• Thu, May 09, 2013 9:09 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    A member of the Bailey Boys street gang in Buffalo has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the shooting death of a clerk in an East Side convenience store more than two years ago, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Tuesday.

    Dwight Mitchell, 19, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to aiding and abetting a violent crime committed in aid of a racketeering enterprise. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 26.

    Prosecutors said Mitchell held the door open at the Super Stop Food Market, 970 Kensington Ave., on Nov. 29, 2010, while someone identified as “TS,” who wanted to become a gang member, fired several shots into the store, hoping to hit a member of the rival Midway Crew gang. Instead, he killed Charles B. Myles-Jones, 20, a store employee not affiliated with any gang, as he walked into the store.

  • Mon, April 15, 2013 8:51 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    April 13, 2013

    Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

    Lockport Union-Sun & Journal undefined More than 100 men and women made the first anti-gang and bullying conference at Lockport High School a success, according to a field intelligence officer from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

    The Greater Niagara Regional Training Conference, which was held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the auditorium, drew diverse groups from therapists from Catholic Charities to BOCE workers from the Livingston County Jail. Canadian law enforcement officers also attended with Lockport and Niagara Falls cops.

    “That’s a great turnout for his area,” said officer Kirk Kingsbury of Greater Niagara Regional Gang Training. “To have 100 people, that’s phenomenal.”

    The conference, started by the New York Gang Investigators Association in 2006, was co-sponsored by the Lockport City School District and the sheriff’s office. It was designed for law enforcement, social workers and teachers. It is the first time it was held in Niagara County.

    There are no reported gangs in Lockport, according to Kingsbury, but there continue to be issues in Niagara Falls.

    “Right now gangs are down. They lost a lot of the gang identifiers undefined colors, names,” Kingsbury said. “They are dropping that and becoming a group of criminal crews instead of gangs.”

    Lists of designer and clothing companies used as gang identifiers were provided by NYGIA. Their clothing ranges from Allan Iverson to Under Armour. Sports team logos are also used. There are several uses of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Kings logos.

    Officer Dave Cudahy of the Niagara Falls Police Department led the discussion of bullying.

    “The types of bullying overlap,” he said. “The internet exploded so fast and got so big, it got away from us. Cyber bullying is too easy and too anonymous.”

    Miles Patterson of Lockport High School was the non-law enforcement representative for NYIGA. He worked with Principal Frank Movalli and Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley to invite people who work with at-risk youth. He also has knowledge of gangs and bullying.

    “It’s all wrapped up in one. There is the social networking, bullying and gangs they’re all tied in,” said Lynn Kennison, who works a the Livingston County Jail for BOCES. “Genesee is kind of out in the country, but we have inmates from all over the area. There are people that come in that have gang affiliations. It’s not just an urban issue and we want to learn more about.”

    Holly Ames of Niagara Falls and Cathy Jasinski of North Tonawanda are multi-systemic therapists who work with teenagers for Catholic Charities. MST is an intensive treatment program that focuses on homes and families, schools and teachers, neighborhoods and friends that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders.

    “We get the family involved and school involved trying to increase independence of the child who they can go to and who they can really identify with,” Jasinski said. “It’s been great really, just learning what we can do to contribute and take back to families.”

    NYGIA provided a guide for parents and teachers, regarding gangs and what they can do to keep children from joining gangs.

    While teachers feel they intervene, students say the opposite, according to Cudahy. “You can’t intervene enough,” he said.

    Addressing police and student resource officers, he said, “Don’t underestimate the effect you have on a child. He’s looking at you like you are Superman.”

    He told teachers to encourage students to yell, “STOP” when being bullied in class.

  • Tue, March 19, 2013 8:39 AM | Trevor (Administrator)


    Rochester, N.Y.

    It’s something Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard calls a “new way of doing business”. On Monday, Sheppard explained that his department would start hand-delivering letters to the city’s known gang members.

    “We’re not sending random letters to all gang members,” Sheppard explained. “We’re communicating with particular gangs we know are being violent. Ones we know have shot and put bodies on the street. We’re focusing on them.”

    In the letters, Sheppard explains that law enforcement has intensified their surveillance and monitoring of the gang member and their friends.

    The letters states that police know who the gang member is and who their friends are. Then it goes on to explain that state and federal law enforcement agencies are assisting RPD to target those involved in firearms violence.

