Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Griselda Blanco, gunned down in Medellin, Colombia Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown

Florida Department of Corrections

Griselda Blanco in 2004.

The convicted Colombian drug smuggler known as the “Godmother of Cocaine,” Griselda Blanco, 69, was gunned down by a motorcycle-riding assassin in Medellin, Colombian national police confirmed late Monday, according to the Miami Herald.

Blanco spent nearly 20 years in prison in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders before being deported to Colombia in 2004, the Herald reported.

Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown, and one shot her twice in the head, the Herald reported, citing a report in El Colombiano newspaper.

Family members said Blanco had cut her ties to organized crime after returning to her country, the BBC reported. Police said they were investigating the motive.

Blanco was one of the first to engage in large-scale smuggling of cocaine into the United States from Colombia and set up many of the routes used by the Medellin cartel after she was sentenced in the United States in 1985, the BBC reported.

Investigators told the Herald that they estimate conservatively that Blanco was behind about 40 slayings. She was convicted in connection with three murders: Arranging the killing of two South Miami drug dealers who had not paid for a delivery, and ordering the assassination of a former enforcer for her organization, an operation that resulted in the death of the target’s 2-year-old son, the Herald reported.

Three of Blanco’s husbands were killed in violence related to drugs, the Herald reported, and one of her sons was named Michael Corleone, a reference to “The Godfather” movies.

Blanco is credited with originating motorcycle assassinations, the Herald reported.

“This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword,” filmmaker Billy Corben, who with Alfred Spellman made two “Cocaine Cowboys” documentaries, told the Herald. “Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin.”

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989.

It was pretty much all the money Bozena Oracz had after a working life as an accountant: the equivalent of $15,000. She placed it in a fund investing in gold, with the hope of paying for her daughter's studies and getting treatment for a bad knee.

Those dreams were dashed when she discovered she had fallen victim to an elaborate fraud scheme that has left thousands of Poles, many of them elderly, facing financial ruin.

The so-called Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989. The extent of wrongdoing is still murky, but it seems to have some elements of a pyramid scheme, meaning the financial institutionused funds from new clients to pay off older clients rather than investing them.

Consumed with anger and desperation, 58-year-old Oracz traveled last week from a small town near Warsaw to a law firm in the capital to consider whether, after losing 50,000 zlotys, she should risk another 3,000 zlotys ($920; €730) on the fee to join a class-action lawsuit seeking to recover some of the losses.

"This was a lot of money to me — it was my savings," Oracz said, fighting back tears. Now retired and living on a small pension, she sees no way of building another nest egg. "My pension barely covers my needs," she said.

The affair has raised questions about the effectiveness of Poland's justice system and government because authorities failed to act against the scheme despite red flags from regulators and the criminal record of its young owner. Scrutiny has also focused on the prime minister due to business dealings his son had with those running the scheme. The scandal has even touched democracy icon Lech Walesa, who fears it could tarnish his good name.

Prosecutors say investors lost about 163 million zlotys ($50 million; €40 million), a number that has been mounting as more and more victims come forward. Any law suits could take care years to go through the courts, with no guarantee of their outcome.

"People are desperate," said Pawel Borowski, a lawyer preparing the class-action suit that Oracz is considering joining. "In most cases the clients lost life savings or sold family properties to make investments."

The financial institution, Amber Gold, promised guaranteed returns of 10 to 14 percent a year for what it claimed were investments in gold. Many of its clients were older Poles who grew up under communism and lacked the savvy to question how a financial firm could guarantee such a high return on a commodity whose value fluctuates on the international market. The promised returns compared well to the 3 to 5 percent interest offered by banks on savings accounts — earnings essentially wiped out by the country's 4 percent inflation rate.

"These were people with a low level of financial education," said Piotr Bujak, the chief economist for Poland at Nordea Markets. "They think it's still like in the old times, where everything was guaranteed by the state. They underestimated the risk."

Amber Gold launched in 2009, opening branches in city centers alongside respected banks, with white leather sofas and other sleek touches that conveyed sophistication and respectability. It bombarded Poles with convincing advertisements. Some early investors got out with their expected gains, adding to the fund's credibility.

The company, based in Gdansk, capitalized on gold's allure while playing on people's anxieties in unpredictable financial times. "We are dealing with a loss of confidence in the entire financial system and an urgent need for safe investments," one ad said. "The environment for gold is perfect."

Amber Gold drew in 50,000 investors over its three years of operation, though the company's founder, Marcin Plichta, said there were only about 7,000 at the time of liquidation.

Soon after Amber Gold began operations, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority put it on a "black list" of institutions that operate like banks without authorization. There are 17 other such black-listed institutions in operation, but the regulators lack the authority to shut them down. This has sparked a debate in the government and news media about whether courts should be more aggressive in intervening.

According to prosecutors, the company did use some of its money to invest in at least one legitimate business: It was the main investor in budget airline OLT Express. It was this investment that brought Amber Gold down — when the airline filed for bankruptcy, Amber Gold entered liquidation and its scheme of investments unraveled. Its bank accounts were blocked and it was unable to return the money of thousands of its customers.

Plichta was charged this month with six counts of criminal misconduct.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk's center-right government went into damage-control mode when it emerged that the leader's son, Michal Tusk, had done PR work for the airline. Tusk said he had warned his son against doing business with Plichta but that ultimately he son makes his own decisions.

Leszek Miller, the head of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance, asked how Tusk could warn his son against involvement in the airline but not warn the thousands of Poles who invested in the fund. Miller has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal.

Public discontent is also centering on the justice system because Plichta, 28, has past convictions for fraud, and many Poles are asking why authorities — aware of his criminal record — didn't stop him sooner. Born Marcin Stefanski, he took his wife's last name to distance himself from his past crimes.

The country's top prosecutor, Andrzej Seremet, admitted Monday that prosecutors were negligent in failing to heed multiple warnings since 2009 about Amber Gold from the financial supervisory body. He announced personnel changes in the office he blamed for mistakes.

The affair also has an unlikely connection to the Solidarity leader and former president, Lech Walesa, because an Oscar-winning director, Andrzej Wajda, was relying on money from Amber Gold to produce a film about Walesa's struggle in the 1980s.

Walesa came out publicly to make clear he is not involved in any way, saying he doesn't want his name "dirtied."

Many of the unlucky investors are not only furious but wracked by shame and guilt.

Engineer Andrzej Malinowski, 61, put three months of salary — 25,000 zlotys ($7,660; €6,100) — into Amber Gold. He made the investment without consulting with his wife, sensing that there was some risk and that she would not have agreed.

Now he is so shaken and embarrassed that he doesn't want to talk about it, leaving his wife, Danuta Malinowska, to help unravel the mess.

"He saw that gold was going higher and higher so he believed that maybe it would be a good deal," Malinowska said. "Now he has so much guilt that I am trying to help — contacting the lawyer, filling in the forms, writing to the prosecutors. But the justice system is very ineffective. I don't believe we will be getting any of this money back."

