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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Hung Van (Scarface) Bui, was found slumped in the driver's seat of a car , the victim of a targeted shooting.

Hung Van (Scarface) Bui, 27, was found slumped in the driver's seat of a car Monday night, the victim of a targeted shooting.A man who died in a hail of bullets in a Vancouver street Monday was a marked man -- one who survived one of the city's worst mass shootings but left behind a trail of death and violence in British Columbia and Alberta going back almost a decade.Police have not identified the victim but a high-placed source told the Vancouver Province it was Bui -- a man with well-known criminal affiliations who survived last summer's gangland style slayings at Fortune Happiness restaurant.They came back and finished him off," said the source.
The Aug. 9 shooting at the all-night eatery -- where two masked gunmen opened fire on a table of nine people, killing two people and injuring six, including Bui -- remains unsolved.Bui was shot at least six times, said the source, but survived his wounds. He had "a million enemies" and was known to have been involved in ripping off drug dealers, added the source.Bui was also the prime suspect in the 1999 murder of 35-year-old UPS courier Andrew Allan, who was stabbed once in the abdomen in the parking lot of an Edmonton curling club.

Guy Lepage, a former police officer now serving a 10-year sentence for drug trafficking

Guy Lepage, a former police officer now serving a 10-year sentence for drug trafficking, he was drawn into the biker's life of crime 20 years ago.
Mr. Lepage, 61, discussed his past relationship with the biker leader Maurice (Mom) Boucher yesterday during a parole board hearing.He was granted day parole, his first release since being arrested in 2001 and extradited to the U.S., where he pleaded guilty to helping the Angels buy large quantities of cocaine from a Colombian drug cartel and ship it to Florida in 1997 and 1998. He was transferred to a Canadian prison in 2005.Lepage was granted day parole for the next six months, during which he is expected to take part in community projects. He was accepted into a program working with the elderly, and said he plans to lecture at schools that teach criminology.
Mr. Lepage said that despite his important involvement in their conspiracies, he never considered himself part of the Hells Angels, but he did acknowledge being Mr. Boucher's friend."I don't know if it was his charm or something else. He had this charisma," he said of Mr. Boucher, who is serving three life sentences for ordering the deaths of prison guards in an attempt to influence Quebec's justice.Lepage, 61, discussed his past relationship with the Hells Angels leader at length yesterday during a National Parole Board hearing at a minimum-security penitentiary in Laval. He was granted day parole, his first release since being arrested in December 2001 and extradited to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to helping the Hells Angels buy cocaine from a Colombian drug cartel and ship more than 1,600 kilograms of the drug to Florida in 1997 and 1998. He was transferred back to the Canadian prison system in 2005.The drugs were destined for Montreal while the city witnessed a bloody biker gang war. Lepage was sent to Colombia by Boucher and other members of the Hells Angels to oversee five large shipments of the drug.
Lepage told parole board members Denis Couillard and Michel Pallascio that despite his involvement with the bikers, he never considered himself part of the Hells Angels. But he did acknowledge being Boucher's friend.Even though they grew up in the same neighbourhood in eastern Montreal, the two only met in 1987, Lepage said. At the time, Lepage was running a disco in Sorel and Boucher was beginning his ascent toward becoming the most powerful Hells Angel in Quebec.Couillard asked Lepage to explain how one can go from protecting society as a police officer to being someone who thinks nothing of breaking its laws."How did you go from one extreme to the other?" he asked.Lepage explained that the Hells Angels put him "on a pedestal" and made him feel important. It was clear his experience as a police officer and good name were valuable assets to Boucher."I don't know if it was his charm or something else. He had this charisma," Lepage said of Boucher, who is serving three life sentences for ordering the deaths of prison guards in an attempt to intimidate Quebec's justice system."It's hard to explain. (The Hells Angels) sought me out by giving me gifts, taking me out to dinner. It gave me value. It impressed me. To be frank, I never questioned it."After the two became friends, Boucher began asking Lepage for favours. One involved securing a mortgage for a building the Rockers, a Hells Angels puppet gang, used as a fortified bunker during the biker war. Lepage, who resigned from Montreal's police force in 1974 while a friend was being investigated for fraud, obtained the mortgage through a federal government program.Lepage also helped the Hells Angels set up a money-laundering network in northern British Colombia, to which he pleaded guilty in 1994. He was sentenced two years in prison and fined $200,000. He was given three years to pay, but so far has only paid $30,000. Because of this, in 2006, a seizure order was placed on real estate Lepage owns in St. Philippe, a South Shore town.
Lepage said yesterday that months after his arrest in 2001, he promised his family he would sever ties with Boucher. The only time he showed emotion during the parole hearing was when Couillard brought up an allegation concerning Boucher contained in Lepage's file. Couillard said a letter sent to Boucher after 2001 by another criminal included a mention that Lepage wished to send along his greetings.Lepage called the allegation nonsense. His lawyer, Jacques Normandeau, pointed out that Boucher is still kept in isolation at the so-called super-maximum-security penitentiary in Ste. Anne des Plaines and is only allowed visits by two individuals, who were not named.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Bobby Spiers identified as a notorious member of Manchester gangland, was arrested in Benidorm


Bobby Spiers identified as a notorious member of the Manchester gangland, was arrested in Benidorm on Tuesday. Spiers, 40, was arrested by National Police on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder under a European arrest warrant and is being held in custody until a formal extradition can be carried out.The arrest follows extensive enquiries by Greater Manchester Police who were investigating a shooting in a pub in Salford in March 2006.Spiers is alleged to have been behind an attempted execution which led to the murder of two hit men.The gunmen were arrested but Spiers, from Prestwick, Greater Manchester, had been on the run since.Police began looking in Spain after several sightings were reported following a BBC1 Crimewatch programme that made an appeal in July last year for information on the whereabouts of Spiers.UK and Spanish police have been working in collaboration since these reports were received and have been searching for Spiers mainly on the Costa Blanca.

