.T. Summer Youth Academy is meant to teach kids how to cope with pressure to join gangs through team and confidence building exercises, said Lt. Geno Turo.

    The year-long program, Gang Resistance Education and Training, is a national initiative that teaches kids how and why they should stay out of gangs. Three officers, who are also certified teachers, run the Syracuse-based program.

    GREAT obstacle course.jpg

    Kids try out an elevated obstacle course at the G.R.E.A.T. Summer Youth Academy, which is meant to teach kids how to cope with pressure to join gangs through team and confidence building exercises, police said. Provided by Syracuse Police Department 

    Turo said one major team and confidence building exercise they do at the summer sessions is an obstacle course that requires kids to complete individual tasks to help their team finish the course. The course starts on the ground before rising to a height of 30 feet, where kids try to do it again while wearing safety harnesses.

    Turo said other activities include role playing games, field trips and lectures.

    "This is our only line of offense (against gangs)," Turo said.

    The summer academy is also meant to create a relationship with police officers and young people who might come from a community where mutual respect between the two does not exist.

    "Their environment tells them police are evil," Turo said, adding that reports of officer shootings, such as the one in which a black man was shot and killed while running away from police in South Carolina, do nothing to help ease tensions between the groups.

    "That's not who we really are. That's an exceptional disgrace to our field," Turo said.

    He admits that not everyone can be saved from turning toward a life of crime or drugs, but he steadfastly says the prevention programs work.

    He said students tell officers from one year to the next that they've used skills they learned at the summer academy or through G.R.E.A.T. to stay out of gangs.

    "Those are the little success stories," Turo said.

    Applications for the summer academy can be found at the Syracuse Police Department website.

  • Mon, April 13, 2015 2:50 PM | NYGIA (Administrator)

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A Latin Kings gang leader in New Jersey has been convicted again for his involvement in the 2004 killing of a female gang member who witnessed an abduction.

    Latin Kings leader Jose "Boom Bat" Negrete was found guilty of murder and conspiracy in the death of 23-year-old Jeri Lynn Dotson. He was also convicted of attempted murder for his role in the abduction and beating of a rival gang member.

    Negrete was also convicted in 2009, but his 80-year prison sentence was overturned by an appellate court because of jury misconduct.

    Negrete's attorney, Jack Furlong, says he will file a motion for a new trial. He says he was deprived of his right to confront some of the fellow gang members who testified against him.

  • Mon, April 13, 2015 2:49 PM | NYGIA (Administrator)

    Fifteen alleged gang members were charged with everything from attempted murder to conspiracy after the clan allegedly plotted vicious crimes via social media, prosecutors said Wednesday.

    The Lyman Bosses, a violent Bronx based gang, was being probed by the District Attorney’s office and the NYPD as they monitored their Facebook interactions where the thugs often posted about targeting rival gangs, sources said.

    The youngest of those arrested was 17-year-old Fabian Johnson who was charged with conspiracy, robbery and assault, according to an official press release from the District Attorney’s office.

    Daquan Carrasco,18, also known as Day Day Lyman, was slapped with charges of attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon, records show.

    Ten of the 15 gang members face conspiracy charges.

    Seven of the thugs were already in police custody for prior offenses, including a March 1 robbery, where the violent teens assaulted a food delivery man and swiped his cell phone and cash, sources said.

    The remaining eight men were rounded up during a raid conducted by the NYPD’s 42nd Precinct early Wednesday morning.

    Some of gang affiliates have whacky nicknames like ‘Sal Capone’ and ‘Mal Pacino.’

    “This investigation is an example of law enforcement addressing the violence caused by street crews such as the Lyman Gang whose reckless actions affect the quality of life of the residents where they operate,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.

    “I want to thank the members of the 42nd Precinct and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for bringing these alleged crew members to justice,” he added.

    Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said, ” “This kind of violence is senseless, and it is our office’s goal, along with that of the NYPD, to make sure that guns are taken off the streets, and those wrongdoers who would use guns or other means to threaten the safety of law abiding citizens, are targeted by our investigations.”