Monday, 27 August 2012

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales new leader is emerging at the head of one of Mexico's most feared drug cartels.

  • Mexico Drug War Zetas_Plan.jpg

    This undated image taken from the Mexican Attorney General's Office rewards program website on Aug. 23, 2012, shows the alleged leader of Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias âZ-40.â (AP Photo/Mexican Attorney General's Office website)

Mexico's Violent Zetas Cartel Sees New Leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales A split in the leadership of Mexico's violent Zetas cartel has led to the rise of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a man so feared that one rival has called for a grand alliance to confront a gang chief blamed for a new round of bloodshed in the country's once relatively tranquil central states.

Trevino, a former cartel enforcer who apparently has seized leadership of the gang from Zetas founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, is described by lawmen and competing drug capos as a brutal assassin who favors getting rid of foes by stuffing them into oil drums, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire, a practice known as a "guiso," or "cook-out".

Law enforcement officials confirm that Trevino appears to have taken effective control of the Zetas, the hemisphere's most violent criminal organization, which has been blamed for a large share of the tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico's war on drugs, though other gangs too have repeatedly committed mass slayings.

"There was a lot of talk that he was pushing really hard on Lazcano Lazcano and was basically taking over the Zetas, because he had the personality, he was the guy who was out there basically fighting in the streets with the troops," said Jere Miles, a Zetas expert and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who was posted in Mexico until last year.

"Lazcano Lazcano, at the beginning he was kind of happy just to sit back and let Trevino do this, but I don't think he understood how that works in the criminal underworld," Miles said. "When you allow someone to take that much power, and get out in front like that, pretty soon the people start paying loyalty to him and they quit paying to Lazcano."

The rise has so alarmed at least one gang chieftain that he has called for gangs, drug cartels, civic groups and even the government to form a united front to fight Trevino Morales, known as "Z-40," whom he blamed for most of Mexico's violence.

"Let's unite and form a common front against the Zetas, and particularly against Z-40, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, because this person with his unbridled ambition has caused so much terror and confusion in our country," said a man identified as Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, in a viedo posted Tuesday on the internet.

A Mexican law enforcement official who wasn't authorized to speak on the record said the video appeared to be genuine,

"He is the main cause of everything that is happening in Mexico, the robberies, kidnappings, extortion," Gomez is heard saying on the tape. "We are inviting all the groups ... everyone to form a common front to attack Z-40 and put an end to him."

Trevino Morales has a fearsome reputation. "If you get called to a meeting with him, you're not going to come out of that meeting," said a U.S. law-enforcement official in Mexico City, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

In two years since Zetas split with their former allies in the Gulf cartel — a split in which Trevino reported played a central role — the gang has become one of Mexico's two main cartels, and is battling the rival Sinaloa cartel.

Now the Zetas' internal disputes have added to the violence of the conflict between gangs. Internal feuds spilled out into pitched battles in the normally quiet north-central state of San Luis Potosi in mid-August, when police found a van stuffed with 14 executed bodies.

San Luis Potosi state Attorney General Miguel Angel Garcia Covarrubias told local media that a 15th man who apparently survived the massacre told investigators that both the killers and the victims were Zetas. "It was a rivalry with the same organized crime group," Garcia Covarrubias said.

The leadership dispute also may have opened the door to lesser regional figures in the Zetas gang to step forward and rebel, analysts and officials said.

Analysts say that a local Zetas leader in the neighboring state of Zacatecas, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, "The Taliban," was apparently trying to challenge Trevino Morales' leadership grab, and that the 14 bullet-ridden bodies left in the van were The Taliban's men, left there as a visible warning by Trevino Morales' underlings.

The Taliban's territory, Zacatecas, appears to have been a hot spot in Trevino's dispute with Lazcano. It was in Zacatecas that a professionally printed banner was hung in a city park, accusing Lazcano of betraying fellow Zetas and turning them in to the police.

Trevino began his career as a teenage gofer for the Los Tejas gang, which controlled most crime in his hometown of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from the city of Laredo, Texas, officials say.

Around 2005, Trevino Morales was promoted to boss of the Nuevo Laredo territory, or "plaza" and given responsibility for fighting off the Sinaloa cartel's attempt to seize control of its drug-smuggling routes. He orchestrated a series of killings on the U.S. side of the border, several by a group of young U.S. citizens who gunned down their victims on the streets of the American city. American officials believe the hit men also carried out an unknown number of killings on the Mexican side of the border, the U.S. official said.

Trevino Morales is on Mexico's most-wanted list, with a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.28 million) offered for information leading to his capture.

Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said that the Zetas are inherently an unstable cartel with an already huge capacity for violence, and the possibility of more if they begin fighting internal disputes. "I think the Zetas are having problems, and there is no central command," he said.

The Zetas have been steadily expanding their influence and reaching into Central America in recent years, constructing a route for trafficking drugs that offloads Colombian cocaine in Honduras, ships it overland along Mexico's Gulf Coast and runs into over the border through Trevino Morales' old stomping grounds.

Samuel Logan, managing director of the security analysis firm Southern Pulse, notes that "personality-wise they (Trevino Morales and Lazcano) couldn't be more different," and believes the two may want to take the cartel in different directions. The stakes in who wins the dispute could be large for Mexico; Lazcano is believed to be more steady, more of a survivor who might have an interest in preserving the cartel as a stable organization.

"Lazcano may be someone who would take the Zetas in a direction where they'd become less of a thorn in the side for the new political administration," Logan said in reference to Enrique Pena Nieto, who is expected to take office as president on Dec. 1. "In contrast, Trevino is someone who wants to fight the fight."

Referring to Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, a member of the rival Sinaloa Cartel who died in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010, Logan noted, "Trevino is someone who is going to want to go out, like Nacho Coronel went out, with his guns blazing."

Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.


Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.

A "privileged" racing driver has been jailed with 11 other drug smugglers. Crown Court heard he was head of a gang moving drugs from Eastern Europe along the M4 corridor to London, western England and south Wales.

Kilby was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

Raids on properties

Kilby was jailed in June but his conviction, and those of the rest of the gang, can now be reported following the conclusion of another trial.

In an undercover operation between Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police, officers seized 3kg of cocaine as it was being ferried between London and Cheltenham in October 2010.

Another 1kg of the drug was intercepted in Cheltenham in February 2011 and 2.5kg was discovered in raids on properties in Cheltenham, Staverton, Bristol and London in July 2011.

The gang of 12 drug dealers from Gloucestershire, Bristol and London received sentences of between 18 years and four years seven months.

It can now be reported Kilby, who was jailed in June, and Vladan Vujovic, 43, of Grange Road, London were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Both were jailed for 18 years.

Laurence Kilby racing in the 2009 Castle Combe Saloon Car ChampionshipKilby built and raced cars with the company he owned, Ajec Racing

Richard Jones, 42, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, was sentenced to 15 years for the same offence, and Mark Poole, 47, from Portishead, was sentenced to nine years seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Police said Kilby sourced the drug in London from an East European criminal gang, which included Vujovic.

