Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Los Zetas drug cartel are presented to the media

Alleged members of Los Zetas drug cartel are presented to the media inGuadalajara,Mexico, on Aug. 23, 2011. A clash between members of the Ministry of Public Security of the State and alleged members of the drug cartel Los Zetas leaves four gunmen dead and one policeman injured, within the limits of Jalisco and Zacatecas. Those under arrest brought with them three AK-47 rifles and six camouflage uniforms.

Mexico graves still hold 500 bodies

500 bodies still remain to be uncovered from hidden graves in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, a non-governmental group told reporters on Tuesday.
Isabel Miranda de Wallace said her NGO, which fights Mexico's rampant kidnapping, had gathered data from a recent visit to San Fernando, a small town near the US border, including interviews with gang suspects.
The region is largely dominated by the notorious Zetas gang -- which controls drug trafficking routes into Mexico's northern neighbor -- and has been the site of numerous massacres over the past year.
A total of 193 bodies have already been uncovered from clandestine graves around San Fernando in recent months, in the same area that saw the massacre of 72 migrants last year.
More than 41,000 people have died in violence linked to Mexico's organized crime gangs since President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown on them in December 2006, according to media counts and official figures.


Gunmen hung a man from a pedestrian bridge over a busy avenue in the Mexican city of Monterrey Tuesday and shot him to death in front of dozens of motorists.

A police investigator in Nuevo Leon state, where Monterrey is located, said the man was alive when he was hung and died after being shot.

The investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case, said the assailants left a threatening message but he wouldn't reveal what it said.

Monterrey's overpasses have seen several gang killings this year, often carried out in daylight in view of drivers on busy streets below. The Gulf and Zetas drug cartels are fighting for control of the city.

Also Tuesday in the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco, two teenage boys of about 15 years of age were shot to death by unidentified assailants. State police in Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, said gunmen chased the teenagers down and shot them with about a dozen 9 mm rounds, the type of machine-pistol ammunition favored by drug gangs.

Police also found a man's dismembered body in a car in another Acapulco neighborhood.

As drug-related violence continued, Mexico's top police official, Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna, met in Mexico City Tuesday with the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Michele Leonhart, to review the results of bilateral cooperation in the fight against drug cartels.

The two officials toured Mexico's federal police intelligence center, and discussed information sharing, weapons and drug trafficking.

A statement by Garcia Luna's office said bilateral cooperation "has enabled us to achieve success in the fight against criminal gangs."

Friday, 19 August 2011

Maple Ridge woman wounded in a brazen weekend shooting in Kelowna has been left a quadriplegic.

Friends of Leah Hadden-Watt confirmed the 21-year-old was injured by a bullet  when a masked gunman fired at five people in a Porsche SUV in the parking lot of the Delta Grand Hotel on Sunday. The bullet shattered a vertebra and has left her paralysed.

Red Scorpion kingpin Jonathan Bacon was killed in the shooting while Hells Angel Larry Amero, Independent Soldier James Riach and another woman in the SUV were injured.

Riach fled the scene while the others remain in hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

No arrests have been made but police are asking the public for information about a newer silver-green Ford Explorer that matches the description of the getaway vehicle.

On Twitter, a day after the shooting Kelsey Olson wrote: “leah’s a quadriplegic … I am so heartbroken. I don’t know what to do with myself.”

On Tuesday, she tweeted “Stay strong, you’ll get through this.”

Hadden-Watt is the niece of Mike “Spike” Hadden, who runs Haney Hawgs, a motorcycle shop in Hammond.

Hadden is believed to be a full-patch member of the Hells Angels Haney chapter. Hadden could not be reached for comment as he is out of town on vacation.

Meanwhile, Ridge Meadows Mounties and police departments across the province have been asked to be “on alert”.

“There is a heightened awareness of gangsters and the danger associated with them,” said Ridge Meadows Insp. Dave Fleugel.

“We work in concert with the Provincial Intelligence Centre and the gang task force, who share information on gangsters that may travel into our area. Our officers have been made aware that the potential for retaliation is high.”

For close to a year, the Lower Mainland gang task force keeping tabs on tension and “volatility” within criminal organizations that fuel the drug trade in B.C.

“That heightened alert has just been brought to the forefront because of what happened in Kelowna,” said Sgt. Shinder Kirk, whose team is providing resources to investigators in Kelowna but not directly involved in investigating.

In 2008, the gang task force publicly warned acquaintances or associates of gang members that they could be targets.

“The broader tragedy is individuals, male or female, that are associates have been caught up in the violence,” said Kirk.

“If you look back there was an unwritten rule that girlfriends and wives were off-limits. Now there’s been a shift in the paradigm and they are just as much targets as men are

second Hells Angels bikie has been arrested as police attempt to solve two drive-by shootings targeting the Ibrahim family.

Police raided a house in the eastern Sydney suburb of Eastlakes and arrested a 26-year-old man who detectives allege is a member of the Hells Angels bikie gang.

During the raid, small amounts of steroids and testosterone were allegedly seized from the home and will undergo forensic testing.

The man was taken to Mascot Police Station before being released pending further inquiries.

Drugs charges may follow, police say.

The arrest relates to two shootings believed to have targeted the Ibrahim family six weeks ago.

On June 30, police were called to a home in Merrylands in western Sydney after residents reportedly heard gunshots.

They arrived to find the front of the home had been riddled with bullet holes while the occupants, a 47-year-old woman and a seven-year-old boy, were inside.

The woman and boy live next door to the parental home of Kings Cross nightclub entrepreneur John Ibrahim.

Less than 24 hours later, police went to Mr Ibrahim's own home in Dover Heights in the eastern suburbs.

They found bullet casings on the footpath and police believe shots were fired there on the same night as the Merrylands shooting.

No one was hurt in either shooting.

Earlier this week, a 21-year-old man was arrested after a raid at a property in the western suburb of Wetherill Park.

Police allegedly found three shotguns, three rifles and a large amount of ammunition at the property, as well as cocaine and steroids.