"Beefy" Bartruff faces charges of conspiring to manufacture and possess meth as part of a network in three Indiana counties.

Fifty-year-old Timothy "Beefy" Bartruff faces charges of conspiring to manufacture and possess meth as part of a network in three Indiana counties. former leader of a white supremacist motorcycle club has been brought back to Indiana and arraigned in federal court on methamphetamine charges, after a St. Louis arrest.
Federal records say Bartruff was the national president of the Invaders before he was sentenced to a 10-year prison term in 1987 for dealing meth.
Bartruff was arrested in Missouri in June on the latest meth charges, which involved many arrests across northern Indiana and in Chicago, St. Louis and Denver.

Gangsters have been asked to help restore peace between two feuding gun gangs in Derby.

big-city gangsters have been asked to help restore peace between two feuding gun gangs in Derby.
Police have enlisted the help of a team from Birmingham, which includes reformed criminals, who will use their own experiences of gang and gun crime to try to help stem the trouble.
They will be given the names and addresses of Derby gang members so they can visit them to try to resolve the dispute, which has resulted in a number of shooting incidents in the city in recent months.
The team is from West Midlands Mediation and Transformation Services, which is led by former West Midlands police officer Kirk Dawes.
He said: “We seek to manage the conflict to slow it down by creating dialogue and better understanding.

Dave Courtney celebrity former gangster found with guns and knuckledusters in his car told police they were props for a gig he had just done


celebrity former gangster found with guns and knuckledusters in his car told police they were props for a gig he had just done and not for crime, a jury heard.
Bristol Crown Court was told that police stopped Dave Courtney, now an author and actor, being driven in his BMW because they suspected the car's registration number – BADBOY1 – was illegal.
When they found two knuckledusters, two bullets, as well as a 12 gauge shot gun and an eight millimetre handgun on Courtney and in the car, the 49-year-old said: “It's for a show.”
Courtney, pictured, of Camelot Castle, Chestnut Rise in Plumstead, East London, denies two charges of possessing ammunition without a certificate and two charges of possessing an offensive weapon.
Simon Morgan, prosecuting, said that it was in the early hours of October 29 last year when police spotted Courtney's BMW near Park Street, were suspicious about its number plate and pulled it over in Lewins Mead.
man called Brendon McGirr corr was driving, Courtney was in the front passenger seat and his son Beau was sat in the back, the court heard yesterday.
PC Tim Morgan said he searched Courtney and found a silver- coloured knuckleduster and bullet in his trouser pocket.
He said: “I seized both items and I arrested Mr Courtney on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon. When I cautioned him he said 'it's for a show'. I saw a gold-coloured knuckle duster in the central driver's pocket of the vehicle.”
PC Morgan said police also found two guns and a giant water pistol in the boot of the car.
He said though Courtney was not initially recognised by police it “came out” that he had earlier been involved in an event called “an audience with celebrity gangster Dave Courtney” at the Fuchsia night spot in Nelson Street.
Sergeant Martin Fox confirmed the boot of the BMW was full of “paraphernalia” including videos and DVDs.
Donalcorr McGuire, defending, asked him if he recalled finding DVDs with titles including Dodgy Dave, Hell To Pay and Triads, Yardies and Onion Bhajis, and if he'd made enquiries about them.
Sergeant Fox replied: “We didn't ask them any questions about these at all.
“Mr Courtney was cooperative in our presence and he made no attempt to struggle or resist arrest.”
In interview Courtney told police he thought the bullets found were blank cartridges.
“He said he was a showman,” Mr Morgan said.
“He said he uses these as his props much as an actor on stage.
“He said he was involved in a show from which he was leaving.
“The Crown says it was unreasonable for him to possess them in those circumstances.”
“He made no effort to secure them so they would not be available for use if necessary.The Crown says these are offensive weapons specifically designed for causing injury to persons.”
The case continues.