Vujovic ran a baggage handling company at Heathrow Airport and was said to receive the cocaine before it was distributed around the South West and Wales.

Kilby is the former husband of Flora Vestey, daughter of Lord Vestey, and was owner of motor racing firm Ajec Racing which was based in Staverton.

He was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

'Well-connected socialite'

In a separate charge, Kilby also pleaded guilty to stealing money from the charity Help for Heroes and was sentenced to 10 months, to run concurrently with his 18-year sentence.

He organised a charity race day at Gloucestershire Airport in July 2010, but failed to pass on between £3,500 and £4,000 in proceeds to the charity Help for Heroes.

Det Insp Steve Bean, from Gloucestershire Police, said Kilby was the main man.

"He portrayed himself as a well-connected socialite and businessman, whilst indulging his ambition as a minor league racing driver.

Drugs wrapped in plastic packagesPolice seized 6.5kg of drugs during the operation

"Despite a privileged background, the reality was that his lifestyle was funded by the ill-gotten gains of drug dealing.

"He continually lied and blamed others in an attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy.

"He displayed an air of arrogance and thought he could get away with it because he didn't get his hands dirty."

The majority of the gang were jailed in June, but reporting restrictions meant it could not be reported until now, after the sentencing of the remaining gang members.

Others members of the gang to be sentenced were:

  • David Chapman, 29, from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to nine years.
  • William Garnier, 31, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced six years and eight months.
  • Garry Burrell, 46, from Easton, Bristol, and John Tomlin, 28, from Newtown, Gloucestershire both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and were sentenced to six years and six months and four years and six months respectively.
  • Timothy Taylor, 40, from Bristol was found guilty of supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced to four years and seven months.
  • Brian Barrett, 48, from Keynsham was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
  • Scott Everest, 39, from Clevedon was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for seven years.

Jonathan Tanner, 45, from Warminster was sentenced to 18 months for possession with intent to supply of cannabis, but was cleared of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Darren Weetch, 38, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He was sentenced to 16 months.

Officers also worked with Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police during the operation.

Bikie gang suspects in brawl arrests at Penrith shopping centre

FOUR men with alleged links to outlaw motorcycle gangs were arrested last week after a brawl at a Penrith shopping centre. Police officers from the gangs squad and Penrith local area command had been investigating the brawl, which forced shoppers to flee for their safety about 2.45pm last Monday. Police will allege a man was leaving the shopping centre when he was confronted by a group of nine men and fighting began. A number of people tried to intervene, including an unknown male who was assaulted. All involved in the brawl then left the scene. At 7am last Thursday, police simultaneously raided four homes at St Marys, Emu Plains, South Windsor and Freemans Reach. Three men with alleged links to the Rebels were arrested at St Marys and Emu Plains, while an alleged senior Nomads member was arrested at Freemans Reach. During the search warrants, police seized distinctive gang clothing, quantities of anabolic steroids and prescription drugs and a set of knuckledusters. A man, 29, of Emu Plains, was charged with affray, participate in a criminal group and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 44, of Freemans Reach, was charged with affray, possess prohibited weapon, and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 25, of St Marys, and a 23-year-old New Zealand man were each charged with affray and participate in a criminal group. Penrith crime manager Detective Inspector Grant Healey said further arrests were anticipated.

27 charged in California-Mexico methamphetamine ring

 Local and federal authorities moved Thursday to break up an alleged drug trafficking ring connecting a major Mexican cartel and San Gabriel Valley street gangs, arresting 17 people in a pre-dawn sweep. A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges 27 defendants with making, possessing and dealing methamphetamine imported by La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico’s most violent cartels, to two Pomona gangs: Los Amables and Westside Pomona Malditos. Seven law enforcement agencies, including the Pasadena and Pomona police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, were involved in the sweep. Thursday’s crackdown is the culmination of a probe called Operation Crystal Light, a 16-month investigation by the San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Gang Task Force. The investigation was launched after a 2011 kidnapping among suspected gang members in Southern California. Officers said they seized nine weapons, an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, other drugs, and paraphernalia in Thursday morning raids in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The probe involved about 200 law enforcement officers and several undercover purchases. “The goal of the federal task force is to disrupt the network so it’s disrupted permanently,” Timothy Delaney, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Division in Los Angeles, said. “Today’s arrests took some very serious players in the methamphetamine world off the streets.” The methamphetamine came into the country in liquid form via airplane, boats and cars, officials said. The drug was recrystallized at an Ontario home before local gangs would sell it and funnel money to the Mexican cartel. Most of the drugs were being sold in Pomona and Ontario, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Shawn Nelson. Dealers were selling multiple pounds a day and making up to $9,000 per pound, Nelson said. He described the arrests as “a good dent” in the Mexican cartel’s local drug network. Three suspects were in custody before the raid and seven remain at large, federal authorities said. The indictment alleges that a La Familia Michoacana associate named Jose Juan Garcia Barron oversaw the transport of the meth between Mexico and Los Angeles County. Delaney said Garcia Barron is among the suspects who have not been apprehended. The 17 arrested Thursday were expected to make their first court appearance Thursday afternoon at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Police think Ogden drive-bys are tied to gang's power struggle