Police also seized several pieces of Hells Angels clothing and believe the man arrested there is a member of the bikie gang.

The man was released but police say they expect charges to be laid after forensic testing is done.

routine traffic violation led Montreal police to a fugitive Hells Angels member wanted for drug trafficking and murder.

Francois Hinse, 42, has been on the lam for more than two years after he was named in a major police roundup that targeted alleged leaders of the illicit biker gang organization.

Police intercepted Hinse during a routine traffic operation in a Montreal suburb Thursday.

He was in a car stopped at the corner of Londres and Oxford Streets in the Ville-Saint-Laurent borough.

Hinse is expected to appear in court Friday via teleconference on charges of gangsterism, drug trafficking and murder.

A presumed member of the Hells Angels Trois-Rivières chapter, Hinse was known as "Frank" or "le Gros".

He was named, along with dozens of other men in Operation SharQC, a major biker crackdown in 2009 made possible with the assistance of an ex-Hells Angels member turned informant.

A man wounded in Sunday's gang-related shooting in Kelowna, B.C., shouldn't be judged by his membership in Hells Angels

A man wounded in Sunday's gang-related shooting in Kelowna, B.C., shouldn't be judged by his membership in Hells Angels, a friend says.

Jasmine Wong says Hells Angel Larry Amero was an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire when Jonathan Bacon was shot and killed outside the Delta Hotel. Two women were also wounded, including one who was left quadriplegic.

"Wrong place, wrong time," Wong said of her friend. "[Amero] was on vacation, just out there having a good time in Kelowna."

Police have said it's not clear who was the intended target of the shooting — Bacon, who founded the Red Scorpions gang, Amero or a passenger reported to be a member of the Independent Soldiers gang.

Amero is a full patch member of the Hells Angels, but Wong cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

"You shouldn't judge him," she said. "What you do on your own time, in your hobby, just because you belong to a club — a bike club, a car club chess club . … He should be treated just like everyone else."

Wong said she has no idea why Amero was with Bacon but she knows they were friends.

Amero was just a regular person, she said.

"He still goes home, he still has an old lady and a kid, a job, like you and me."

Leah Hadden-Watts, 21, was reported to have suffered a shattered neck vertebra and was paralyzed when the SUV that Bacon and four others were riding in was showered with bullets from an automatic weapon. The second woman's injuries were not life-threatening.

Police have made no arrests in the shooting.

120 criminal gangs operate in British Columbia. Some are notorious for their illegal activities and have become well-known to the public, but many others do their best to maintain a low profile and don't even have names.

The best-known gangs are not necessarily the most dangerous or most powerful, Supt. Pat Fogarty said in an interview. He's the police officer in charge of the Organized Crime Branch of B.C.'s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, which keeps tabs on the activities of gangs and their members.

Membership can be fluid and there are various levels of gang affiliation. Criminals may move between gangs, and gangs themselves come and go. It makes headlines when groups feud and the violence spills into the public streets, but gang members often collaborate as well.

The drug trade is their major area of operation for most criminal gangs, but they go where the money is.

"This is business to them," Fogarty told CBC News.

Gangs have been operating for over a century in Vancouver, according to the Vancouver police department, but "have become far more prevalent and visible in the last few decades." Some of the higher-profile groups active on Canada's west coast today are offshoots of international criminal organizations, while others are home-grown.

The Red Scorpions
About 11 years ago several young gangsters doing time at a youth detention facility in the lower mainland formed the Red Scorpions.

Jonathan Bacon, a leader of the Red Scorpion gang, died in a hail of bullets in Kelowna on Aug 14. CBCA few years later in Abbotsford the Bacon brothers — Jonathan, Jarrod and Jamie — began a crime spree while living with their middle-class parents.

The two groups got together around 2006, joining forces to compete against the United Nations gang and the Hells Angels. The three Bacon brothers took over leadership of the Scorpions.

Fogarty described the brothers as "completely fearless."

The gang is into the drug trade, especially "dial-a-dope," an operation based on clients phoning in their order, then the gang arranging fast delivery — and raking in huge profits.

Gang members sport "RS" tattoos on their wrists and/or necks. Membership is believed to be multicultural.

Jonathan Bacon, the oldest brother at 30, was shot dead in Kelowna on Aug. 14, 2011.

Jarrod, 28, is in custody awaiting trial on cocaine trafficking charges.

Jamie, 26, is serving time on weapons and drugs charges but is also charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of six men in a Surrey apartment in 2007.

As a result of the turmoil among its leadership, Fogarty views the Red Scorpions as "out of it" now in terms of its place in the west coast gang hierarchy.

Independent Soldiers
The Independent Soldiers, or IS, brought together Indo-Canadian gangsters in southeast Vancouver about a decade ago. They were first known as the Sunset Boys, after the Sunset Community Centre where they were active.

The gang is reported to be more ethnically diverse today.

In 2005 IS leader Sukhvinder Singh (Bicky) Dosanjh died in a car accident, leaving the outfit in disarray. After getting out of jail in 2007 Parminder Singh (Peter) Adiwal took over. In 2009 he took 20 bullets in a Burnaby parking lot, but survived.

IS member James Riach, 29, was also in the Porsche Cayenne when Red Scorpion member Jonathan Bacon was shot in Kelowna, but Riach fled.

Hells Angels
The Hells Angels, declared a "national criminal organization" by the Ontario Superior Court in 2009, was then estimated to have about 460 full members in Canada. Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC) also reported that eight of the Angels' 34 chapters were in B.C., which would make them the largest gang in the country.

The Hells Angels have 8 B.C. chapters, as of 2009. CBCCISC has also reported that the B.C. Hells Angels have a close relationship to what they call "traditional" organized crime, through social ties and business connections.

Unlike the other gangs it's not easy to become a full-patch members of the Angels. According to Fogarty, some crooks have started their own gangs because they did not want to go through the two-year indoctrination to become an Angel.