    Sheppard explains that these efforts are in response to an 80 percent increase in violent incidents and shootings during the first part of the year last year.

    “We’re not sending threats,” Sheppard said. “We’re basically sending out explanations. ‘This is why you have been targeted. This is why you see the police activity that you see. You can communicate to your peers and those being violent in your group that it’s not going to be tolerated.’”

    The department hopes that letting gang members know that they have been identified and targeted by police may prevent them from committing more crimes.

    “We know who they are. We know their associates. We know where they hang. We have all this information at play. We may not have enough information at the beginning of our efforts to make arrests, but we have enough information to know that they are involved in a group that has been involved in shootings that have put bodies on the ground.”

    This new tactic of communicating with gang members is similar to Operation Ceasefire program implemented in 2003. Sheppard says that the department lost focus on Operation Ceasefire over the years and is now working to revive the program.

    Keenan Allen was the executive director of Pathways to Peace at the time Operation Ceasefire started. Allen assisted in helping the men and woman who wanted to transition out of gang membership.

    Allen says that Operation Ceasefire was successful because, like the letters, it let gang members know that they were on the police department’s radar, thus scaring the.

    While some gang members may choose to simply ignore the letters delivered to them, Allen says some may actually use it as a chance to stop their violent behavior.

    “I can tell you that historically, when Operation Ceasefire was done, when people did not heed the warning [from police] they were targeted by police and dealt judiciously. Hopefully, they will take it seriously.”

  • Fri, March 15, 2013 3:35 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Criminal gangs are increasingly reliant on the internet to coordinate assaults, robbery and recruitment, according to research from US criminologists. Interviews with several hundred gang members in five US cities found that almost half had committed online crimes in the past six months.

    “Years ago a gang would drive through a rival neighborhood, spray graffiti and shout insults to start a fight,” Professor Scott H. Decker, lead researcher and Arizona State University criminologist, told Metro. “Today those taunts are more likely to happen online…where it be done a dozen times in the same period.”

    Over 80% of surveyed members said they used YouTube, the most popular site for posting threats, many of which led to violence. Forums such as provide real-time information on criminal and police activity.

    The FBI recently announced concerns that more organized gangs such as the Bloods and Crips could move into white-collar cybercrime, although Decker is unconvinced. “Our suspicion is that if someone develops that expertise they are more likely to move away from gangs that draw too much attention.”

    But the web has opened up new possibilities. “It’s another way to engage and people can never get away from the internet,” said University of Michigan Professor of Social Work Desmond Patton. “Individuals that live around gang activity can be drawn in.”

    Law enforcement has benefitted from online gang activity, with almost 50 New York members arrested in 2012 after police infiltrated a Facebook group that detailed murders. “The police are always saying ‘don’t shut it down’ because it’s easy for them to track,” said George Knox, executive director of the US National Gang Crime Research Center, who is nonetheless campaigning for Internet Service Providers to censor gang content.

    British youth group XLP use social media to connect with gang members. “We have a YouTube channel monitored by music professionals and kids like getting their stuff up,” said CEO Patrick Regan. “It’s been a great way to get a positive message across.”

  • Fri, March 15, 2013 3:33 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    NEW YORK – The former leader of the Flushing, Queens, chapter of the violent international gang La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, pleaded guilty Thursday to racketeering and murder conspiracy charges. This plea stems from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Yonkers (N.Y.) Police Department.

    As part of his plea, Hector Aleman Lemos, 32, agreed to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

    According to the indictment and other court filings, Lemos, aka Diablito, was alleged to have been the leader of a chapter of the gang that committed a series of violent crimes including: murder, murder conspiracy and attempted murder, in Flushing, Queens, and elsewhere. Among other crimes, Lemos was charged with murdering 25-year-old John Halley in Yonkers. Lemos believed – incorrectly – that Halley was a member of a rival gang when he shot him on the street. As part of his plea, Lemos admitted that he was a member of MS-13 and that he participated in the murder of Halley, as well as the shooting of a 13-year-old boy who had been standing on the stoop of a house in Flushing that Lemos believed to be a rival gang location.

    This conviction is the latest of the more than 120 convictions of MS-13 soldiers and leaders in the Eastern District of New York over the past decade. MS-13 is a violent, transnational gang based in El Salvador, which has engaged in narcotics trafficking, robbery, extortion, murder and other crimes in cities throughout the United States and Central America. The gang has had a strong presence in immigrant communities in Queens and Long Island.