Police believe drive-by shootings at an Ogden home Tuesday night and Wednesday morning may be related to a violent power struggle within a street gang over control of leadership, drugs and money. Ogden Police Lt. Scott Conley declined to identify the gang, but said members are not affiliated with the Ogden Trece. On Monday, 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones issued a permanent injunction against Trece members, banning them from associating with each other in public and being in the presence of guns, drugs and alcohol. The injunction also places Treces under an 11 p.m. curfew. The drive-by shootings at a home in the 500 block of 28th Street are signs of in-fighting among members of a local gang who are attempting to resolve their differences through escalating violence, Conley said. “They are in the same gang and are arguing back and forth,” he said, noting police have gathered intelligence on the dispute. “We are taking enforcement action to eradicate the problem or get the individuals involved incarcerated.” Six to eight gang members are believed to be involved in the dispute.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets – less than halfway through his prison sentence for laundering £1million of drugs cash. Scotland’s most powerful mobster has been enjoying meals at expensive restaurants and socialising with pals after being allowed home for a week each month. Stevenson – who was also accused of shooting dead his best friend in an underworld hit – was put behind bars in September 2006 when he was arrested after a four-year surveillance operation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. He was later sentenced to 12 years and nine months for money laundering. But, we can reveal, he is now allowed out of Castle Huntly open prison near Dundee – just five years and 10 months later. A source said: “He seems determined to show his face all around town to deliver the message that he’s back and, as far as he’s concerned, nothing has changed. “A lot of people are surprised that he’s being allowed out so early. Some are not too pleased about it for a number of reasons.” Stevenson, 47, has been spotted at Bothwell Bar & Brasserie, which is run by his friend Stewart Gilmore. He and his cronies have also dined at upmarket Italian restaurant Il Pavone in Glasgow’s Princes Square shopping centre. And Stevenson has joined friends at various other restaurants and hotels, including Glasgow’s Hilton Garden Inn. A Sunday Mail investigation can today reveal that the Parole Board for Scotland could recommend Stevenson’s total freedom as early as February next year. However, the final decision on his release will rest with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Yesterday, Labour justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: “I’m surprised to hear this and that anyone in these circumstances should get out of jail before the halfway point of their sentence – far less so when the conviction is of someone involved in organised crime. “The only circumstances where that would be conceivable would be if someone completely changed their lifestyle. But even then that should not be before they’ve served half their sentence. “I’m sure the victims of these crimes – and with drugs there are direct and indirect victims – will also be surprised at this.” To prepare Stevenson for his release, prison bosses have allowed him to stay a full week each month at his modest flat in Burnside, near Glasgow. On Friday, we watched him leaving the property with his wife Caroline and driving off in a silver Audi. A prison service insider said: “The Parole Board expect the prison authorities to have allowed home visits to test suitability for release ahead of the first eligible parole date. In Stevenson’s case, that’s next February. “There are conditions attached which vary but usually include the obvious ones like not mixing with other criminals and staying only at the designated address. “For prisoners sentenced to more than 10 years, the Parole Board make their recommendations to the Justice Secretary, who then decides whether to release on licence. “Stevenson is trying to keep his nose clean to convince the Parole Board that he poses no threat to society. “But, given his high profile and significance, it’s inevitable that the authorities will be careful before making any final decision.” Stevenson headed a global smuggling gang with a multi-million-pound turnover when he was brought down by the SCDEA’s Operation Folklore, which seized £61million of drugs. He faced drug and money laundering charges along with eight other suspects, including his 53-year-old wife. But his lawyers struck a deal with the Crown Office to admit money laundering in exchange for his wife’s freedom and the drugs charges being dropped. Stevenson’s stepson Gerry Carbin Jr, 32, was also jailed – for five years and six months – but was freed in 2010. Stevenson was previously arrested for the murder of Tony McGovern, 35, who was gunned down in Glasgow’s Springburn in 2000. But prosecutors dropped the case through lack of evidence. A gangland source said: “He does not fear any kind of reprisal from Tony’s brothers, nor does he regard any other criminals in Scotland as a threat or even as rivals. He did not fear any other operation in Scotland before he was jailed. Why would he now?” Two years ago, the Sunday Mail exposed a backdoor deal when the Crown handed back Stevenson’s £300,000 watch collection, which had been seized under proceeds of crime of legislation. Last June, he was sent back to high-security Shotts jail in Lanarkshire from an open prison after a major SCDEA drugs probe, Operation Chilon. Detectives believed that the gang they investigated was controlled by Stevenson. Haulage firm boss Charles McAughey’s home was one of 11 targeted in raids. In 2009, we revealed that French police had found 684kg of pure cocaine worth £31million in a lorry owned by McAughey. Chilon resulted in the SCDEA seizing 242kg of cannabis worth £1.21million and the jailing of three men for a combined 15 years.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tulisa's Friend, 21, Shot Dead In Gangland Hit

Reece James, 21, a close friend of Tulisa Contostavlos has been shot dead in a reported gangland attack. The 21-year-old, who appeared with Tulisa in a video for rapper Nines, was shot in the head in a "pre-planned and targeted" hit, 100 miles from his home in London, reports the UK's Sun newspaper. Police found James' body in Boscombe, Bournemouth, at around 2.30am near where Somali drug gangs are said operate. A 22-year-old man was arrested. Reece was said to have been in the area with some friends for "a couple of months", though had filmed the video earlier this month with Tulisa and rapper Nines on the Church End Estate in Harlesden, North West London. The former N Dubz star caused controversy at the time, making a "C" symbol to the camera - the same sign that is used by Harlesden's notorious Church Road Soldiers gang. Tulisa claimed it was a reference to Camden, where she was born. Twitter tributes began flooding in last night, with one user writing, "RIP Reece James. Thoughts are with him and his family and friends". Local MP Tobias Ellwood described the killing as "a spill over from the drugs turf war in the capital", adding, "This was one London gang chasing down another, carrying out a professional hit and then going back".

Friday, 27 July 2012

Gangs of highway robbers are targeting British tourists on holiday in Spain.

Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in ‘quick and slick’ distraction muggings.

The thieves typically trick their victims with loud noises, apparent accidents, supposed vehicle problems or pleas for help – before stealing bags and belongings from their vehicles. 

Thieves: Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in 'quick and slick' distraction muggings

Thieves: Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in 'quick and slick' distraction muggings

As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ‘an easy target’ for motorway thieves. 

The number of British tourists ambushed on Spanish roads has soared as the euro crisis has deepened, with the British Embassy in Madrid reporting a 10 per cent rise in the first quarter of this year.

 This is likely to increase further as the peak holiday season begins. 

A spokesman for the embassy said:  ‘Motorists may be driving along the motorway and not notice there’s a car close up behind. 

‘Someone in the other car throws a stone at their vehicle which creates a loud bang. The British drivers pull over to see what has happened and the gang is behind them. 

‘They cause a distraction to steal from them or simply mug them. It’s a growing problem.’

Warning: As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ¿an easy target¿ for motorway thieves

Warning: As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ¿an easy target¿ for motorway thieves

A hotspot for the gangs is the AP7 motorway between the French border and the Alicante region in southern Spain. 

More than 140 cases of theft on this route were reported to British Consulates last year. 

However, a spokesman said there were likely to be ‘hundreds more’ attacks going unreported across Spain because victims usually contact a British consulate only if they have lost their passport. 

Dave Thomas, consular regional director for Spain, said: ‘Be on your guard against anyone who attempts to stop you or ask you for help.

‘They may well be part of a  gang operating a scam in which an unseen accomplice will rob you of your things.’ 

Stephen and Helen Robinson, from Desford, Leicestershire, had their bags stolen from their Audi Q5 as they stopped to walk their labrador retriever Polly at a service station between Barcelona and Valencia. 

The couple, who are in their 50s, were standing at the boot of their car when a man on a mobile phone asked them how to say something in English. 

While he distracted them, their belongings were taken from the front of the car, despite Polly being inside. 

Mrs Robinson said: ‘It was quick and slick. You may be more tired and therefore more vulnerable when you’ve been travelling, so separate your valuables into different places in the car, and when you stop be aware you may be being watched. You won’t see the accomplice of the person who is distracting you.’ 

In a separate incident, Joy and Alan Horton, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, were driving a Ford Focus hatchback through Spain when they heard a loud bang and pulled over.

A car that had been travelling close behind them also stopped, and while the driver talked to them, his accomplice stole their possessions without them noticing.

Mr Horton said: ‘If you think your car may have been in a collision and you pull over, lock the car as soon as you get out and mount a guard on both sides of the vehicle. Keep all bags and valuables in a locked boot.’ 

Professor Stephen Glaister, of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Drivers need to remember to stay alert and be ready for unwelcome surprises just as they would be at home.’