  • Tue, April 07, 2015 11:22 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

    NEW YORK (AP) — A reputed street gang leader has been sentenced to life in prison following a New York City trial that featured his amateur rap videos.

    A judge Thursday announced the sentencing of 33-year-old Ronald Herron, who was found guilty in a Brooklyn federal court last year of multiple counts of murder, racketeering and drug trafficking.

    Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis sentenced Herron to 12 life terms plus 105 years, saying the amateur rapper has “shown a complete lack of remorse for (his) abhorrent conduct,” The New York Times reports.

    Herron seemed defiant in the wake of his sentencing, saying the court created “an atmosphere of guilt.”

    “You can sentence me to 10 life sentences,” he told the court, according to the New York Post. “But I am only going to die one time. God have mercy on all of us. 

    During the trial, prosecutors showed jurors videos of Herron rhyming about carrying guns and spilling the blood of rivals. The government argued the recordings were proof of his status as the violent leader of a Bloods faction called the Murderous Mad Dogs.

    Before trial, the defense had unsuccessfully argued that the videos should be off-limits because they’re free speech. Herron testified that his lyrics were “exaggeration” and “hyberbole.”

  • Fri, April 03, 2015 11:21 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

     Kathy Buettner, the spokeswoman for Cure Violence, responded to the story Friday and wrote: "The issues about the management of a site are handled at the local level, not at the Cure Violence national level."

    New York City Mission Society, the organization that runs Harlem SNUG, said staffing changes were recently made but did not say whether allegations of gang activity were the cause.

    Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the Mission Society, did not provide more details.

    Original Story

    Shawanna Vaughn thought she had landed her dream job in November, joining New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $12.7 million plan to curtail the bloodshed produced by the city’s deadly mix of street beefs and guns.

    The 36-year-old mother of two went to work as a violence interrupter for Harlem SNUG (that’s guns spelled backwards), part of a nationwide program called Cure Violence that treats urban crime as a contagious disease. Vaughn earned a $32,000 salary interviewing victims of stabbings and shootings as they recovered in Harlem Hospital. She would offer to help mediate between victims and attackers, to defuse tensions. She always promised to keep their stories secret from the police.

    Now Vaughn has become, depending on who is telling the story, a whistleblower or a snitch. In late February, Vaughn told a program director with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice that Harlem SNUG employs active members of the Bloods gang and a subsidiary group called Shine Love, a street crew based out of a nearby public housing development. In an interview with The Marshall Project, Vaughn said neighborhood drug dealers used the SNUG office bathroom to deal narcotics. On one occasion, she said, a former SNUG employee showed up at the office with three armed men who pulled out their guns on a co-worker. On March 12 she was fired, and took her story to the New York Police Department.

    “People’s public safety is at risk,” Vaughn said. “You have to tell the truth.”

    Cure Violence declined to respond to questions about Vaughn’s charges or to say why she was fired. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has a prosecutor looking into her allegations. Sarah Solon, a spokeswoman for Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, confirmed city officials are also investigating.

    “The City takes these allegations seriously,” Solon wrote in a statement. “We do not want to lose sight of the important role that credible messengers and targeted programming can play in preventing violence, however it must be done in a manner that promotes safety.”

    Safety has been a recurring issue for Harlem SNUG’s parent organization, Cure Violence, which uses former gang members to mediate simmering street conflicts between warring teenagers and young adults who are beyond the influence of local police.

    Cure Violence was started under the rubric CeaseFire in Chicago in 1995 by Gary Slutkin, an epidemiologist who theorized that gang violence could be treated like an epidemic. (Slutkin had worked with the World Health Organization combating AIDS in Uganda.) Unlike an anti-gang model popularized in Boston during the late 1990s, in which ex-offenders and police officers worked together to curtail violence, Slutkin’s approach leans more heavily on members of the street culture.