Full-patch Angels act independently but each one may use non-members or 'associates' for whatever criminal activity they are into. For the B.C. Hells Angels, the favorite businesses are drugs, prostitution and money laundering.

Larry Amero, a full-patch member of Angels' White Rock chapter, was also injured in the Kelowna shooting that killed Jonathan Bacon.

United Nations
The United Nations gang chose that name because it claims to welcome members of any nationality. The UN was founded in 1997 by Clay Roueche, who brought together high school friends from around the Fraser Valley.

According to police, from early on Roueche, 35, had links to the triads — criminal organizations in Asia. Fogarty described the UN under Roueche as capable and smart, and good at bringing in other people.

At its peak the gang had 100 members, according to a 2011 CBC documentary, The gangster next door.

The gang displays its logo on t-shirts, rings, tattoos and even bricks of cocaine, as well as the gravestones of members killed in action.

The UN has made lots of money using helicopters to move cannabis across the border into the U.S. and cocaine into B.C.

Since about 2006, there has been a strong rivalry and even hatred between the UN and the Red Scorpions, Fogarty told CBC News.

Roueche has been serving a 30-year sentence in the U.S. since his arrest there in 2008 on drug trafficking charges. Conor D’Monte, 33, who police say is now the leader of the UN, has been charged with the 2009 first-degree murder of a Red Scorpions member, but remains at large.

Police suggest the fortunes of the UN, the RS and the IS are currently trending down in the west coast crime scene.

Asian gangs
The names, logos and rituals of the more notorious gangs are usually absent among the Asian gangs in B.C. Instead, they have taken advantage of globalization to establish international connections and are quite entrepreneurial, according to Fogarty.

The Canadian Asian gangs are into the drug trade and prostitution, and are especially dominant in the methamphetamine trade.

An estimated 70 per cent of Canada's meth lab production happens in B.C. and most it is for the international market, especially the U.S. and Australia. The meth trade requires much more expertise than cocaine production, for example. Precursor materials have to be imported illegally, then there's the lab work, and then distribution of the methamphetamine.

The gangs involved have extensive international networks, CISC reports.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

high-speed chase involving many motorcyclists following a Saturday shooting near the Highway 7 overpass on Interstate 44 at mile marker 150.

More information came out Monday regarding a high-speed chase involving many motorcyclists following a Saturday shooting near the Highway 7 overpass on Interstate 44 at mile marker 150.

While many details are unclear, the incident and another situation in Laclede County appear to be gang-related.

“The various motorcycle drivers stopped in Pulaski County were members of or affiliated with a number of well-known national motorcycle gangs,” said Pulaski County J.B. King in a prepared statement.

King reported that the Pulaski County 911 Center received about 20 calls, beginning at 8:16 p.m. Saturday; some of the calls described the incident as a motorcycle crash “since many of the bikes were on the ground” but “many other callers reported that approximately 20 men were fighting” and that shots had been fired; traffic on Interstate 44 was reported to be stopped by the incident.

State troopers requested backup and deputies from the sheriff’s office responded, along with police from both Waynesville and Saint Robert, but the first officers to arrive at mile marker 150 reported that the scene was clear, but that a number of motorcycles were headed east on Interstate 44.

A gunshot victim arrived at the Oasis Truck Port with a bullet wound to her leg but was stable and walking around the gas pumps; it’s not clear whether that victim, a woman who refused medical treatment and did not want to press criminal charges, had anything to do with a second gunshot victim who arrived at a Lebanon hospital; officers in Laclede County also stopped a number of motorcycle drivers.

The sheriff’s log indicates that Waynesville police set out in pursuit of seven to eight motorcyclists who refused to yield; police stopped two of the bikers at 8:27 p.m. at mile marker 153, deputies and police stopped four of the at mile marker 152.4. Two more were stopped by Waynesville police at mile marker 155.6 and officers believed at that time they had all the bikers, but 8:56 p.m. police received a report of two more bikers hiding behind the Witmor Farms building at Exit 153, then at 9 p.m. reported they were headed toward Waynesville on Highway 17. One biker was stopped by deputies at 9:01 p.m. but the other continued and was stopped seven minutes later by a different deputy.

St. Robert dispatchers monitored the incident, and while they weren’t initially asked to respond they set up a blocking location at Exit 161 at 8:28 p.m. About a minute later, St. Robert officers were asked for help and responded with three officers, with all officers returning to the limits by 10:29 p.m. St. Robert police logs include the notation that “there is a biker gathering at OB’s,” which is inside the St. Robert city limits.

Two deputies parked at the Roadhouse restaurant at 9:48 p.m. “watching for vehicles,” according to sheriff’s logs, but the logs do not indicate that those two deputies made contact with more motorcyclists.

Waynesville police recovered numerous guns during the incident. Not all of those stopped were connected to the altercation at Exit 150; at 10:08 p.m., Waynesville police stopped one motorcyclist who “was originally seen on Highway 17 South and looked suspicious due to circumstances,” but eventually determined he was a soldier from Fort Leonard Wood and took no further action.

Speeds during the motorcycle pursuit reached 80 to 90 mph but once the bikers stopped they did not put up additional resistance, police said. Some arrests were made by deputies or by city police and numerous weapons were found with some of the drivers having their licenses revoked, but state troopers eventually told local authorities to release most of those who had been arrested.

An additional incident began at 9:24 p.m. when a local towing company arrived to take possession of some of the motorcycles. At 9:41 p.m., the tow company took possession of the vehicle, but at 9:49 p.m. the tow driver reported that the tow truck “was being followed by several subjects.” Rather than driving to the tow company lot, the tow driver brought the vehicle to the sheriff’s department; deputies stored the motorcycle in the sheriff’s department with directions that it “is to be released only to a valid driver with a valid motorcycle endorsement.” The tow company informed the sheriff’s department that “they do not want a bill nor do they want any part of this motorcycle.”

16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of a man attacked during the London riots.

Richard Bowes, 68, died on Thursday after being assaulted during the disturbances in Ealing, west London, last Monday.