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Slovak fugitive May Fight His Expulsion From Belize

Last Thursday 7news broke the story about Mello Karol - the international fugitive form the Slovak Republic who was found on San Pedro, living with his family and running a business.

Since then, we've been trying to get information on this sensational capture from police, but it's been like pulling teeth.

Finally today, the police press office sent out a preposterous release, asking for the media's, quote, "usual co-operation to withhold information regarding MELLO Karol."

The press officer, Fitzroy Yearwood adds, quote "I am not at liberty to release any information concerning Karol Mello at this time." First of all, on the part of this station, there is no usual or unusual cooperation with police to withhold any information - those are the norms for a police state, not an informed democracy.

Second, we suspect that local authorities want a hush kept because the government is trying to get an expulsion order issued as quietly as possible - and be finished with the situation.

But, reports are that he has retained a British Queen's Counsel and local legal representation to fight his expulsion. They would do that on the basis that he entered the country legally - and should be entitled to some kind of hearing before he is expelled.

As we have reported, Mello is reputed to be a big fish in the eastern European underworld. The 42 year old is wanted by Interpol and was caught last week Wednesday on Pescador Drive in San Pedro after months of being in Belize. He is an alleged mafia boss wanted for setting up a double murder in 2004.

After successfully eluding arrest for six years, Polish special police forces arrested Mello in Krakow in October 2010 but he was released from custody last May by a Slovak court, reportedly due to procedural errors. Now he is being sought on a European and international arrest warrant.

Reports suggest that the Slovak Government has a jet on standby in Guatemala to shuttle him away the minute he is expelled from Belize.

Accused Calgary gangster's custody questioned at deportation hearing

The man who police claim to be “the trigger man” for a notorious street gang is a public threat and shouldn’t be released pending deportation proceedings. But Tien Ngoc Ho’s lawyer argued at Monday’s immigration hearing there isn’t enough evidence to warrant keeping him in custody. “In the past when detainees have been detained citing a danger to society, they have had violent records,” Bjorn Harsanyi said. “There has no single act of violence alleged against Mr. Ho — there has been speculation and innuendo, but we have to be careful to separate innuendo and proof.” Stephanie Mathyk-Pinto, Canada Border Services Agency hearings officer said Ho — who recently finished federal time for weapons convictions before going into CBSA custody pending deportation — if released poses a public danger and is unlikely to report for removal. He was convicted after police found loaded handguns in a hidden vehicle compartment of his common-law wife’s car and five loaded handguns in his home. Jail officials have a photograph of Ho, who survived a 2005 gang-related drive-by shooting, in jail flanked by known gang members. The issue, she argued, is not whether the reputed gang member is determined to be one but whether it is safe for him to be in the community. “I’m not asking you to find him a gang member ... but to look at the totality,” Mathyk-Pinto said. Ho, who arrived to Canada in 1992 at age 5, saw his permanent resident status stripped in December 2009 after being ordered deported for serious criminality. Mathyk-Pinto said it is likely Ho will “arm himself for his own protection and surround himself with (gang) associates,” if released. “If there was no threat on Mr. Ho’s life you have to ask why he had two fully loaded hand guns in his glove box. Who does that? He was clearly afraid for his life,” she said. Police Sgt. Gord Eiriksson said Ho “can put anyone in danger ... the public, family members or associates” and told the hearing he is skeptical 24-hour house arrest, suggested by Harysani, would reduce that risk. “The reality is that even if Mr. Ho was bound by a house arrest, we’re talking about individuals who have the ability and the intent to (obtain) high-powered weapons, assault rifles that would blow through this house or that house and the next house, so definitely the public will be at risk,” he said. Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Lee Ann King delivers her decision Tuesday.

Three murdered in resurgence of Jamaica gangster violence

Gangsters in the St Andrew North Police division appear to again be at each other’s throats, having killed three persons and injuring three others in a bloody trail of events over the weekend. The killings occurred in the communities of Grants Pen and Sunrise Crescent, off Red Hills Road, driving fear into residents and causing police to beef up security in the two ‘hotspot’ areas. “The activities that we have been seeing in these two communities are between two rival gangs. It has nothing to do with the residents or persons traversing in and around the communities,” Deputy Superintendent of Police George McFarlane told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. In the most recent case, around 12:30 pm in the vicinity of Sunrise Crescent yesterday, gunmen ambushed 32-year-old Ava-Gaye Ward and sprayed her with bullets even as she ran for her life. Ward, a higgler, was shot in the back, hip, abdomen, and right palm. Police suspect that her attackers were avenging the July 5 murders of Denver Pink, 38, and Latisha Rich, 23, who were both cut down at premises in the same community. Investigators from the Major Investigation Taskforce said four 9mm spent shells and one live round were taken from the scene. Ward’s killing followed that of Paul Jackson, 49, who was also chased and shot, allegedly by a lone gunmen as Jackson attempted to flee onto premises on Grants Pen Avenue, not far from Sunrise Crescent. That attack took place about 10:00 am. Detectives believe that incident may have been linked to the death of 26-year-old Dwain Rodman who, along with three other men were shot at a nearby bar about 10:45 Friday night. They said gunmen travelling in a Silver Toyota motorcar alighted from the vehicle, entered the premises and fired. The three other victims, which included a 17-year-old, are said to be in serious condition at hospital. The chain of events has again placed the St Andrew North Police division — which is littered with criminal ‘hotspots’ — in the spotlight. A curfew has since been imposed in the Grants Pen community as police compile a list of persons of interest and police operations have also been bolstered in the Sunrise Crescent Area, McFarlane said. “These are gang members who are killing each other and who are shooting at each other; it has nothing to do with the residents themselves. So we just want to reassure persons that we will do everything possible to deal with these gang members,” he said, noting that heavy police presence in the area should bring some reassurance that the police are “on top of things, and that we will deal with it accordingly”. According to McFarlane: “The (Grants Pen) murders are the product of a long-standing dispute between two gangs — Top Gully and Bottom Gully — and it was triggered by the murder of one Jermaine Gibson, otherwise called Jerry Springer,” he said. “He was an influential member of the Top Gully gang. He was killed in Castle Heights and as a result of his killing there has been a number of shootings,” he said. Last night, a senior officer who once headed the St Andrew North division was critical of how the area is being policed in recent times. “I am convinced that it can be policed better. You see, hotspot policing takes a lot of concentration and it takes dedicated policing,” said the officer. “Certain place police have to park and can’t move or else them lose all them work. If you don’t occupy the spaces where criminals occupy then you must expect that they are going to come and give you trouble.” In relation to the Sunrise Crescent incidents, the officer said the attacks were being ordered by a well-known don in that area, who is bent on eliminating any threats to his reign. “Anybody who he feels is an informer or a threat to him he will send someone to kill them; it could even be your relative,” the cop said, adding that the don recently left the island and is ordering the killings from overseas.