Amir Hosseini,Hossein Obaei,Two former Chicago auto dealers were convicted

Two former Chicago auto dealers were convicted of turning their businesses into money-laundering havens for drug-dealing street gangs. Amir Hosseini, 50, of Winnetka and Hossein Obaei, 54, of Northbrook, were immediately taken into custody by marshals after being convicted of dozens of counts of racketeering, money laundering, bank fraud, bribery and structuring deposits to evade federal scrutiny. The two men convicted of 98 criminal charges, may end up getting life terms
At the trial, which began Jan. 22, members of the Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Latin Kings and Four Corner Hustlers testified that they used proceeds from sales of heroin and cocaine to buy Jaguars, BMWs, Cadillacs and other luxury vehicles from the two defendants. Prosecutors said Hosseini and Obaei were aware that drug money was paying for the luxury autos. Evidence showed that Hosseini transferred $100,000 of the cash to Iran but prosecutors declined to comment on the reason.When arrested, both men carried American and Iranian passports.Prosecutors said the two owners and two managers of the three dealerships on the city's West Side had allegedly laundered more than $9 million since 2001. "We're not talking about car dealers who sold cars to people who happened to be drug dealers or sold cars to people despite the fact that they were drug dealers. We're talking about a car dealership that was in the business to cater to people who were drug dealers and gang bangers," Fitzgerald said. The defendants Amir Hosseini, 48, of Winnetka, described as the owner and operator of Standard Leasing Sales, currently known as Amer Leasing Sales, and a partial owner in SHO Auto Credit; Ruhollah Bambouyani, 54, of California and formerly of Glenview, described as Hosseini's business partner at Standard; and Ramona Rodriguez, 38, of Chicago, described as the finance manager and office manager of both Standard and American Car Exchange. Prosecutors also charged Hossein Obaei, 52, of Northbrook, who owned and operated American Car Exchange and was a partial owner in SHO Auto Credit. Obaei also was charged with aiding and abetting a cocaine- and heroin-trafficking ring allegedly operated by some of his customers. Federal agents and Chicago police also seized more than 100 cars from the dealerships and searched the defendants' offices and homes. According to a criminal complaint, the defendants allegedly sold cars to people they knew were drug dealers or gang members in exchange for cash, "knowing that the transactions were designed to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the proceeds of their customers' drug-trafficking activities." The drug dealers used cash to buy more than 800 luxury cars, including Mercedes Benz, Jaguar and BMW models, according to prosecutors. Fitzgerald said fake transactions would be created on paper to look as if the cars were bought for less than $10,000 so that required paperwork did not have to be completed. As part of the alleged fraud, prosecutors accuse the defendants of placing liens on cars they sold to drug dealers and gang members, falsely indicating the dealership held security interests in the cars so the defendants could get the cars back if they were seized by law enforcement, prosecutors said.

Freddie Thompson reports suggested that the hood may have been “taken out” in a hit carried out at his hiding place in Alicante.

Dublin's underworld was holding its breath today as it awaits further news of one of its most infamous ex-pats. The gangland thug’s disappearance from Spain’s Costa Blanca had resulted in speculation that Thompson had been assassinated.
“As far as we can establish, Freddie is laughing the whole thing off. It was a ruse he came up with to try and smoke out an informer in his camp,” said one senior garda today. While mystery still surrounds the whereabouts of the 27-year-old, weekend reports of his death were rubbished today by garda sources who say they have no evidence that that mobster has been killed in Spain. Gardai and the Department of Foreign Affairs have both rubbished rumours that Dublin crime boss "Fat" Freddie Thompson is dead.“He hasn’t been answering his mobile but that’s a big jump to say he has been killed,” said a source. The reports suggested that the hood may have been “taken out” in a hit carried out at his hiding place in Alicante. Following persistent rumours in the underworld, gardai looked at the suggestion that the reason Thompson had gone “off the radar” and had not been in contact with friends or family for some time – was because he was already dead.A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that they had also investigated claims after the weekend rumour mill went into over drive. A department source said that contact had been made with their counterparts in Spain, but that no reports of a death of an Irish citizen were recorded. And, although underworld associates insisted that ‘Fat' Freddie was in trouble, without more information gardai cannot act on the claims. His crime associates have indicated that it was ‘out of character' for the south Dublin criminal to completely lose contact with his hoods in Ireland. Leader of one of the feuding Drimnagh/Crumlin gangs, Freddie fled to Spain earlier this month when fears for his safety here intensified. He has been warned several times by gardai about threats to his life. It is believed the mobster is top of a number of ‘hit lists' in the capital, but like his friend Martin ‘the Viper’ Foley, he has managed to survive.
Continued treats to his life, last week's failed assassination attempt on his partner-in-crime and previous Spanish hits on Irish hoods have lead to concern among the Thompson gang. Thompson was in southern Spain in February when one of his close associates, Paddy Doyle, also 27, was shot dead. The investigation into that murder is ongoing but Spanish police have suggested that they strongly suspect that Doyle and Thompson had fallen foul of rival drug traffickers. Thompson travels between Dublin, Spain and Holland. Since the much publicised Dublin gang feud was sparked in 2000 as many as 10 people have lost their lives. Countless others have been targeted. The spread of Irish gangland violence to Spain is not a new development. In 2004 the leaders of the ‘Westies’ gang Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates, were murdered and buried in a secret grave in Alicante.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Trigga Mob last year engaged in "kind of a turf war" with Keep It Lit, which had migrated from Oakland.