The CPS announced last night it had authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge a 16-year-old boy with murder.

The teenager, who will appear at Croydon Youth Court today, is also charged with violent disorder and four separate burglaries of commercial premises.

The development came as ministers prepared to flesh out their response to the riots today, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying that those responsible would be forced to help clean up the areas they have damaged and "look their victims in the eye".

Rioters who are not sent to jail for their parts in last week's violence and looting will be set to work in the streets affected.

The initiative is designed to force the perpetrators to face the consequences of their actions and prevent first-time offenders getting sucked into a cycle of crime.

The Ministry of Justice will be instructing probation officers to recommend Community Payback sentences - to be served in riot-hit areas - in non-custodial cases.

There will also be a drive to bring offenders face-to-face with victims who have had their lives turned upside down by the disturbances.

Announcing the move in a speech today, Mr Clegg will say he wants "punishment that sticks" so the rioters "change their ways".

"Victims of crime are only truly protected if punishment leads to criminals not committing crime again. Criminals must be punished and then made to change their ways," he will say.

"That's why those people who behaved so despicably last week should have to look their victims in the eye."

Home Secretary Theresa May will say that police forces need clearer guidance on how to tackle riots.

She is writing to Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, saying that forces should be given clearer guidance on issues including tactics, pre-emptive action and arrest policy.

Mrs May is expected to clash with senior officers, however, as she rejects calls to reconsider the Government's 20% cuts to police budgets in the wake of the riots.

Instead, she will say the disturbances of the past 10 days show that the reforms are more urgent than ever.

Today's initiatives from Mr Clegg and Mrs May come after Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday declared "all-out war" on gangs and promised to stamp out criminal groups.

Mr Cameron said mending a "broken society" was at the top of his priority list, and coalition ministers would be reviewing all relevant policies, ranging from education to health and safety rules.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Government of offering "knee-jerk" solutions and warned ministers against undermining senior police officers.

Scotland Yard said last night the number of people charged in relation to rioting and looting in London had reached 940.

The total number of arrests in the capital swelled over the weekend, reaching 1,635.

The Ministry of Justice said there had been 1,179 court appearances nationwide - the majority relating to burglary, theft and handling, and violence and violent disorder.

Of those, 65% had been remanded into custody.

Courts in London opened their doors on a Sunday for the first time as the justice system in England struggled to deal with people accused of involvement in last week's riots.

A procession of people – including a woman who works with children with learning difficulties, an 18-year-old on bail over a gang murder and a lifeguard – appeared at Westminster and Camberwell magistrates courts

The decision to hold the emergency sessions came as Scotland Yard revealed it had arrested 1,457 people – including 305 aged under 18 – in connection with the disturbances, with 810 charged.

A series of delays, missing files and absent defendants and lawyers brought low-level chaos to the proceedings. At one point, district judge Deborah Wright, sitting in court one at Westminster, expressed her frustration: "It is now one-and-a-half hours into sitting time and we have done nothing in this court."

Next door, district judge Susan Williamson, similarly exasperated by the delays, said: "I don't know how we have ended up in this rather parlous state."

The two courts were due to hear 79 cases. Several defendants had been dealt with by late afternoon.

A 15-year-old from Walthamstow, north-east London appeared with his stepfather after the court heard that his mother was too angered by his actions to attend. The court heard he had been at a bus stop with a friend in the early hours when they saw a gang of youths run past and enter the Costco store in Chingford. east London. Seeing the shop had been broken into, the teenager and his friend went inside.

The boy, who is awaiting his GCSE results and plans to start sixth-form college, took an MP4 docking station, which he dropped as he was leaving the building. He was arrested after his friend's foster mother reported her concerns to a social worker and police were contacted.

Williamson asked: "What I want to know is, what is a 15-year-old doing out and about at one in the morning? You need to go away and think very carefully about your behaviour in the future if you don't want to find yourself in this situation again."

The teenager admitted burglary and was given a nine-month referral order, which Williamson said was "one last chance".

Another 15-year-old boy admitted breaking into Zee & Co, a fashion retailer in Bethnal Green, east London, three times on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

The magistrate asked the boy's mother, who was in court, what she thought he was doing at 3am, the last time he went into the store. She answered: "He was at home at 3am." "Well, he clearly wasn't because he has pleaded guilty to two offences," said Wright.

The teenager, was bailed to appear at Thames magistrates court on 30 August. Wright said: "Mum needs to be looked at with a view to making a parenting order, bearing in mind at 3am she didn't know where her son was."

Tracy O'Leary, 35, was jailed for 16 weeks for receiving stolen goods. O'Leary, who works as a carer at the Beatrice Tate school for children with severe learning difficulties, was arrested when detectives discovered a bag of looted clothes – including Ralph Lauren hooded tops and Paul Smith socks – hidden in her flat.

She said was walking home through a park after visiting her mother on Tuesday evening when she saw a gang drop a bag under a bush, and took it home. Judge Williamson said: "It is outright greed. We are not talking about necessary items here, these are designer goods – something for nothing … What a pity you didn't think first. You are a mother of children, someone who works with children with learning difficulties, 35 years of age – you jolly well ought to have known better."

Shane Johnson, 20, from Islington, north London, who admitted attacking police vehicles and shops during the riots in Hackney on Monday, was remanded in custody to appear for sentencing at Wood Green crown court, north London, on 22 August.

The court heard he had attacked police cars and a Ladbrokes betting shop with "wooden poles" during the riots. Judge Wright said his actions had "inflamed an already volatile situation".

In court one, Thomas Miller, 20, from Wapping, east London, denied taking £700 worth of clothing from Zee & Co in Bethnal Green. Miller, a lifeguard, is due to appear at Highbury Corner magistrates court on 26 September.

Later, an 18-year-old described as a talented footballer, already on bail over a gang murder, was accused of smashing his way into a Carphone Warehouse shop in Brixton, south London, with a gang of youths. He will next appear on 22 August at Highbury Corner.