A gang of about a dozen armed people stormed into a church youth camp-out near Mexico City and went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rape

End of days…

A gang of about a dozen armed people stormed into a church youth camp-out near Mexico City and went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rape, authorities said Saturday.

Seven girls were raped during the Friday attack and several campers were beaten, according to the state prosecutors office in Mexico State, which surrounds the Mexican capital.

About 90 youths sponsored by a church group known as the Chains of the Holy Trinity were camping at an eco-park on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, in a hilly area that is close to the lower flanks of the Popocatepetl volcano. Prosecutors did not say what church the group is affiliated with, but the camp-out appeared to have been a sort of spiritual retreat.

The office said that the attack lasted for hours, and that when the attackers left they stole two vehicles and other articles from the campers.

The office said investigators were pursuing two lines of inquiry, but did not reveal what they were.

Drug gangs operate on the outskirts of Mexico City, but campers and hikers have also been targeted in the past by common criminals.

Gang leader walks out of Denmark prison

 A gang leader convicted of attempted murder walked out of a Danish prison and fled in a taxi after convincing a guard he had permission to leave, officials and media said Sunday. The prisoner, Mohammed Figuigui -- nicknamed "The Painter" -- went to the prison gate Friday afternoon and told the guard he had a permit to spend the weekend outside. After being let out he disappeared in a taxi, Danish media reported. The guard realised his mistake 20 minutes later when another prisoner, the rightful beneficiary of the weekend pass, came to the gate, local media reported, saying the guard had been suspended. The director of the Oestjylland prison on Denmark's Jutland peninsula confirmed to AFP that "a prisoner escaped on Friday afternoon". Copenhagen police confirmed the escapee was Figuigui and said an international warrant for his arrest had been issued. Figuigui, who according to media reports had tried to escape on two previous occasions, was serving an eight-year sentence for the attempted murder of a witness in a criminal case. Some reports said he may have fled to Morocco.

Four arrested on suspicion of alleged weapon possesion, gang membership

Four alleged gang members were arrested in Napa late Saturday night after police spotted them fleeing the scene of a reported fight and found a dangerous weapon in their car, according to Napa police. Officers responded around 11:45 p.m. Saturday to a report of a fight in the 800 block of Laguna Street and spotted a car fleeing the area with its lights off, police said. Police said an officer stopped the car near the intersection of Jacob Court and Carriage Place and saw that its occupants were known gang members. A search of the vehicle revealed a metal club stowed in the car's glove compartment along with other evidence of gang affiliation, police said. Police said two of the car's occupants, are on probation with the Napa County Sheriff's Office, and that one, 22-year-old Napa man Antonio Estanislao Juarez, allegedly gave police a fake name. Officers arrested Juarez, 19-year-old Victor Ortega and Jesus Juan Avalos, 20, who was driving the car, as well as a 17-year-old Napa boy on suspicion of participation in a criminal street gang and for alleged weapon possession. Avalos, Juarez and Ortega were booked into the Napa County Detention Center and the 17-year-old was taken to Juvenile Hall.

3 Portland gang shootings in less than 9 hours

Police in Portland responded to three gang-related shootings in less than nine hours Thursday and Friday, with one injury and property damage reported. A man was injured in Northeast Portland just after midnight Friday when a bullet grazed his head, according to Lt. Robert King of the Portland Police Bureau. The suspected gang member was driving near NE 125th Avenue and NE Sandy Boulevard when he was shot by someone in the car behind him. That shooting took place about eight hours after North Portland’s Peninsula Park was cleared out due to an exchange of gunfire Thursday afternoon. Background: North Portland park evacuated after shootout Five hours later, at around 9 p.m., an exchange of gunfire damaged several apartments and a car near SE 129th Avenue and SE Division Street. A suspect was hit by a car while running from the scene, but he got up and kept running. More: Suspect hit by car after SE Portland shootout The string of gang-related shootings comes amid 'Operation Safe Summer,' a plan launched in June that doubled the number of gang enforcement and gun task force officers. No suspects were located in connection with any of the three shootings. King says the violence must be stopped before innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire. “Gang members, when they shoot guns in the city -- especially in and around parks like Peninsula Park yesterday -- demonstrate an extreme indifference to the value of human life,” he said Friday.. The gang enforcement team has been called out to investigate 67 violent crimes in 2012.

Gangs sometimes fire first shots online

 It's been more than two years since the death of Decari Antonio Starr, an 18-year-old from St. Paul who was shot in the chest in north Minneapolis and then dumped at North Memorial Medical Center. There's almost nothing publicly known about his unsolved killing, but tucked away on the pages of Facebook, Starr, who was also known as "Pudda" or "Pudda Loc," has attained the higher profile of someone revered on the street because he was violently taken away. There, friends of his call themselves "R.I.P. Pudda Loc," and post pictures of him and his gravestone. Some vow to avenge his death on pages where others mourn. On a Facebook picture of Starr's grave, one person wrote "rip big cuzzin your killer dieing this year." Usually hidden from public view, the life of gangs weave in and out of some Facebook pages as kids wrapped up in Minneapolis gang life share their highs and lows on the social network. Posting in real time, their pages include hospital photographs after they've been shot, poses before the mirror with gang signs flashing, and a never-ending conversation rife with gang references, memorials to those who've been killed and threats to enemies. "It's probably no different than any other kids, right?" said Minneapolis police Lt. Jeff Rugel. "They're sharing stuff that they used to do face-to-face or over the phone. But there's criminal stuff." It was this sort of online back and forth between two Minneapolis gangs that helped fuel a series of house shootings last month that culminated in the killing of 5-year-old Nizzel George, according to police. He was found on a sofa in the front room of his grandmother's house, which was struck by a hail of bullets fired from outside. Two teenage boys have been charged with murder in Nizzel's death. Rugel runs the police department's Strategic Information Center, where officers use technology to track crime. One of the jobs in his office amounts to monitoring Facebook full-time. They understand the teen slang and filter through thousands of innocuous and inane comments to look for the few that could solve a crime or stop one before it happens. They try to draw connections out of the Facebook networks to help document the shifting alliances on the street. Police were aware of Facebook threats between rival gangs weeks before the shooting that killed Nizzel, but the threats weren't specific. When Rugel and his staff sees something that looks like trouble -- a known gang member says he's going to hurt someone -- they pass the information along to officers on the street. It's a poorly kept secret that the police watch Facebook, said Rugel. "You see comments every once in a while. 'Don't put that on Facebook. You know who's looking at it,' " he said. Despite some users' occasional concern, many of the Facebook users monitored by police flaunt their illegal behavior online, showing themselves smoking marijuana, posing with stolen merchandise, the security tags still attached, and making gang signs. "I have a prolific shoplifter who posts things on Facebook and says, 'Who wants one?'" said Rugel. A recent comment from one of the people police watch on Facebook had him making general threats against a neighborhood: "I get bored and just want to shoot [things] up, so for the next few days you can be my target practice," wrote the young man, who went on to name a specific neighborhood. A man who was shot Monday morning was photographed by someone who knew him as he was loaded onto the ambulance gurney. The photo appeared on his Facebook page less than an hour after he had been shot. That sort of real-time response makes it harder for police to dampen people's urge to retaliate, said Rugel. Peer-to-peer communication Peering into the gang world on Facebook reveals a sort of peer-to-peer communication that police don't see otherwise. It's a growing phenomenon that's been tracked by police departments elsewhere, according to the latest National Gang Threat Assessment from the FBI. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and specialized websites like allow gangs to recruit and easily communicate with one another, according to the report. "The proliferation of social networking websites has made gang activity more prevalent and lethal -- moving gangs from the streets into cyber space," the National Gang Intelligence Center reported. That's likely true of highly organized gangs, but not everyone's convinced that what's going on in Minneapolis rises to the same level. The lifestyle projected in local gang members' Facebook pages shouldn't be a call to arrest, said Manu Lewis, a co-founder of Criminals and Gang Members Anonymous, Minneapolis chapter. Lewis said some of the photos might be made in jest, and those that are serious should be seen as the product of a young person looking for help.