The Hurst investigation lay dormant until Oct. 2, 2007, when a reputed Trigga Mob member, Robert Earl "L'il Rob" Grimes III, 25, was shot dead at 733 Dixieanne Ave., a long-standing drug-and-prostitution outpost, according to police. The two-story, three-building stucco complex with a weed patch for a courtyard has been dubbed by police and some residents as "the Compound."Investigators cracked down on the neighborhood after the Grimes homicide. Their probation and parole searches took them back to Hurst.With a promise of police protection, Hurst decided to cooperate. In November, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office filed the conspiracy and attempted murder charges against Martin and Franklin.Deputy District Attorney Sean Laird, who is prosecuting the case, declined to comment because the trial is pending.Defense attorneys Keith Staten, who is representing Martin, and Frances Huey, who is representing Franklin, also declined to discuss the case. Relatives of Martin and Franklin who have attended the trial also turned down interview requests.
It was the testimony of Detective Robert Quinn of the Sacramento Police Department's gang suppression unit that described the spread and structure of subsets such as the Trigga Mob, whose operations allegedly range from murder to dope to robbery, and the relationships between them and some of the other groups.Quinn described the Trigga Mob as one of several subsets of the Del Paso Heights Bloods, one that sought to spread fear and respect through drug sales, robbery, assault and murder.
Quinn said the Trigga Mob last year engaged in "kind of a turf war" with Keep It Lit, which had migrated from Oakland. At issue: control of a couple of northside crack cocaine markets, most prominently, the five-block stretch of Dixieanne Avenue around the Compound, Quinn said."It's where Keep It Lit and Trigga Mob are fighting for control of narcotics sales," Quinn testified.A judge signed a preliminary injunction earlier this year to stop blatant drug, gang and prostitution activity at the Compound. Police reported 633 calls for service to the apartment complex from December 2005 to November, according to court papers.
Up the block, Erik and Gale Snyder, who have lived on Dixieanne Avenue for 11 years, say they're moving."Lot of prostitutes walking up and down the street," Gale Snyder said. "Lot of drug activity. Sometimes we hear gunshots. Sometimes they sound pretty close to the house."In his testimony, Quinn said that as the investigation into Grimes' death unfolded, "slowly, people were saying that Keep It Lit was responsible for that homicide."No arrests have been made. The case remains under investigation.
It is one of two killings on Dixieanne last year that remain unsolved. In the other, someone shot and killed Charles Thomas Robinson, 19, on April 2, 2007, as he was sitting in a car about three blocks up.Police say they need the public's help with both cases and are asking people interested in a $1,000 reward to call 443-HELP if they have any information.Robinson's relatives described him as an independent dope dealer and craps shooter who squabbled on occasion with the Trigga Mob over those issues and others, including love interests.His cousin, Albert Moore, 31, said he sees Trigga Mob and Keep It Lit, as well as the other subsets, as trying to make quick reputations, often at the point of a gun.Moore said he suffered a gunshot wound to his leg last year when somebody from a subset on his block took aim at "somebody who was Crip walking too hard in the middle of the street," and missed.
"He was doing the little dance of the Crips, doing a little dance, and some Bloods happened to pass by and they seen that and they didn't like what they saw," Moore said.Moore said the subsets have fractured so much that on his street near Grant High School, "You see people wearing every (gang) color you could imagine."
Professor Hernandez said the cell division lends credence to his theory that things are becoming so fractured that even the concept of turf is becoming "antiquated."
Rivalry and violence are not.
"Another thing about gangs is, you've got to have an enemy," Hernandez said. "You have guys who don't have anything going for them, and all of a sudden, they've got another gang to fight. Then they have a new purpose in life and they're on their way."

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Freddie Thompson, leader of one of the feuding Drimnagh/Crumlin gangs,assassinated in Spain