Police stumble across drugs haul in raid

Detectives searching for stolen goods looted in last week's riots stumbled across drugs worth £80,000, Scotland Yard said.

Officers carrying out a search of a flat on the Kipling estate in Bermondsey, south London, which they thought had links to the unrest, found large amounts of ecstasy, cannabis, crystal meth and more than a kilogram of cocaine.

A CS gas canister and £34,000 in cash were also seized, while nine PlayStation 3 consoles and 40 other computer consoles were discovered in a nearby lock-up linked to the premises. Police have charged a 45-year-old man with possession with intent to supply class-A drugs, money laundering and possessing a prohibited weapon.

Hundreds of officers are scouring CCTV footage of the riots trying to identify those involved. Magistrates have been sitting over the weekend so they can grant search applications to help the police operation.

Teenagers arrested after looted goods recovered

Four properties in south London are among the latest to be raided by police investigating the looting that hit the capital last week.

The raids were carried out in Brixton and officers arrested two 15-year-old boys and a 17-year-old male on suspicion of violent disorder, burglary and handling stolen goods.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said police had recovered clothing from JD Sports and H&M. The items are believed to have been taken during looting in Brixton on 8 August when hundreds of people attacked several shops on the high street, before moving on to a Currys superstore.

Detective Inspector Spencer Barnett said: "If you know who was out there on the night or where any stolen property is, I would urge you to call the police so that we can take action. We want to reassure residents of London we will bring these offenders to justice and restore property to its rightful owners."

Monday, 15 August 2011

operation targeted the 1200 Bloc Crips gang, which has been involved in drug dealing and other crimes in the city for more than 50 years

Twenty members and associates of a notorious Riverside street gang were arrested Wednesday by more than 200 law enforcement officers as part of a multi-agency investigation into violence and drug trafficking, authorities said.

The operation targeted the 1200 Bloc Crips gang, which has been involved in drug dealing and other crimes in the city for more than 50 years, authorities said.

Agents and officers from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Riverside Police Department served search and arrest warrants and conducted parole searches at more than 40 locations in and around Riverside. Increased illegal activity by the gang in the last year prompted the six-month investigation that led to the arrests, authorities said.

The operation was a message to street gangs members that "continue to perpetuate a regrettable and dangerous cycle of narcotics sales, murder and retaliation," John A. Torres, special agent in charge of the ATF office in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

Authorities said the reputed gang members and their associates were arrested on suspicion of state and federal firearms violations and on parole violations.

Power struggle hits Mexican prison gang

Founded in the state's prison system, "La Eme" — Spanish for the letter M — has controlled prisons, jails, drug sales and gang violence since the 1950s. The criminal organization took root in the state's most dangerous prisons and used that control to command Latino street gangs. By the 1970s, the Mexican Mafia's control was felt in and out of the state's prisons — and Peter "Sana" Ojeda had been there nearly since the beginning.

Ojeda was serving time in federal custody on a 2005 racketeering charge when, according to law enforcement officials, Moreno became a "made" member. Although Ojeda was hundreds of miles away, investigators said he kept a grip on Orange County gangs and drug sales. If Moreno wanted to control crime in the county, he'd have to take it away from Ojeda.

In July, officials unsealed a federal indictment against Moreno and Ojeda, as well as 97 of their associates in connection with racketeering charges. The Orange County Register reviewed court documents and interviewed law-enforcement officials with the Santa Ana Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the FBI and the California Department of Corrections to piece together a look at the inner workings of the secretive criminal web known as the Mexican Mafia. Some of the sources work undercover and, for safety concerns, asked to remain anonymous.

While elder members hold sway over the criminal web, newer members are eager to stake a claim. What was once an organization shrouded in secrecy, authorities said, is now broadcasted by younger recruits with large tattoos that leave no doubt about their affiliation.

In 2007, Armando "Mando" Moreno joined the Mexican Mafia.

Born in 1971, Moreno had an early introduction to crime. He was raised with two younger brothers and had a history of drug use and gang membership by age 18. He was a parolee who had done time for burglary, escape and possession of a handgun, according to a Garden Grove police report.

By 2009, Moreno had been a Mexican Mafia member for two years and was eager to flex his muscles.

Full-scale riot
For decades, Latino inmates associated with the Mexican Mafia have considered black inmates in state prisons the enemy. Racial tensions were high when Moreno walked into Chino State Prison on July 17, 2009, after he was picked up for possession of a hypodermic needle. As a member of La Eme, he held authority over gangs inside the prison. Moreno was released the morning of Aug. 8, 2009.

When darkness fell that night, Chino prison was burning.

Investigators believe Moreno gave a "green light" on black prisoners in retaliation for an attack on Latino inmates.

According to a prison investigation, the then-38-year-old Mexican Mafia member had ordered Latino inmates to attack black prisoners. The first assault started in Mariposa dormitory and — in an ordered chaos — spread into a racially fueled riot that lasted two days. According to reports, about 200 inmates were injured, including 55 hospitalized with stab wounds, cuts and head injuries. Fifty of the injured were black.

"Moreno sanctioned and provided detailed instructions on the strategic assault of the black inmate population," the report reads.

The rioters tore up multiple housing units, causing an estimated $5.2 million in damages. Moreno was charged with a rule violation of conspiracy to commit attempted murder, even though he was out of the prison when the mayhem began.

"That shows his power, by him being able to control that, organize that, and then kick it off," said an official with the Orange County Sheriff's Department who handles high-power inmates. "It was supposed to kick off at other facilities also, but we were able to squash it before it did."

A 'hard candy' list
Investigators close to the investigation said Moreno was not willing to wait his turn.

By the end of August 2009, according to the indictment, Moreno sent out a "hard candy" hit list ordering his supporters to kill anyone who supported Ojeda.

"That's part of your greed and your alpha male," said an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. "They want the power. They want the money. They want the respect."