The BBC is considering making an appeal against a court order which stopped it from broadcasting a dramatized film on last year’s riots in London.

British riot police arrive in front of a burning building in Croydon, South London on August 8, 2011. Now in it's third night of unrest, London has seen sporadic outbreaks of looting and clashes both north and south of the river Thames. Numerous buildings were set on fire in Croydon including a 140 year old furniture store as hundreds of looters plundered high street shops of their goods. (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)

British riot police arrive in front of a burning building in Croydon, South London on August 8, 2011. Now in it's third night of unrest, London has seen sporadic outbreaks of looting and clashes both north and south of the river Thames. Numerous buildings were set on fire in Croydon including a 140 year old furniture store as hundreds of looters plundered high street shops of their goods. (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)


The film, which features actors portraying anonymous rioters sharing their experience of the events, was due to be broadcast on Monday evening, but was banned by a court order hours before hitting the airwaves

Its script was written by award-winning playwright Alecky Blythe and is based on interviews from some 270 people conducted by the Guardian and London School of Economics as part of a study into the massive public disorder.

The first installment of The Riots: In their own Words focuses on rioters, while the second film of the two-part series shares the impressions of police officers on duty at the time.

Both were banned from being broadcast by a court ruling, which BBC lawyers now plan to appeal against, reports the Guardian. The newspaper says for legal reasons it cannot report the name of the judge who made the controversial ruling, the court in which it was done or the case he was presiding over.

Little detail was disclosed on the content of the ruling itself. The British newspaper cites it as saying: "It is ordered that the BBC programme 'The Riots: In their Own Words' due for broadcast on BBC 2 tonight is not broadcast by any media by any means until further order."

The ruling also ordered the BBC to remove a clip promoting the film from its website, which the broadcaster did. The clip, previously available on a blog posted last Friday, featured a BBC producer saying that the "important and illuminating" interviews in the drama would provide insight into "why and how the riots had happened".

After the court ruling arrived the BBC said it would put the program out at a later date. The film was part of the company’s package prepared for the coverage of the one year anniversary of the August 2011 riots in Britain.

What started as peaceful protest in Tottenham erupted into five nights of violence, looting and a subsequent police crackdown. Five people were killed and more than 2,500 shops and businesses damaged. Over a thousand people received jail for their part in the disorder.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Rival Gangs Fueling Violence on Monte Vista Street

The killing of Pedro Morales and the wounding of his brother in a shooting on Monte Vista Street Saturday evening were the latest in a string of violent incidents fueled by rival gangs that have moved into the area, according to police. Homicide detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Division, who on Monday morning were still in the field, investigating the shooting, confirmed that they believe the killing of Morales to have been gang related. Police have not released the name of Morales' wounded brother. No information on potential suspects has been released yet. Detective Rick Ortiz of the Northeast LAPD Gang Unit said his officers would likely cooperate in the investigation as well.  Ortiz told Patch that the increased violence in the area could be traced to the relocation of rival gang members into the area. [Editor's Note: Patch does not use the names of area gangs in our reporting, so as to not contribute to their local fame.] "What's going on is that we have a gang that for years has been located above York Boulevard and they've migrated down south, converging in that Monte Vista area with another gang," Ortiz said. "Another gang that's been inactive for many years has also had an uprising. We're not sure how they ended up in that area. Families just end up in one area or another. They migrated that way. I don't think that the gang is thinking 'We have to move over in that area;' they just ended up there and started getting active." According to the crime data tracking website, there have been 28 reports of assault with a deadly weapon within the area bounded by Avenue 52, Avenue 59, Monte Vista Street and North Figueroa Street since the start of 2012.  Morales' killing is the first homicide of the year on Monte Vista Street. "I think it's youngsters trying to step up," Ortiz said. "It's typical gang-banging. Someone will spray graffiti, somebody else will cross it out, then it escalates from there." According to the Eastsider L.A., residents in the area had noticed the tagging sign "53" showing up recently, which they reported was new in the area. Among Patch readers who've commented on previous stories about the Morales killing, concerns have been raised about the ability of LAPD to effectively police gang crime in the area. "Actually the police are a part of the problem. LAPD's job is to police the city, and make their presence felt to prevent crime. If LAPD is seen more often, criminals of all sorts will think twice about the crimes they are committing.  Maybe LAPD would witness some of these crimes and catch these people," said Patch commenter Gill. "LAPD's budget increases every year. Yet LAPD patrol officers are being taken off the streets and promoted. The number of LAPD officers on the actual street always stays the same or just barely increases, while they continue to get a bigger budget. I think patrolling our streets is more important than building new police stations and buying new cars every two years." Gill's point about LAPD's budget increasing every year is technically incorrect, as this year's city budget cut funding to the department by $120 million, much of which will come at the expense of overtime pay for patrol officers. But, it also raises an important question about how LAPD prioritizes the allocation of its resources. Ortiz said that the LAPD Northeast Gang Unit was still fully staffed and capable of patrolling the streets of Highland Park. He said there are currently 18 uniformed patrol officers in the unit and 10 detectives. The detectives typically work daytime shifts, Monday through Friday, while the patrol officers rotate schedules seven days a week. Detectives are also available to assist in patrols on nights and weekends, Ortiz said. When asked if his unit had the necessary manpower to patrol gang activity in Highland Park, Ortiz responded: "I'd say yes. If we had more, it'd be better, though. But, our gang unit, for instance, it's not the largest in the city, but we can run seven days a week. There's always a gang officer out there." Ortiz said a bigger problem in combating gang violence in Highland Park was an unwillingness on the behalf of witnesses and victims to report crimes, for fear of retaliation from gang members. "The best thing the residents of that area can do—and they don't really like to do it—is report the crime," Ortiz said. "There's a reluctance to become involved because it's gangs. They don't want to get involved. Witnesses and victims of gang crimes are afraid to come forward." Ortiz said he understood the unwillingness of victims to come forward, but he stressed that community cooperation was an important tool in fighting gang crime, and that it often leads to arrests that take gang members off the streets. He said that LAPD also had the funding necessary to relocate witnesses, should they feel threatened. "Absolutely, when we do get victims who want to come forward, we're able to relocate them, help them out," Ortiz said. "We still get that resource from the state."