    "The defendant in this case indiscriminately brought or threatened violence against rival gang members and innocent civilians alike," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. "HSI is proud to continue to partner with the United States attorney's office to target violent transnational gang members who threaten the safety of New York communities."

    "Lemos was the leader of a gang that turned our streets into a shooting gallery, and killed innocent bystanders in its bid to dominate the streets," said U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch, Eastern District of New York. "Lemos's conviction underscores this Office's ongoing commitment to eradicating MS-13's influence in our communities and seeking justice for the gang's victims and their families. We will continue to vigorously prosecute members of the gang and work to dismantle its operations in this district."

    Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the Yonkers Police Department for its invaluable assistance in this investigation

  • Fri, March 15, 2013 3:32 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    HUDSON undefined A Hudson resident brought a developing gang onto the radar of the Common Council’s Youth and Aging Committee Wednesday night. Committee members had discussed improvements to the Youth Center’s programming lineup before Sumayyah Shabazz stood up from the audience and voiced her fears.

    “My heart is telling me the streets are going to be unsafe this summer,” Shabazz fretted. “You don’t see it yet, because it’s still cold, but wait until it’s 60 degrees.”

    Employed at the Berkshire Farm Center undefined and in the corrections system undefined for almost 30 years, Shabazz said she has learned quite a lot from disadvantaged youths.

    “Kids are your education,” Shabazz said. “You feed off of what they know, and then you take that to do better.”

    Shabazz commented that the gang’s size keeps growing, because “they’re recruiting as fast as they possibly can.” Spring’s arrival, Shabazz said, would be heralded by a surge in gang activity. Committee members heard from Shabazz that newly-initiated gang members would be encouraged “to jump” city residents.

    The city’s Youth Department, Shabazz suggested, could help curb the violence by putting together a nighttime, outdoor basketball league. If Hudson implemented an “under the lights” program for teens and young adults at Oakdale Park, Shabazz felt the community would at least “have them under the radar.”

    “Troubled youth are the first on the basketball field,” Shabazz claimed.

    Committee Chair Wanda Pertilla, a Second Ward alderman, welcomed Shabazz’s idea.

    Meanwhile, Pertilla congratulated Youth Recreation Director George Bednar, the Youth Department’s interim director, for broadening the Youth Center’s range of offerings by including sewing and Spanish language education.

    Stottville Fire Commissioner Jim Briscoe, Youth Commissioner Gerald Wood noted, would likely hold a CPR demonstration for the entire Youth Center staff. While Wood mentioned that Bednar had yet to set a date, he thought it should coincide with the Hudson City School District’s spring break that begins the week of April 1.

    Committee members also heard from Bednar about his recent conversations with the Hudson Development Corp. and city grant writer John “Duke” Duchessi of TGW Consulting Group to acquire additional computers for the center. Videographer Dan Udell, Bednar added, had been participating in the discussion.

    “We’re working to try to get three new computers,” Bednar said.

    In response to Bednar’s announcement, Pertilla revealed she knew of negotiations that were already under way for three computers. However, Pertilla was not at liberty to reveal the other agency’s identity just yet.

    Later on, committee members listened to audience concerns about why the city had not found another Youth Department director. Pertilla conceded that, because the Common Council had voted to rebid the city’s Senior Center project, city leaders were unsure if the Youth Center would still be the construction site.

    “There’s no further information if we’re going to St. Mary’s or staying at the Youth Center,” Pertilla replied. “We don’t know if we’re going to have a building or not,”

    If the city decides against joining the Senior Center and the Youth Center together, the alternative to install it at the former St. Mary’s Academy was described by Pertilla as “a dream come true.”

    “It was so high, we couldn’t afford it,” Pertilla previously maintained.

    Aldermen Nicholas Haddad and John Friedman of Hudson’s First and Third wards have encouraged city leaders to buy up the property from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany for about $1 million. Lead architect Jane Smith of Spacesmith LLP and engineer David Crawford of Crawford & Associates told the Common Council last month about their Senior Center redesign. It should reduce their projected budget of $1.3 million, so that it fits into their previously discussed budget of $1,080,000.

  • Fri, March 15, 2013 3:31 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. --- They wear colors. They have hand signals. They have their own tattoos, their own beads, their own graffiti tags.

    They may rob or assault you.

    More likely, they're looking to steal your fancy iPhone, but they are also interested in recruiting your firstborn.