Authorities said Moreno made a quick rise through the Mexican Mafia, and the up-and-coming gangster was seen as a top moneymaker with ties to narcotics suppliers, Armenian organized crime figures and identity-theft rings.

Ojeda appears to have attempted to distance himself from Moreno. By Oct. 24, Ojeda sent a letter to an associate saying that Moreno could not be trusted and was not authorized to conduct business on his behalf.

According to the federal indictment, in the summer of 2009, Moreno ordered the assault and killing of Ojeda supporters incarcerated in Theo Lacy Facility in Orange. Investigators seized numerous "kites," or coded messages, detailing who was to be killed or beaten.

Latino street gangs and inmates in Orange County were split as the former allies fought for control of county jails and streets for nearly two years.

"I feel sorry for the guys at the bottom, not knowing what the hell was going on," said one sheriff's deputy. "They were very confused because they don't know what to do."

The young upstart
The unwritten rules of the Mexican Mafia, according to law-enforcement officials, say members cannot interfere with each other's business, or politic against one another. But those rules are often broken.

"It's very political," said Leo Duarte, a gang specialist with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who has been studying the prison gang for decades. "You are always going to have some youngster that is coming up with his own ideas, and it causes problems."

Throughout summer 2009, law-enforcement officials said, Moreno and Ojeda went after each other's supporters inside Orange County jails. Assaults continued for months, yet authorities say the two men did not target one another.

According to another of the Mexican Mafia's rules, a member cannot raise a hand against another member without approval.

In January 2010, several members of Los Angeles and Orange County's Mexican Mafia met to discuss the feud, and it was understood that Orange County belonged to Ojeda, according to the federal indictment. The following month, a rumor began to spread — there was something in Moreno's past that was unforgivable.

Black associates
Moreno's criminal history included a 1991 conviction for second-degree murder stemming from a fight outside a house party in Garden Grove.

Though many Mexican Mafia members have violent pasts with homicides on their records, it was the root of the argument, and the victims, that would stain his reputation.

According to a police report of the 1990 incident, Moreno and a gang associate argued with a 25-year-old man about their gang involvement and who spent more time behind bars.

The man is said to have criticized Moreno for being a member of a predominantly black street gang. The conversation became more heated when the man, according to the police report, said: "Brown pride stays with brown pride, not a (racial slur) like you."

A fight erupted in the street and Moreno left, only to return with a 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound enforcer. Two men were stabbed to death in the fight.

One year after being sentenced, the conviction was overturned in part because the court allowed improper testimony by a gang expert.

But the trial proceedings were of little interest to the Mexican Mafia. What suddenly became relevant in 2010 was that Moreno was at one time a member of a traditionally black gang that had killed Latinos.

To complicate matters, those who were killed were members of one of the largest gangs in Orange County — the same gang where Ojeda got his start.

"That's going to put a major wrinkle in the Mexican Mafia," said a sheriff's investigator. "They are going to say, 'How the hell could this have happened?' I know we're going to see it come up. You've got almost 60 years of the mafia, and it's never happened."

On April 30, 2011, according to the indictment, authorities recorded a three-way telephone call in which Ojeda told another Mexican Mafia member to put the word out — Moreno was to be killed.

After the indictment was unsealed in July, both men were brought to Orange County to face racketeering charges.

Law-enforcement officials said all signs show that Ojeda is still in control of Orange County streets from his prison cell.

Moreno is in federal custody in Santa Ana.


Friday, 12 August 2011

CAPTURED TOP DRUG CARTEL MEMBER is known as The Castro and Jesus Serrano Compayito

CAPTURED TOP DRUG CARTEL MEMBER is known as The Castro and Jesus Serrano Compayito . Originally from Guasave, Sinaloa , began his career in the Navy of Mexico, and was trained by Guatemalans kaibiles. Oscar Osvaldo was driver of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka La Barbie, head of security for security José Gerardo Alvarez, aka El Indio; and even personal bodyguards of Arturo Beltran Leyva. now controlled the distribution of drugs in several municipalities in the State of Mexico and part of the Federal District

Young offenders who took part in the rioting and looting that blighted Britain’s streets this week are walking free from court without facing significant penalties.

Despite David Cameron’s promises that they would face “punishment”, a string of juvenile criminals have been allowed to return home with their parents.
Several of the young rioters have been pictured in national newspapers committing crimes. Nonetheless, they retain the court’s protection of legal anonymity.
The sentences being handed down have dismayed police and MPs after the Prime Minister’s promise that rioters would “pay for what they have done”.
Further undermining Mr Cameron’s tough rhetoric, Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, backed the courts. He rejected the Prime Minister’s call for new sentencing rules.
According to the Metropolitan Police, roughly half of the 240 people who have appeared in court so far charged with being involved in the London riots are under the age of 18.


UK riots: in courtrooms across country, there was little room for leniency

'I'm OK now. I was gibbering at 8am." It was 1.30pm at a busy cafe outside Westminster magistrates court, and a harried solicitor in her 50s had grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water to keep her going. She had been working since 2am. She had four clients appearing in court that day, she said, though one had yet to appear before a judge – when he arrived at the court in an armoured van, security guards had been unable to bring him inside as every cell was full.

"Anyone for court six who requires a duty solicitor?" shouted one exhausted-looking lawyer to the throng of defendants, family members, court officials and journalists waiting outside courts five and six, which for three days have been hearing cases related to the riots, almost without a break. "Going once ... going twice ..." Around 80 cases had been heard since the night before, one court usher estimated; official figures, like accurate court lists of those appearing for preliminary hearings, were for the time being, unavailable.

It was a day of similar frenzied activity in magistrates courts across the country, as the long riot cleanup entered its judicial phase. More than 460 people have been charged in London alone in relation to the riots from 1,009 arrests, the Metropolitan police said; nationally more than 1,500 have been arrested. There are certain to be more, however. Scotland Yard detectives are dealing with 550 different crime scenes, of which 140 are still cordoned off; 127 people were arrested in London overnight on Wednesday. Roughly half of those who appeared in court in London were under 18, the Met said.