Dublin gangland figure 'Fat' Freddie Thompson, leader of one of the feuding Drimnagh/Crumlin gangs, was alive or dead after rumours spread throughout Thompson's associates that he had been assassinated in Spain.Senior garda sources said last night there had been no reports from Spanish police of a murder. Thompson left Dublin last weekend for Spain amid reports of a growing threat to his life. He has been warned several times by gardai about threats to his life.The sources said that there was no evidence of a murder, or disappearance, but did confirm that Thompson's associates believe he is dead. Intelligence reached gardai early yesterday that Thompson's gang were unable to contact him and that it was completely out of character for him to lose contact with his gang.Thompson, 27, was in Estepona in southern Spain in February when one of his close associates, Paddy Doyle, also 27, was shot dead. The murder has not been solved but Spanish police indicated to gardai that they suspected Doyle -- and Thompson -- had run foul of Turkish drug traffickers.Thompson was on the scene shortly after the murder, though it was not absolutely established if he was travelling in the car in which Doyle was shot, though Spanish police believe he was. A short time later Spanish police seized a car in a nearby car park and found 110kg of cocaine.Thompson travels between Dublin, Amsterdam and the Costa del Sol. He was arrested in Rotterdam in October 2006 when police seized seven kilos of cocaine, six handguns and ammunition at an apartment he had been used. He evaded prosecution on a technicality when the case came to trial in February 2007.Thompson is also an associate of Martin Foley, who has been the target of several murder attempts -- the latest in January when he survived being hit by five bullets.The feud in which Thompson and Foley are caught up began in 2000 when a gang of young drug dealers from the Drimnagh-Crumlin area fell out after gardai seized cocaine in the Holiday Inn in Pearse Street. The gang split and the violence started with the murder of one of the gang in 2001.
Since then there have been nine more murders, dozens of attempted murders and hundreds of violent incidents. The intelligence reaching gardai about Thompson's disappearance come after an upsurge in activity from his enemies, who carried out at least one known assassination attempt early this month and were planning another murder last week.The spread of Irish gangland violence to Spain is not new and six known Irish criminals have been murdered there in the past four years. In 2004, the leaders of the Westies gang, Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates, were murdered and buried in a secret grave in Alicante. John McKeown, 48, said to be a major figure in international drug trafficking, was shot dead in January last year in Torrevieja. Sean Dunne, 32, from Coolock, was shot dead in September 2005, also near Alicante. And, the body of Cork man Michael 'Danser' Ahern was found stuffed into a freezer in Albuifera, Portugal, in September 2005.
Gardai who know Thompson said last week that the murder in Spain of his friend Paddy Doyle had badly affected him and he had been acting in an erratic manner since.
Doyle was Thompson's main "enforcer" and had personally carried out the assassinations of two of Thompson's rivals. Doyle had been living in Spain since 2005.
Twenty-five drug dealers in south inner Dublin have been cautioned by gardai that their lives are under threat arising from the bloody feud between the two Drimnagh and Crumlin-based gangs.
It is the largest number of such warnings ever issued in a single division.
Intelligence has led local detectives to intercept and prevent several murders, but sources say the threat to life is ever present, with gang members "floating around" looking for rivals and setting up people for assassination.
One attempt at murder narrowly failed earlier this month when a leading member of one gang, whose brother was killed in the seven-year feud, was shot at near the North Strand.
That plot was carried out by members of the gang led by the opponents of Freddie Thompson, who narrowly escaped assassination in February this year when gunmen opened fire on a car he was a passenger in at Estepona on the Costa del Sol.
Paddy Doyle, from Portland Row in north inner Dublin, who was a front seat passenger in the car, was shot dead. Gardai said that following yet another upsurge in activity around the south inner city, Thompson left for Spain last week. Gardai arrested a man in the south inner city last week who is suspected of carrying out gun and machete attacks on the homes of Thompson's mother and grandmother earlier this year. Gardai say that Thompson's opponents, the gang formerly led by Joseph Rattigan who was murdered in 2002, are currently pushing to try and take over control of the drugs trade in the south inner city. The Garda "G" District -- which covers the Crumlin and Drimnagh areas -- currently, has the highest homicide rate in the country, with eight killings since last October, though not all of these were gang related.
Local gardai say that this might be a record for a single Garda District, and that they are desperately short of resources to handle so many murder investigations.
Gardai in some of the worst affected areas in Dublin are critical of the fact that even though they are making regular arrests of gang members on drugs and firearms offences, they nearly all get bail.
"We're doing out job, the DPP is doing their job and the prisons are keeping them in. The courts aren't doing their job," one source said.The Government changed the Bail Act in 1997 following a referendum the previous year sparked by public outrage over the number of accused, including people charged with murder, who were routinely being released on bail. Garda sources say that some of the most dangerous criminals in Dublin are currently on bail. In many cases, they say, the criminals are at their most active when on bail because they are usually trying to amass money to look after family while they are in prison.
Meanwhile, gardai in Finglas and Coolock are continuing their search for the killers of the two men gunned down within 12 hours last weekend. Both Trevor Walsh from Finglas and Anthony Foster from Coolock are believed to have been killed by rival drug dealers. Gardai said the murders do not appear to have been linked. Asked about feuding that had been going on the Finglas-Blanchardstown area last week, one local garda said: "It's too complicated to explain." There are a number of rivalries and vendettas between drug dealers in the Finglas-Blanchardstown area that have arisen since the break up of the "Westies" gang and the murders of its leaders Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates in Spain two years ago; and the break up of the gang led by Martin Hyland, who was shot dead in December 2006. One source said that there are currently a number of criminals vying to take over the drugs trade in the north-western suburbs of the city, and this is expected to lead to more killings.The north inner city feud, which has claimed four lives over the past year, is still "live" according to gardai.
And despite claims earlier this year that a truce had been engineered in the Limerick feud between the Keane-Collopys and the McCarthy-Dundons, this too is "active".
A plot to murder a senior McCarthy-Dundon gang member was uncovered last month when gardai stopped a car containing two rival gang members and a former IRA assassin.
A map detailing the location of the gang member's home was found in the car, leading gardai to issue a caution to the man believed to have been targeted.

Brothers Dennis and Enrique Medrano both pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, felonies punishable by up to 30 years i