    “We hire the people who already know everybody around from the same neighborhoods, and they're very much trusted,” said Slutkin in a recent NPR interview. “There's a way to reverse epidemics. And in order to interrupt the transmission, you need to detect and find first cases.”

    Cure Violence, based out of the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, employs an estimated 350 outreach workers in 23 cities across the country and has a reputation as an effective anti-violence program. It has received more than $14 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a version of the program launched in Baltimore, called Safe Streets, has won multiple grants from the U.S. Department of Justice. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for The Prevention of Youth Violence reported in a January 2012 study that the Baltimore program had mediated 276 disputes and prevented at least five homicides and 35 nonfatal shootings within a three year span. The program was the subject of an acclaimed documentary, “The Interrupters,” that followed CeaseFire street workers around tough Chicago neighborhoods over the course of a year.

    But the Baltimore Health Department closed the Safe Streets office in December 2013 after police arrested an outreach worker for carrying a handgun. That announcement came a few weeks after the U.S. Marshals arrested one of the program’s most famous employees, Nathan "Bodie" Barksdale, who was an inspiration for the drug lord character Avon Barksdale on the HBO series “The Wire”. The Drug Enforcement Agency accused Barksdale of being a heroin dealer for the Black Guerilla Mafia.

    Chicago cut funding for the program in that city (still called CeaseFire) after police grew suspicious that employees, many of whom were former felons, had returned to a criminal lifestyle, and after Tio Hardiman, the organization’s Illinois director was arrested for punching his wife (the charges were later dropped). Hardiman sounds disenchanted with the organization’s approach.

    “You have to have a mix. You can’t just have former gang members working. You gotta have people who haven’t broken the law,” Hardiman told The Marshall Project.

    Cure Violence spokeswoman Kathy Buettner declined to comment on the problems in specific cities and defended the program’s continued mission of sending ex-offenders into rough neighborhoods to stem shootings.

    “We are training and retraining all the time,” Buettner said.

    The issues in Chicago and in Baltimore didn’t impede officials in New York from expanding Cure Violence across the state under Operation SNUG. The state Division of Criminal Justice Services oversees ten SNUG offices and the city Department of Health and City Council funds sites in 14 police precincts.

    Jeffrey Butts, a director of research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, co-wrote an ongoing analysis of Cure Violence’s presence in high-crime New York City neighborhoods and found that homicide rates are on a downward trend in three areas that employed the interrupters in Brooklyn and in northern Manhattan.

    “They can form relationships in high-violence communities that police, social workers and ministers simply can’t,” Butts said.

    Vaughn, whose allegations have cast a shadow over the New York program, understands both sides of the law. The daughter of a 20-year veteran of the Bakersfield Police Department, she said she served four years in a California prison for robbing a Bank of America branch. Her brother was murdered in Bakersfield when he was 24.

    The NYPD has since moved Vaughn and her two children out of her old apartment and into a safe house while police continue to investigate whether her former co-workers have connections to the Bloods. She is angry that her complaints were initially ignored, and fearful for her family’s safety.

    “Cure Violence has made me start my whole life over,” Vaughn said. “I am so disgusted.”

  • Fri, April 03, 2015 11:17 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

    Seven reputed members and associates of a notorious South Queens street gang last week were indicted on conspiracy, weapons and other charges for the attempted murder, shooting and assault of two men believed to be associated with a rival gang on the same day in January, 2013, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

    Jerald Lowe, Jeffrey Bien-Aime, Rasheed Watson, Jonathan Jean-Pierre, Anthony Biggs, Kenneth Stokes and Dayjah Knowles—all allegedly either members or associates of the Everybody Killas gang—were arraigned on charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first- and second-degree assault, second-degree reckless endangerment and second- and fourth-degree conspiracy. Bien-Aime and Watson are presently being sought.

