*** A grand jury in The Bronx, NY has indicted a 15-year-old girl, known by fellow Bloods gang members as "Lady Red," for two unrelated brutal murders, and detectives further "are investigating whether the girl was involved in other recent drug-related killings."
*** In Ventura, CA a 13-year-old member of the Ventura Avenue Gangsters is a reluctant witness in the trial against a 27-year-old fellow gang member who is charged with child endangerment for placing the boy in a dangerous situation.
*** "Violence is a prospect many teens accept": "street gangs enjoy a renewed cachet," and "offer youngsters many desirable advantages -- status, excitement, power, praise, profit, protection, mentoring and opportunity for advancement."
*** Detectives in Durham, NC are relying upon the social networking site MySpace to gather evidence against a suspected Crips member who allegedly killed one teenager and shot two others:
"Upon further investigation it was discovered the suspect had a MySpace account and had photos of the possible murder weapon along with comments and messages that may be related to this crime," wrote Investigator M. Soucie in the search warrant executed Dec. 18. "The MySpace account was viewed and did in fact contain photos of the suspect holding several weapons."
Officer [Scott] Nelson says gangs pose many problems. First and foremost is drugs. He says gangs and drugs go hand in hand. Also, they are apt to deal with weapons violations, fighting, thefts, and exploitation of juveniles.
Like the neighborhood Wal-Mart, the business of gangs is the bottom line. Local gangs earn money dealing drugs, fencing stolen goods and trafficking people and guns across the Mexican border — selling a gun that costs $100 in New Mexico for $300 to $400 in Juárez, said Las Cruces police Sgt. Pat Doyle. Are they on the status of the Italian Mafia? No, but they're pretty well financed," said Doyle, head of the local gang task force. "The absolute nexus is drugs, mostly coke, but weed, heroin, meth." * * * Gangs remain the country's primary drug distributors (especially of marijuana and methamphetamines in the West), often associating with organized crime to do low-level crimes. * * * El Paso's largest gang, Barrio Azteca, which has made inroads into Doña Ana County, has hundreds of members and its structure is the same you'd see in TV dramas such as "The Sopranos" or "The Wire," says FBI special agent Andrea Simmons, spokeswoman for the El Paso office. That includes often-incarcerated bosses, taxes on money-makers in their area and a trade in illegal products, "everything from drug-trafficking to murders, money-laundering and violent crimes," Simmons said.
*** After the arrest of twelve men in Brockton, MA belonging to the rival Green Street and Bloods gangs who allegedly collaborated to kill a police officer, the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the local gangs and their criminal culture.
It is still unclear whether [the Sheriff Deputy], a former U.S. Army reservist, was targeted because of his work in a particularly dangerous jail unit -- which put him in contact with Avenues gangsters and Mexican Mafia members who, from behind bars, rule the streets of Cypress Park, Highland Park and Glassell Park -- or if it was a simple case of mistaken identity.
*** In Los Angeles, CA a judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the 250-member Temple Street gang: "Members will be prohibited from associating in public with other members, intimidating witnesses, and selling or possessing drugs or weapons, among other conditions."
*** The New Jersey Supreme Court will decide "whether prosecutors can introduce the testimony of a witness who has been threatened without presenting the witness at trial," and according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office:
Witness intimidation is, without exaggeration, the greatest threat we now face to effective prosecution of gang-related violence, organized-crime violence, and domestic violence. The time has come for this court to respond to the continuing spread of witness intimidation and prevent the systemic silencing of witnesses from continuing to make a mockery of our system of justice.