Brothers Dennis and Enrique Medrano both pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison.Dennis Medrano, 20, accepted a plea deal in which he'll serve 12 years in prison, followed by 10 years probation. He was also sentenced to five years in prison on a cocaine charge, and will serve the time concurrently.
Enrique Medrano, 21, accepted a deal in which he'll serve 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years probation. Of the 13 reputed gang members indicted by a statewide grand jury, six now have pleaded guilty and two more who have cooperated with statewide prosecutors are expected to plead guilty soon.The Medrano brothers join another brother, Alexis Medrano and a cousin, Kevin Medrano, who also have pleaded guilty. Dennis Medrano's defense attorney, Marianne Rantala, said outside court that defendants' flipping on each other has prompted the succession of plea deals. "When there are family members ready to testify against you, it's not good," she said.Dennis Medrano appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit signaling that he has had some discipline problems at the jail."Yes, ma'am," he politely answered Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown's questions.Dennis Medrano, who has an eighth-grade education, acknowledged participating in a variety of crimes prosecutors used to mount the racketeering case against him. They included physical attacks on people, stealing a car, cocaine posession and run-ins with law enforcement. Medrano also acknowledged being one of the shooters in an attempted first-degree murder, Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Todd Weicholz told the judge.The gang life is "the only life he's ever known," Rantala said. "I'm trying to get him to focus on the future."
These Sur 13 gang members, based in the Westgate neighborhood, became the first targets of a statewide grand jury convened to tackle a rise in gang violence.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has said that Sur 13 is a violent criminal enterprise that is active across the nation, a gang responsible for robberies, drive-by shootings, beatings and drug dealing. "Street thugs. Street terrorists," another agent, Mike Driscoll of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has described them.A coalition of investigators built the case under Florida's racketeering statute, historically applied to take down mobsters, but now used as a weapon against street gangs. Investigators link together the activity and planning by the gang to commit crimes.Enrique Medrano's defense attorney, Morgan McDonald, did not want to speak specifically about his client. But characterized the life of the gang members as an idle search for excitement, many fully expecting not to live long.
"Young men that lead this lifestyle don't care or don't have the foresight to understand they will end up dead at the hands of another gangbanger or in prison," McDonald said. "No one is concerned about long-term consequences."

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Frank "the German" Schweihs who died late Wednesday in federal custody after battling cancer, spent decades as a reputed enforcer for the mob


Frank "the German" Schweihs, and even fewer carried out their threats with his cruel enthusiasm.
Schweihs, who died late Wednesday in federal custody after battling cancer, spent decades as a reputed enforcer for the mob's Grand Avenue street crew, gaining a reputation as a profane killer who was feared even by his cohorts in the underworld.
A chance encounter with him could leave many wondering whether they had finally stepped on the wrong toes. According to testimony last summer at the landmark Family Secrets trial, at least one mobster warned his family to call 911 immediately if Schweihs was ever seen lurking around their home.
"He was the one guy that nobody wanted to see coming," said John Mallul, supervisor of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago. "It was bad enough to have a meeting with him, let alone see him by surprise."The Outfit had its bosses and moneymakers, but investigators said Schweihs was known for one thing: muscle. He was among those indicted in 2005 in the sweeping Family Secrets mob case, charged with storied Outfit capo Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, who allegedly used Schweihs to collect "street tax" and eliminate enemies of the Grand Avenue crew.
He was too sick to stand trial with the others last year. The once-imposing Schweihs, 78, had appeared in court in recent months a pale, withered old man slumped in a wheelchair. His trial, set for October, had been put off for a time this year when he signed—but later rescinded—a do-not-resuscitate order.
Schweihs was transferred Monday from Chicago's downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center dehydrated and needing emergency treatment. He died of complications of cancer Wednesday evening at Thorek Medical Center in Chicago, said Vincent Shaw, a jail spokesman.Authorities said Schweihs started his life in crime as head of an armed-robbery ring in Chicago in the 1950s and rose to become a reliable Outfit assassin of German descent known by mob code names that included " Hitler."
He relied on a reputation as a maniac to keep those under him in line, losing his temper and dishing out beatings for seemingly no reason, sources said.
As part of the Family Secrets prosecution, Schweihs was accused of taking part in the ambush hits on federal witnesses Daniel Seifert in Bensenville in 1974 and Emil Vaci in Phoenix in 1986. Shortly before he was to testify against Lombardo, Seifert was gunned down by three masked men outside his business as his wife watched.
The key government trial witness, Nicholas Calabrese, a mob turncoat, testified that Schweihs also played a role in early attempts to take out Las Vegas chieftain Anthony Spilotro and his brother, Michael, stalking them in 1986. In one of the most notorious gangland slayings in Chicago history, the Spilotros were later slain after returning here for a mob meeting and buried in Indiana.
Though not charged, Schweihs also had long been a suspect in other unsolved Outfit hits, as well as in the murder of a former girlfriend, sources said. Calabrese linked Schweihs to the 1983 murder of corrupt insurance executive Allen Dorfman, who had been involved with Lombardo in schemes to loot Teamster funds.
Dorfman was shot seven times outside a Lincolnwood hotel as he met a friend for lunch.
"In life, Schweihs was a vicious, ruthless, cowardly murderer and Outfit thug," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk. "Now his case is closed."
Schweihs' attorney, Ellen Domph, said he was determined to fight the government's case to the end. He had a "loving relationship" with his three children, Domph said, and though he could be rude and threatening even in court, he had always been courteous and polite to her.
Like Lombardo, Schweihs fled after the Family Secrets indictment came down in 2005. He spent months on the lam before the FBI caught up with him and a girlfriend in Berea, Ky.Even though he was missing from the courtroom during the Family Secrets trial, Schweihs still played a role in the historic trial that resulted in convictions of five Outfit figures, including Lombardo. To show the jury how the Outfit prospered through extortion, prosecutors played undercover tapes of William "Red" Wemette, a porn shop owner being pressed to pay mob street taxes in the late 1980s.On the grainy video, a gruff Schweihs, wearing a baseball cap, announced that another mobster whom Wemette had once paid taxes to had gone to "open up a hot dog stand in Alaska." The shop was now under his control, said Schweihs, who didn't like hearing that someone from the Rush Street crew had come around bothering his new property."I don't care who it is," Schweihs barked on the undercover tape. "If it's Al Capone's brother and he comes back reincarnated. This is a declared [expletive] joint."Schweihs would tolerate no one moving in on his turf, he said."I'll be looking at the obituaries," an obviously nervous Wemette replied.In an interview Thursday, Lombardo's lawyer, Rick Halprin, called the playing of the tape a pivotal moment in the trial. Jurors had suddenly been confronted with the reality of the case, he said.The same tapes had been used to help convict Schweihs of extortion in 1989."It was a very scary performance," Halprin said. "I would not dispute that."
Schweihs displayed flashes of his fiery temper even in public. At a court hearing last month, he spoke loudly to Domph and spat insults when Funk looked over in his direction."You makin' eyes at me?" Schweihs snarled. "Do I look like a [expletive] to you or something?"