    According to the charges in the indictment, the defendants conspired and acted in concert with each other between Nov. 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2013, to shoot two individuals whom they believed to be associated with the SNOW gang. At approximately 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2013, a group of EBK gang members—including Lowe, Bien-Aime, Watson, Jean-Pierre, Knowles and Stokes—allegedly confronted members of the SNOW gang in the vicinity of Jamaica Avenue and Parsons Boulevard.  After an exchange of words, one of the defendants allegedly shot a suspected SNOW gang member in the right foot.

    Additionally, at approximately 9:30 p.m. on that same day, Anthony Biggs, Kenneth Stokes and two other EBK gang members saw another suspected SNOW gang member at a bodega on Merrick Boulevard.  One of the EBK gang members then allegedly entered the store and, pulling out a .380 pistol, fired one shot at the SNOW gang member, hitting him in the left mid-section.  The victim fell to the floor and the shooter allegedly attempted to shoot him again, but the shell casing jammed inside the gun.

    All of the indicted, except Stokes, face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Stakes is facing up to 50 years.

  • Thu, April 02, 2015 11:11 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

     Ronald Herron was sentenced Thursday to 12 terms of life in prison plus 105 years. The leader of the Bloods street gang, he was convicted in June 2014 on charges of racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, narcotics trafficking, robbery and firearms offenses. Herron's division of the Bloods was active throughout New York City, primarily in the Gowanus and Wyckoff Gardens areas of Brooklyn.

    "For years, Ronald Herron unleashed brutal, unrelenting violence on his community while glorifying his criminal lifestyle as a crack-dealing gangster. Today's sentence put an end to all of that, for good," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

    “Herron styled himself a rap artist, but the evidence proved that he was a murderous thug who sought power through violence, fear, and intimidation," she continued. "Let today's sentence send a message to other gang members who terrorize their own communities: We and our federal and city law enforcement partners will not tolerate such heinous criminal conduct."

    In his music, Herron claimed to be a leader of the "Murderous Mad Dogs," a division of the Bloods. He also boasted online about "beating a body," a reference to beating a murder rap. His street name was "Ra Diggs." 

  • Thu, April 02, 2015 11:09 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

    Enhanced enforcement by the Syracuse Police Department this winter, as part of the TRUCE initiative, has led to the arrest of 20 Bricktown and Bootcamp gang members.

    Syracuse TRUCE started two years ago, as a collaboration between police and community service organizations with the aim of reducing gun violence in the city.

    The gang-related killing of Kendall Williams on New Year’s Day pushed the TRUCE program into action this winter.  The so-called trigger, meant ramped up street level enforcement in certain parts of the city and more parole and probation visits among other things.

    It ended with 20 arrests of Bricktown and Bootcamp gang members, on charges ranging from murder to firearm possesion. 

    Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said this stepped up enforcement is only one result of the latest TRUCE initiative meant to curb gun violence in the city. 

    “We know that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” Fowler said. “It’s going to take a collective effort. Intervention and prevention is going to be key in this.” 

    Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler discuss the TRUCE program at a news conference Wednesday <img src="/sites/wrvo/files/styles/default/public/201504/March_31__2015_at_0513PM.jpg" alt="Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler discuss the TRUCE program at a news conference Wednesday">
    Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler discuss the TRUCE program at a news conference Wednesday
    Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

    Fowler said arrest figures show a 50 percent drop in serious crimes following the latest TRUCE triggered initiative.

    TRUCE Program Director Sheria Dixon said TRUCE is more than just a crackdown on gang members.  It’s the opportunity for gang members to get out, by offering them a place to belong.  Community organizations work together with gang members who want to leave that life, helping them find jobs or an education.  She believes it’s making a difference in the community.

    “I grew up in this community,” Dixon said. “My parents still live in the house I was raised in.  I talk to my parents and people who live in that area all the time.  They feel the police presence, and they see that it’s there.  It’s making it easier to be in the front yard and do yard work, because they know that they are going to have that police interaction and that police presence."