Thursday saw a relentless conveyer-belt of charges, some of them shocking in their alleged violence and brutality, others strikingly banal. Youssuf Addow, 25, charged with burglary of Phones 4 U in Putney, south-west London, carrying "a mallet, a weight and umbrellas". Peter Morgan, 20, accused of stealing "four cans of spray paint, to the value of £28.92" from B&Q in Hornchurch, Essex. Kaine Thorpe, 24, appearing on a charge of handling stolen goods, "namely Footlocker trainers and a mobile phone".

Again and again, the judges repeated the refrain "jurisdiction is declined". They considered the maximum powers of sentencing available to magistrates – six months in prison, or a £5,000 fine – to be insufficient, and so referred the case to the crown courts, where the cases will be heard before a jury. Very few of the accused were granted bail. At least one solicitor outside court six expressed concern at some of the courts' decisions, on a day when David Cameron had vowed that anyone charged with rioting should be remanded in custody and anyone convicted should expect to go to jail.

Rajinder Claire, who was representing several alleged rioters, said defendants who would normally be released on bail were being routinely remanded in custody. "The decisions seem to be being taken in a routine manner without enough consideration for the distinct factors of each case," he told reporters, "It certainly seems to me that it is being motivated by political pressure."

Certainly there were indications, in the comparatively small number of cases that reached sentencing, that magistrates across the country were in little mood for leniency.

In Manchester, Eoin Flanagan, 18, pleaded guilty to theft after he was arrested in Oxford Road with two jumpers and two pieces of musical equipment; he was jailed for eight months.

At Camberwell Green magistrates, Nicholas Robinson, 23, an electrical engineering student with no previous convictions, was jailed for the maximum permitted six months after pleading guilty to stealing bottles of water worth £3.50 from Lidl in Brixton. He had been walking back from his girlfriend's house in the early hours of Monday morning when he saw the store being looted, his lawyer said, and had taken the opportunity to go in and help himself to a case of water because he was thirsty. He was caught up in the moment, and was ashamed of his actions, his defence said.

But the prosecution told judge Alan Baldwin: "This defendant has contributed through his action to criminal activities to the atmosphere of chaos and sheer lawlessness." There were gasps from the public gallery as his sentence was delivered.

The mother of one convicted looter told the Guardian her son – who got 16 weeks for using "threatening or abusive language or behaviour" – had got a much harsher sentence because of the political climate. "If this wasn't the riot he wouldn't even have got a caution," she said. "It's all because of the riots."

Her son Ricky Gemmell had finished his shift at a Manchester call centre on Tuesday evening and gone home to change out of his suit before heading to the city centre; his family say to visit his girlfriend, with no intention of getting involved in trouble. He pleaded guilty, however, to telling officers during the riot: "I'd smash you if you took your uniform off" before being pinned to the ground and arrested. He became the first rioter to be jailed at a Manchester magistrates court session that began on Wednesday morning and ran late into the night.

At his family home in Gorton, south of the city centre, – a neighbourhood of redbrick terraces where episodes of Shameless were filmed – there was some remorse at his behaviour. But his family's main emotion was dismay at his wasted opportunity, mixed with indignation that, in their view, he had been made an example of. Gemmell had been a prefect at school and was an army cadet. He had applied to join the armed forces earlier this year.

One of twin boys – his brother Ryan is an army cadet – he had left the local secondary school, Cedar Mount High, with six GCSE passes. He had started a vocational public services course – aimed at students planning a career in the uniformed services – at a further education college, but dropped out after a year.

In an area where the male unemployment rate is 11.6%, he had worked in shops, then got a job in a call centre for a digital marketing consultancy. Gemmell had no previous convictions, though he was cautioned for theft two weeks ago.

His mother, who was made redundant earlier this year from a job with the council, said: "You do have a bit of trouble with gangs. He has never been involved with any of it. I've had a copper say to me, he's so chuffed that my lads have never been in trouble. He's not 'known by the police' whatsoever.

"He hasn't hit anyone. He hasn't robbed anything. He was verbally abusive. He knows – you run your mouth, there's a consequence. But the consequence they gave him, it's disgusting."

District judge Khalid Qureshi, however, had not been impressed, calling the riots "some of the worst behaviour this country has ever seen, for no reason whatsoever – and he's part of it".

As day turned to night on Wednesday, a parade of alleged rioters continued to be led into Manchester's courtrooms, among them was a woman who already had 96 previous convictions for theft. Linda Boyd, 31, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol, cigarettes and mobile phone accessories looted during riots in Manchester. She had found an orange bin liner filled with the stolen goods – "a bagful of loot", in the words of the district judge – in Manchester city centre, the court heard, and had begun dragging it away, intending to share it with friends. She will be sentenced at Manchester crown court on 16 August.

Also appearing was a 17-year-old boy who pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods – two bottles of gin. The boy, a skinny youth with shaved blond hair, was found with the alcohol as he was cycling away from Manchester city centre in the early hours of Wednesday, the prosecution said. His case was adjourned. The judge asked: "Is a parent likely to attend on that occasion?" "We will be in touch," was the best a member of the youth offending team could offer.

Next up was Michael Gillespie Doyle, aged 18, who was accused of entering a Sainsbury's with intent to steal. He mumbled his plea and had to be prompted by the clerk – "is that guilty?" Doyle replied: "Yeah, yeah." His case was adjourned for sentence at crown court.

Back at Westminster magistrates CPS prosecutors, some of whom had already worked two night shifts in a row, were admitting they had never experienced work patterns such as these in their careers. Magistrates have taken have turn to hear cases overnight as the suspected rioters continue to file through the courts.

"Chaos reigns downstairs," a solicitor offered apologetically to district judge Daphne Wickham, as court six waited for the first of 16 defendants to be brought in on a charge of violent disorder in St John's Wood, north-west London, early on Wednesday morning. "It certainly does," she said drily. One by one, the youths, aged between 16 and 21, were brought into the dock, accused of being among a group of up to 50 hooded and masked men who smashed the windows of a cafe, while diners sat outside, some carrying weapons and threatening to set the premises alight with towels soaked in lighter fluid. One diner was robbed of £1,200 in cash.