Three shootings in less than two hours in St. Léonard and Rivière des Prairies are being investigated as conflict between a street gang and the Mafia

Three shootings in less than two hours in St. Léonard and Rivière des Prairies are being investigated as a possible conflict between a street gang and the Montreal Mafia.Police sources said yesterday the first man shot has ties to a street gang. They suspect the two shootings that followed were done in retaliation.All three victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.The first shooting occurred around 9 p.m. at Le Ritz, a bar with a checkered past on Lacordaire Blvd. in St. Léonard.
"The victim went inside the café and after a short discussion with people ... inside, he was shot," Montreal police Constable Raphaël Bergeron said.The man crashed through the bar's front window to escape and jumped into a waiting car. He was driven to a hospital, where staff alerted police they had a patient who had been shot.No one inside the bar called 911 and when officers eventually arrived at Le Ritz, they found it deserted, its front door unlocked.The 30-year-old man who was wounded in the shooting is a known drug trafficker with a lengthy criminal record. Last year, he was sentenced to 14 days in prison and three years' probation after pleading guilty to being part of a drug trafficking ring tied to the Bo Gars gang. The ring controlled drug trafficking in a neighbourhood close to Le Ritz.Le Ritz has been identified in the past as more of a drug den than a bar, where the door was controlled by an electronic lock and customers were buzzed in.
In 2006, the Régie des alcools suspended the bar's licence for four months after Montreal police said undercover agents purchased cocaine there. One police source said yesterday that investigators were having a hard time finding out who owns the bar.after the shooting at Le Ritz, a young man dressed in dark clothing stormed into Café-bar Mare e Mondo on Maurice Duplessis Blvd. in Rivière des Prairies.
"He fired several shots (into) various parts of (the café) and left the scene," Bergeron said.A 36-year-old man was struck in the stomach and taken to hospital. Bergeron said the victim is not known to police.
Mare e Mondo has reputed ties to the Mafia. It was opened in 1997 by Giuseppe Torre, 37, an alleged drug trafficker arrested in Projet Colisée, the 2006 roundup of suspected Mafia leaders and associates. Court documents show that although the bar changed ownership in 2000, Torre referred to it on wiretaps in 2005.The third shooting was less than an hour after Mare e Mondo came under fire. A 19-year-old man was struck in the leg as he sat in a vehicle parked behind another café on Maurice Duplessis."The victims in the second and third shooting are not known to the police at all," Bergeron said. "They were probably in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Tywin Marcell Bender, 18, of Minneapolis, was one of two teens charged in September's gang-related shooting that left a 12-year-old girl, Vernice Hall