  • Thu, April 02, 2015 11:08 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)


    HARLEM — An anti-violence program that uses ex-gang members to stop shootings, and is the model for a $13 million citywide expansion of the initiative, is being revamped after allegations surfaced that employees were still active gang members, DNAinfo New York has learned.

    In the wake of the revelations, several members of the group, called SNUG, which is "guns" spelled backwards, have been removed, according to the Mission Society of New York City, which runs the program.

    Remaining staff members who were being retrained and "new security protocols" are being put in place, they said.

    Shawanna Vaughn, a worker at the Central Harlem organization, was placed under police protection following the shooting of a former SNUG employee.

    "They are hiring active gangbangers," said Vaughn, 36, who has worked at the program as a violence interrupter and hospital responder for several months. "It needs to be shut down."

    Vaughn said she made an official visit to the former violence interrupter and hospital responder in Harlem Hospital on Feb. 20 after he was shot on 142nd Street and Seventh Avenue, which is in SNUG's territory.

    The shooting victim believed someone at SNUG was responsible for the gunplay and had allegedly made threats that caused employees to believe that violence might erupt, according to a recorded meeting with managers of the SNUG program obtained by DNAinfo New York.

    The victim had been removed from his job prior to the shooting.

    The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment on the shooting.

    When Vaughn went to Mission Society management with a report she made on the shooting, she claims it was swept under the rug.

    "They told me to delete the report, that it never happened," said Vaughn, who fears for her safety.

    When she complained to the mayor's office shortly after the shooting about what was happening at the Mission Society, Vaughn says she was fired. Several other Harlem SNUG workers have left the area out of fear for their safety, sources said.

    The de Blasio administration acknowledged problems with hiring practices for the program.

    “The City takes these allegations seriously and we have been meeting with Mission Society leadership to ensure appropriate hiring practices are in place and that the program is currently staffed to effectively and safely carry out its mission," said Sarah Solon, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

    On the recording, two SNUG supervisors acknowledged that the former employee had been shot and that they had received notification from Harlem Hospital.

    "He's bringing outside in. That's the danger," one supervisor can be heard saying.

    The supervisors also listened as SNUG employees described how they felt their lives were in jeopardy because of the shooting, which they say they don't know the motivation for.

    "It's only a matter of time before something...really, really bad happens to someone on the team," said an individual who worked as a SNUG violence interrupter, according to the recording.

    "I'm feeling like I might have to go back to my old ways," the recording captured the violence interrupter, who is also a former gang member, saying.

    The same SNUG member described how female employees of the program such as Vaughn felt afraid for their lives.

    "Fear is not necessarily a bad thing," a supervisor says on the recording. "We hired them for their ability to go through s--t like this."

    The SNUG worker promptly corrects the supervisor.

    "No, we hired them because they were supposed to be able to have credibility and be able to do mediations," said the worker. "We didn't hire them to get ready for war."

    DNAinfo is withholding the names of the SNUG employees due to safety concerns. Vaughn said she was afraid, but felt she had to speak out publicly.

    "The Mission Society is acting like the criminals," Vaughn said.

    Under current protocols, ex-gang members being considered for jobs are interviewed by a panel that may include Health Department officials, local police, social service providers and community leaders.

    Employees must take a criminal background test and undergo screening to make sure they are not actively using drugs or still involved with gangs or illegal activity.

    The Mission Society declined to make President Elsie McCabe Thompson or any other staff member available for an interview or to directly respond to questions.

    In a statement, McCabe Thompson acknowledged that the Mission Society had "removed several individuals" from the SNUG program and has launched a search for several new staff members.

    "An internal review identified areas for improvement in the program’s management and delivery of services, and noted a lapse in protocols," the statement read. "We value all of our employees and we take seriously any concerns about our model."

    Robin Levine, a spokeswoman for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, did not directly respond to questions, but said the City Council, which funded the first SNUG programs, was "proud" of its efforts and "will continue to examine strategies" to reduce gun violence.

    The Mission Society receives $1,469,216 in funding from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Health and Hospitals Corporation and the Mayor’s Fund, as well as private sources.