    The gangs are on the prowl. In addition to the Bloods, the Crips, and the Latin Kings, the NYPD has been targeting what appears to be a newer trend of organized gang crime -- one that aims to recruit children as young as 8.

    Youth crews, youth gangs, are responsible for 30 percent of the shootings in the city, according to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. The NYPD is looking to stamp out this activity, which means parents have to get involved.

    To that aim, the NYPD's Juvenile Justice Division held a youth summit Wednesday night inside the Gerard Carter Community Center in Stapleton.

    The crews are also known for making use of social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google +, and Instagram, to send a messages, host events and even recruit members particularly with displays of photos of weed, drugs or money.

    This is what the crews or the gangs use to bring the kid in the web, said Sgt. Emmanuel Andre of the Juvenile Justice Division. "They [kids] go on these websites and they show them money, they show them guns. They show them drugs. They show them alcohol." The social media aspect has been helping the police track crews, crew events and criminal activity, Andre said.

    Sgt. Andre noted that youth crews are not as established as say, the Bloods or Crips. Instead, they are more localized relating either to a particular building or neighborhood. Popular Staten Island rivalries he noted include: New Brighton vs. West Brighton, West Brighton vs. Mariners Harbor, and Stapleton vs. Park Hill.

    Criminal activity for crews started out with cellphones and also iPhones -- a popular year-round robbery items for the crews, he said. In addition, they also look to steal certain types of sneakers, jackets, and even Dr. Dre headphones. They have recently become more sophisticated in terms of crime moving from basic street crimes to more white collar crimes such as credit card scams, check fraud and id theft.

    The Juvenile Justice Division was created in 2011, when Kelly began to notice most of the robberies and shootings citywide appeared to be caused by groups containing kids as young as 8.

    "[They] were causing the most trouble," said Andre of the Juvenile Justice Division. In response, Kelly formed the division and also created Operation Crew Cut, a city anti-gang initiative that targets well-known gangs as well as youth crews and gangs.

    Andre said the crews also use "flaggin'" for identification -- that can include using small beads, bracelets or tattoos to identify the groups they belong to, as well as graffiti on school bags. These seemingly innocent but gang-related details are all signs parents need to look out for and be aware of, said Juvenile Justice Division Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Michael Nemoyten.

    In addition, parents should check their child's Facebook page and friend them on the Internet as well as check their phone photos and text messages and be aware of who they're friends are.

    Nemoyten said the NYPD is looking to building a partnership with the community to protect children and crack down on the gang crimes.

    "We want to do whatever we can to help save or prevent someone from either committing violence, committing a crime or becoming a victim of a crime," said Nemoyten.

    Andre noted that what may appear to be glamorous on the surface, usually ends up bad.

    "They show them all these things to bring these kids into the web. What they are not telling them is the end result is only two possibilities -- death or in jail. One or the other."

  • Fri, March 15, 2013 3:29 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    Published March 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Officials in the city of Syracuse recently launched the Syracuse Truce Project, a federally funded program targeted toward reducing gang-related shootings.

    “Truce is an important step to address the serious gang violence that has plagued our city and our neighborhoods,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner during the project’s press conference last Wednesday.

    Syracuse crime statistics show about 65 percent of the city’s gun-related injuries in the last four years were caused by gang activity. This year has already seen three homicides by gun violence, all of which were gang-related, according to Syracuse Police Department statistics.

    The goal of the program is to end the city’s gang-related violence, with SPD agreeing to help any of the city’s 1,472 gang members escape gang life, The Post-Standard reported Feb. 27.The program is a combination of increased community outreach for gang members and a zero-tolerance policy regarding any type of gang-related gun violence.

    “We’re giving you a very hard choice. You can cooperate with this program or we’re going to come down on you like a ton of bricks,” said Bob Dougherty, common councilor for District 3, which includes the Southside of Syracuse.

    As one of nine cities participating in the program, Syracuse received $300,000 in federal funding for the project from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction Program, according to a Syracuse Truce news release.

    “The whole idea is focused enforcement,” SPD Sgt. Tom Connellan said. “In the past, if there was a shooting, we’d go after the shooter. Now we’re sending a message that it’s not just the shooter we’re going after anymore, it’s the whole group we’re coming after.”

    Connellan added that gang members have already begun to call the Syracuse Truce hotline and make use of the opportunities the program provides.