Tywin Marcell Bender, 18, of Minneapolis, was one of two teens charged in September's gang-related shooting that left a 12-year-old girl, Vernice Hall, wounded by a bullet to the head. Vernice, now 13, survived but suffered permanent brain damage. The other teen charged, Semaj Marquise Magee, 17, was tried in May; a jury acquitted him. Prosecutors claimed afterward that key witnesses changed their testimony from their original statements. At the time, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said gang intimidation might have caused witnesses not to implicate Magee in the crime. Freeman said Friday that when prosecutors took measure of their evidence — and the witnesses' changed stories — they determined they didn't have enough to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt at Bender's trial, scheduled to start Aug. 5. "We're disappointed," he said. "It's a reluctant conclusion that came from reluctant witnesses changing stories. "These gang cases are really hard," Freeman said. "It's not like we've got witnesses from Central Casting that are Sunday-morning church choir members. The folks who witnessed this shooting have proven to be very unreliable witnesses."
Bender walked out of the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center at 4:15 p.m. Freeman said if evidence turns up that witnesses were intimidated, new charges could be filed. Asked if he still believes Bender and Magee were involved in the shooting, the prosecutor answered an unequivocal "yes."
"That really hasn't changed," he said.
'I Am Gonna ... Shoot This Party Up' / Vernice, known by friends and family by her nickname, "Star," was shot in the 1800 block of Oliver Avenue North as her brother's birthday party was breaking up Sept. 22. Bender — identified in court documents as a member of a gang that calls itself the Stick Up Boys, or SUBs — had gotten into an argument with other people at the party who were members of a rival gang known as the Murder Squad or the 19s.
"You all better clear out because I am gonna come back and shoot this party up," Bender told the crowd, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
He left the party. Witnesses said that about an hour later, a black sport utility vehicle pulled up to some partygoers still milling about in the street. Bender and Magee were in the vehicle, witnesses said.
Police said witnesses told them Bender climbed out of the vehicle with a handgun, while Magee was holding a shotgun when he got out. Magee allegedly fired first, then again, and Bender fired about 20 rounds before they got into the SUV and fled.
After police said witnesses gave them the teens' names, the two were arrested. Questioned by police, Bender claimed he didn't hang out with the SUBs anymore, and he denied being involved in the shooting.
Among witnesses police interviewed was one who said he was riding a city bus the day after the shooting and heard people talking about it.
The purported witness "heard one of the young men brag that he got into it with gang members and he got out of the car and started 'busting' into the crowd," the criminal complaint against Bender claimed. "The young man said that 'they' said he shot a little girl." Bender faced four counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault, 12 counts related to being involved in a drive-by shooting and a single count of being a prohibited person in possession of a gun.
The last charge was filed because Bender was ruled delinquent in December 2006 after being convicted of a robbery. 'We Can't Prove It' / In a two-page petition filed in state court, prosecutors noted Magee's acquittal and said that in his trial, "witnesses crucial to this case testified in a manner inconsistent with previous statements and/or testimony."
"Despite due diligence by investigators in the case, further investigation has failed to reveal relevant and admissible evidence that would support a conviction after a jury trial of this defendant," Assistant County Attorney Susan Crumb wrote of Bender. She did write, though, that a dismissal "will permit the State to continue to investigate and discover additional evidence and locate additional witnesses." Freeman said he believed the witnesses had been intimidated.
"We can't prove it," he said. "If we had really strong leads about who did it and how it happened, well, we've brought cases more than once before on witness intimidation. But we've got to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

Suspect Edwin Ramos awaits trial in San Francisco County Jail, a system that released him nearly three months before the slayings. Convicted twice

On June 22, Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Matthew, 16, and Michael, 20, were driving back to their home in this city's Excelsior neighborhood from a family get-together at Kennedy's home.Driving south on a narrow street, Bologna stopped the car, inadvertently blocking the path of a Chrysler 300M, authorities said. The Chrysler's driver pulled up alongside and began shooting. The father and his oldest son died at the scene. The younger boy died later at San Francisco General Hospital."That Sunday, we had breakfast, hugged each other, kissed each other and the kids," Kennedy said.Later that day, the phone rang, and "the homicide inspectors told my wife her brother was shot and killed along with his son . . ."Bologna "was a wonderful individual and a great father," Kennedy said. "To have him assassinated in broad daylight with my two nephews is incomprehensible."
Three days later, police arrested Ramos of nearby El Sobrante. San Francisco Police Sgt. Neville Gittens said Ramos is allegedly a member of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang.
He was charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Because of the serious nature of the crime -- including the fact that there were multiple victims -- he would be subject under state law to the death penalty.
Kennedy, his sister-in-law Danielle Bologna and various activist groups are calling on Dist. Atty. District Attorney Kamala Harris to seek the death penalty in the case.
Harris is opposed to capital punishment and came under fire earlier in her career when she did not seek the death penalty in the murder of a San Francisco police officer. She has yet to decide whether to do so in the Bolognas' case.
The widespread uproar over the Bolognas' deaths began this week, after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Ramos had been found guilty of two felonies as a juvenile.
Because of the city's sanctuary policy -- enacted in 1989 -- local agencies do not consider immigration status when dealing with young offenders and therefore did not check whether Ramos was in the country legally.Frank Kennedy is a third-generation San Franciscan, the son and grandson of local police officers and the proud owner of a Bay Area business. And this week he became Exhibit A for all he believes ails his hometown.On Wednesday, a 21-year-old undocumented Salvadoran immigrant pleaded not guilty to murdering Kennedy's brother-in-law and two nephews in a case that has galvanized sentiment nationwide against this "sanctuary city" and its ambitious mayor.
Matthew BolognaKennedy has spent much of the time since telling anyone who will listen that San Francisco and cities like it should stop shielding illegal immigrants from federal authorities and that officials here are responsible for his loved ones' deaths.
Suspect Edwin Ramos awaits trial in San Francisco County Jail, a system that released him nearly three months before the slayings. Convicted twice on felony charges as a juvenile, he was protected then from immigration officials because of the city's sanctuary policy."Any mayor, any board of supervisors that passes these laws should be prosecuted to the fullest," Kennedy said in a recent interview.
"This is not the United States of San Francisco . . . My family was the sacrificial lamb in this."
Immigration activists have embraced the grieving family, using the June 22 deaths of Anthony, Matthew and Michael Bologna to call for change. Conservative broadcasters have vilified the city and its officials all week.Outraged e-mailers have lit up message boards for days. And federal immigration officials have demanded greater access to the city's jails, telling Mayor Gavin Newsom in a letter Wednesday that the sanctuary policy means they can't "prevent the release of these criminal aliens . . . "CNN's Lou Dobbs asked Kennedy: "What is your reaction when you think about the fact that Mayor Newsom has with great, complete, sanctimonious arrogance defended the sanctuary policy of this city?"

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