    SNUG is modeled after the Ceasefire Chicago initiative where former gang members serve as "violence interrupters" to stop shootings by trying to convince gang members to go into mediation to resolve their disputes while trying to cajole them out of the gang lifestyle.

    SNUG members also employ hospital responders who go to Harlem Hospital to speak with every shooting victim.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that he was launching a “Gun Violence Crisis Management System" to "prevent violence before it happens" that would expand the program to 14 neighborhoods with stubborn gun violence.

    In addition to the Central Harlem site, the Mission Society also runs a similar program in East Harlem and The Bronx that was a part of the expansion announced by de Blasio last August.

    The expansion effort began hiring staff in December and now has programs in neighborhoods from Coney Island to Long Island City's Queensbridge Houses.

    City officials say studies show the model works in spite of the troubles taking place in Harlem. The revamping of the city's effort to reduce gun violence comes as the number of shooting incidents and shooting victims have increased by 11 and 10 percent respectively this year.

    David Brotherton, a professor and chairman of the sociology department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who studies gangs, said there are risks associated with the model.

    "I'm sure there are some dodgy people who have a seat in both camps," Brotherton said about the ex-gang members.

    He added that the model is a worthwhile alternative to heavy-handed policing, but it should only serve as a part of the solution.

    "Maybe you can stop homicides for five months but all the other problems of a community" that help gangs flourish, such as poverty and elevated school dropout rates, remain the same, Brotherton said.

    "These programs act as a kind of salve to the system," he added. "No one is doing anything to structurally rethink these neighborhoods."


  • Wed, January 28, 2015 8:02 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)
    Four members of the Get Money Gangstas street gang pleaded guilty in relation to a Mount Vernon murder three years ago.
    Four members of the Get Money Gangstas street gang pleaded guilty in relation to a Mount Vernon murder three years ago. Photo Credit: Westchester County District Attorney's Office    

    MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Four members of the Mount Vernon Get Money Gangstas street gang pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Westchester County court and now face lengthy prison sentences.

    Mark “Markie” Ogilvie, 25; Tyron “Yayo” McCallum, 27; Travis “Trav” Clarke, 25, all of Mount Vernon; and Bronx native Jason “Dutch” White, 32, pleaded guilty to a series of felony charges stemming from an investigation into several homicides that occurred in March 2012, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.

    Ogilvie pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree manslaughter and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. McCallum pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. Each crime is a felony.

    Clarke, the group's youngest member, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder, while White pleaded guilty to a felony count of criminal possession of a weapon.

    Each of the Mount Vernon defendants stood accused of second-degree murder for their role in gang hits on March 11, 2012 that left three men dead.

    The first victim, Russell Watkins, a Get Money Gangstas associate, was shot while riding his dirt bike in front of a series of witnesses on Seventh Avenue. The investigation into that murder is ongoing, though it is believed the suspect is a member of a rival street gang, the Goonies.

    In retaliation, two associates of the Goonies were “hunted down,” shot and killed later that day.

    Shortly before 9 p.m., Stephon Ramsey was shot and killed as he attempted to leave his home. The victim suffered gunshot wounds to the back of his head and right thigh. He died in Jacobi Medical Center eight days later.

    Approximately two hours later, Cleveland Baxter was shot while driving his BMW. He died in Mount Vernon Hospital the next day. Six rounds were found in his body during the autopsy. The gun used by the defendants was sold and later recovered by the NYPD in the Bronx.

    The joint investigation included officials from the District Attorney’s office, Mount Vernon Police Department, the state Department of Corrections and the FBI. Each of the defendants will be sentenced in the spring.

    “In our targeting these gangs, Mount Vernon has seen its gun violence homicides reduced dramatically,” DiFiore said. “The city is now a safer place for all its citizens, some of the same citizens that allowed both the DA and city detectives to develop their trust and confidence, thus allowing witnesses to come forward, resulting in today’s guilty pleas.”


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