One of the accused was a 16-year-old youth with eight previous convictions; another, 21-year-old Marouane Rouhi, is a second-year law student, the judge was told, who vehemently denied knowing any of the others or having been involved. Like his co-accused, he was denied bail.

They kept coming, although their stories varied widely. David O'Neill, a 22-year-old chef, lobbed a brick at a police community support officer in Sutton, Surrey. As rioters swept England on Tuesday night, the court heard, O'Neill allegedly had a scarf wrapped around his head and threw a brick at the volunteer officer as he and a colleague approached.

The qualified chef, who had been planning to apply for a loan to set up his own restaurant, did not enter a plea to charges of affray and racially aggravated behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress. He was one of the few to be released on bail on the condition that he lives at home, wears an electronic tag, observes a curfew, reports daily to his local police station and does not wear a scarf or headgear.

Natasha Reid, a university graduate who plans a career in social work, pleaded guilty to theft after handing herself in to police on Wednesday. Reid, from Enfield, had been in McDonald's on Sunday night when she saw looters ransacking the area and decided to join in. She stole a television worth £269.99 from Comet but, said her defence, had been racked with guilt and unable to sleep since. She was bailed to return for sentencing on 1 September.

Another to hand herself in – although she did not enter a plea – had been a 17-year-old with ambitions to be a dance teacher, who went to police after seeing a photograph of herself looting an electrical shop in Croydon. CCTV caught a group of youths, some masked or wearing hoodies, forcing open the shutters before looting the Richer Sounds shop in Croydon late on 8 August, and allegedly showed her ducking under the broken shutter and going inside before leaving with a flat screen TV in a box. According to prosecutors, she then returned empty-handed a few minutes later and stole another flat screen TV. The store lost £190,000 worth of property and £15,000 worth of damage was done.

Her solicitior told the court she had been doing ballet since she was a young child and wanted to make a career of it. She is estranged from her mother. The televisions have not been found.


Monday, 1 August 2011

'2½ Bandits' Gang Wanted In 7 Bank Robberies

Authorities are seeking the public's help in identifying the "Two and a Half Bandits" gang, which is believed to be responsible for seven bank robberies in the metro Denver area.
The gang got the "Two and a Half Bandits" nickname because the bank robbers are two men and a tiny woman. A fourth suspect is a man who has acted as the getaway driver.
Wells Fargo bank is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the robbers.

The Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of the FBI and local police, believes the gang is responsible for a string of bank robberies that have occurred over the past five months in Aurora, Denver and Westminster, said Aurora police spokesman Bob Friel.
The three robbers who enter the banks include a black woman who is 5 feet tall and two black men who are both about 5 feet 8 inches tall.
A fourth robber, who has acted as the getaway driver, is described as a black man, about 40 years old, who has a short Afro and wears eye glasses.
If anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force at 3030629-7171. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.
The gang is suspected in the following robberies:
March 3. Liberty Savings Bank, located at 9660 E. Alameda Ave., Denver.
April 8. U.S. Bank, located at 3454 W. 72nd Ave., Westminster.
April 18. 1st Bank, located at 5105 Chambers Rd., Denver.
April 19. TCF Bank, located at 1710 S. Havana St., Aurora.
May 4. Wells Fargo Bank, located at 999 S. Sable Blvd., Aurora.
July 16. Bank of the West, located at 1389 S. Havana St., Aurora.
July 21. Wells Fargo Bank, located at 999 S. Sable Blvd., Aurora.


Eleven members of a Harlem gang - most of them from Jamaica - were busted

They sold pot out of a Harlem furniture store, turned the street outside into a de facto social club for customers, barbecued and stashing drugs in on nearby stoops and driveways.

Eleven members of a Harlem gang - most of them from Jamaica - were busted Thursday, including accused ring-leader, Frank McTaggart, 44, for turning the city block into a drug market place, officials said.

"During the evenings they would take the furniture outside, they would entertain customers and they would sell drugs," Assistant District Attorney Jordan Arnold told a Manhattan judge. "Basically they took over the block."

The Rally Furniture store, at West 132nd St., between Lenox and 7th Ave., was their alleged headquarters - but as the well-organized crew that operated for years threw rollicking open-air pot parties late into the night, they sold the drug at a local McDonalds and Associated Supermarket so as not to attract police notice, officials said.

They did attract the attention of neighbors. Fed up with finding stashes of pot in their mailboxes on their car tires, in seemingly discarded paper bags, newspapers and containers strewn on the street and having their kids stumble over the remains of their partying on the way to school, they complained to prosecutors and cops.

"The people on the block suspected stuff," said Mary Abalorio,33, the owner of Seven Grain Health Food around the corner. "Its been closed for six months, but there were always people outside, so you know there was something wrong. I'm still scared."

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance praised the residents who came forward.

"Another city block is being reclaimed from drug dealers, thanks in large part to local residents who came forward to report suspicious activity," Vance said.

Officials said the den operated for years, but that it began to unravel as cops stashed a camera on the block to record their activities and got wiretaps.

Cops, working with the DA's Violent Criminal Enterprise Unit, discovered that the crew was selling not just personal quantities of pot, but also wholesale amounts of marijuana - and began arresting its alleged members.

Among them were McTaggart, who sources said is partially blind and goes by the alias "Ray Charles," Donavan Lewis, 36, and David Dawson, 39, who appeared in court wearing a T-shirt that reads "Weed" Breakfast of Champions."

During his arraignment, McTaggart, a father of eight, pleaded not guilty. The judge ordered him held without bail. He faces up to four years in prison.

McTaggart, who has a federal deportation order, works at a stationary store owned by Rallyford Simpson, another member of the alleged ring, according to his lawyer.

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