    The truce program is modeled after a similar program in Cincinnati, where the city saw a 41-percent reduction in group-related homicides after implementation, according to the release.

    Along with the enhanced enforcement, the program provides social rehabilitation and reintegration by offering former gang members job training and social counseling programs, Dougherty said.

    He added that it also provides services like alcohol and drug treatment, anger management and housing aid for gang members looking to change.

    “I think the most important thing is trying to get people job-ready,” Dougherty said. “You can’t just tell a gang member, ‘Don’t do this.’ What’s their alternative? You’ve got to get people and get them job ready.”

    Connellan said he believes the success of the program will depend on whether gang members choose to become involved in the program.

    “It’s going to be up to the gang members,” Connellan said. “This program has been extremely successful in other cities. If the law enforcement here holds up their end of the deal and these gang members take our offers, the program will be successful. We’re hoping that a lot of these people take our message seriously.”

  • Fri, March 15, 2013 3:28 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    TROY undefined A gang called the "Young Gunnerz" hung out at the Corliss Park apartment where Takim Smith was robbed and stabbed to death on Feb. 4, according to police statements.

    While Smith's family looked on Thursday, the last of six defendants charged with the 21-year-old father's robbery and murder was arraigned and pleaded not guilty in Rensselaer County Court. Eric Aaron Mallard, 19, accompanied by his lawyer, Sanford Finkel, appeared before state Supreme Court Justice Patrick McGrath, who sent him to the county jail without bail. Mallard was indicted last week on charges of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree robbery, conspiracy and criminal possession of a weapon.

    The group allegedly used two young women to lure Smith to Corliss Park apartment 1906 around 6 p.m. that day on the pretext of having sex and then attacked him, thinking he had money and other valuables because of a recent lawsuit settlement. But all Smith had was a cellphone, some jewelry and less than $40.

    In a police statement on file with the court, a next-door neighbor told police that he did not see anything unusual outside that day but added "a lot of Young Gunnerz gang members go in and out of and frequent the apartment."

    Keyanna Bradley, 18, and Mariyah Zeigler, 16, originally were charged with conspiracy for their part in allegedly working to distract Smith but a grand jury last week upped their charges to match those faced by Mallard and three other men. The two women were living at Zeigler's mother's apartment, where the stabbing took place.

    All six charged in the case are in county jail without bail.

    "I'm just happy those girls were charged with murder in this case," said Smith's mother, Roshana McArthur, who wore a denim jacket with a "King Takim" patch on the back showing a collage of pictures of her son's life. "Now I know justice will be done."

    Bradley, along with Ravenal Gregory Dunbar and Keith Ferguson, both 17, were arraigned Wednesday. Zeigler and Davonte Alexander McGill, 18, were arraigned last week.

    District Attorney Richard McNally said one of the men is suspected of stabbing Smith, a father of three with a child on the way.

    According to a statement from the first officers on the scene, they entered the apartment and saw an upset, naked woman standing at the top of the stairs yelling that Smith was on the bathroom floor.

    "There was a second female on the floor of the bathroom holding a towel over the right upper chest of a black male victim," the officer wrote.

    The officer said he asked one of the women what had happened and she said: "We were (expletive) and they broke in through the window or something."

    The officer said Smith was on the floor in a large pool of dark red blood and was unresponsive.

    "The east bedroom had a substantial amount of blood on the bed, wall and floor and there was a blood trail from the bedroom to the bathroom," the officer wrote in the statement.

    Bradley told police in a statement on file with the court that Keith Ferguson, whom she called "Krazy K," asked her to get on Facebook and lure Smith to the apartment and distract him so he and others could rob him.

    Smith, who was called "Tubu" by his family, was a graduate of Lansingburgh High School, where he knew many of the people involved in the crime, and was attending Bryant & Stratton College while he worked at the Central Avenue Hess gas station in Albany.

    Read more:
  • Tue, February 26, 2013 8:57 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Webster, N.Y. – Webster Police arrested and charged four men Thursday after an altercation on February 14 in the Village of Webster.

    Police charged William Heinrich, 45, of Sodus, Dustin Harper, 31, of Lyons, David Orbaker, 47, of Sodus Point, and Douglas Tallent, 57, of Rochester, with Gang Assault in the second degree, a class C felony.

    Police say the four men seriously injured a 40-year-old man at a bar on South Avenue.

    The four men charged were all members of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club.

    All four men were remanded to the Monroe County Jail.

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