Violence Tied to the Boylston and Mozart Street Gangs

Monday's big Jamaica Plain news, that police and prosecutors had arrested much of the leadership of the Boylston Street gang, may come as a relief to neighbors who have lived in fear. Over the years, the Boylston associates often had bloody conflicts with their rival Mozart Street gang. Police stress that while the names of the groups come from two JP streets, the feuding gang members no longer live there. Here is a review of violent incidents police have linked to the conflict between Boylston and Mozart: April 2008: Luis "Mata" Troncoso, 20, an alleged Boylston Street associate, shot and killed on the basketball court near Stony Brook T. October 2008: Garivaldis Peña killed in a shooting on Rossmore Street. August 2010: Two nonfatal shootings in Eglston Square, according to the JP Gazette. Oct. 23, 2010: Boylston Street gang member Luis "Tito" Torres mortally wounded by gunfire on Boylston Street Nov. 21, 2010: Three men mortally wounded in a gun and knife fight inside Same Old Place on Centre Street. Killed were Winsizky Soto, 27 and Johnnel "Bo" Cruz, 20, of Jamaica Plain and Ariel Dume, 20, of Dorchester. A woman going past on Centre Street was grazed by a bullet. November 2010: Amin Marte of the Mozart Street gang killed in the Dominican Republic, according to an affidavit referenced by the JP Gazette. December 2010: Members of the Mozart Street gang practice shooting at a Salisbury gun range. According to the Gazette, police and prosecutors link at least two other homicides and many drug-related crimes to the rival groups.

Tennessee communities are losing the battle against violent gangs.

That's the troubling news from state officials who say the gang problem is definitely getting worse, even in smaller towns. 
Chattanooga is getting ready for an all-out effort to shut them down. 

BOYD PATTERSON, COORDINATOR, GANG TASK FORCE "I think the real story is that in towns with 50-thousand population or less ..gang activity since 2005 has tripled." 

That state report is putting every community, large or small, on alert. 
The insidious and dangerous gangs may be right there where you live. 

BOYD PATTERSON "Progress can be measured in the amount of people, and resources, and direction ..And political will to do something about this that regard..Chattanooga is on the fast track." 

The assessment phase of Patterson's initiative should be completed by August, at which time a community-wide effort, including schools, churches, police and youth leaders will launch. 
The Rev. Ternae Jordan, of the Stop the Madness campaign, is anxious for that to happen.

REV. TERNAE JORDAN, STOP THE MADNESS "Its not a one community problem..if you don't stop or address the issues where they are..they're like cancer...they are going to spread." 

One local organization called "Hope for the Inner city" is running full steam this summer.
The young people were out in force today, planting a garden to provide food for the Harriet Tubman community next fall. 
How does it work?

VINCENT BOOZER, DIR. HOPE FOR THE INNER CITY "You can't have the "save the World" mentality. But if you teach one, maybe that one will go out and help 4 or 5 others, and those 4 or 5 others will go out and help 20 others." 

Why does that work? 

DENZEL MONFORD, HOPE FOR THE INNER CITY "I kind of want to ask them..why are you joining a gang? You can't get no ain't helping you ...kind of make your family sad...destroying your family." 

VINCENT BOOZER, DIR. "We want to prevent empowering kids..economically and, because I think the gang problem is about money."

The young people who volunteer at Hope for the Inner City, receive a small paycheck at the end of the season.
Funding assistance comes from donors like the Benwood Foundation and the McClelland Foundation.

Gang violence by the numbers: Murders up, aggravated assaults down

DPD statistics show the number of gang-related crimes against people -- a broad category that includes murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, intimidation and sex offenses -- is down overall. Between January 1 and May 31, there were 113 total crimes, down from 145 in 2011, 125 in 2010, 129 in 2009 and 174 in 2008.

More specifically, the number of aggravated assaults -- which includes non-fatal shootings -- has decreased. There were 75 between January and May. The stats from previous years are as follows: 103 in 2011, 93 in 2010, 91 in 2009 and 125 in 2008.

Chief Robert White pointed to those numbers at a community meeting called to discuss gang violence at the Blair-Caldwell Library in Five Points on June 20. Though overall gang crime is slightly down, he warned, "it's not something to where we can boast about it."

In fact, in the wake of several high-profile shootings, much of the community is concerned about gang violence. A month before that meeting, on May 25, four people were shot in broad daylight near the corner of East Bruce Randolph Avenue and York Street. Two of them -- 21-year-old Justin O'Donnell and 30-year-old Deon Rudd -- were pronounced dead at the scene. The police arrested two suspects and classified the murders as gang-related.


rollin oliver fox 31 blurred face.jpg
Rollin Oliver.

On June 24, Denver police officer Celena Holliswas killed in City Park. Rollin Oliver, a 21-year-old who many suspect has gang ties, has been charged with the crime.


There have been several notable non-fatal shootings, as well. On May 17, an argument inside the Taco Bell on the 16th Street Mall ended when a juvenile shot a man in his thirties in the leg. The man lived, and a witness told theDenver Post that the two were from rival gangs and the altercation began with an eye roll. Five days later, a woman was shot in the wrist in an early-evening scuffle between gang members in Park Hill. And just last week, a non-fatal shooting in the Whittier neighborhood led to the arrest of a 26-year-old who the Postreports is a member of the Tre Tre Crips. That's the gang which which Willie Clark, the man convicted of murdering Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, was associated.

The police also keep track of gang-related property crimes and "crimes against society," which include weapons and drug charges. There were 59 gang-related drug violations between January and May this year, and 47 weapons violations. Last year, those numbers were 54 and 46 for the same five-month time period. Meanwhile, gang-related property crimes have been decreasing since 2008, when there were 157 between January and May. This year, there were 87 during that time; last year, there were 85.

At that June 20 meeting, White reassured the more than 100 attendees that "things are not on pace" to become another "Summer of Violence," referring to a time in 1993 when widespread concern about gangs led to new youth programs and tougher laws. But he didn't make light of the issue, either. He said the DPD studies crime patterns, and if officers notice crime increasing in a certain neighborhood, they also increase patrols.

"We try to put the bodies where the crimes are," Whtie said.

A Russian billionaire with links to Britain’s political elite was yesterday accused of an extraordinary litany of crimes, ranging from reneging on a business deal to ordering a murder.

In a bitter £650million legal battle at the High Court, aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska was alleged to have ties to brutal organised crime gangs which emerged after the collapse of Communism in the former Soviet Union.

He vehemently denies the allegations – revealed in legal papers filed as part of the case – and counter-claimed that he was the victim of an ‘old-fashioned protection racket’ run by the Mafia-style gangs.

Mr Deripaska, who has links to Chancellor George Osborne and former Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, said he had been forced to pay more than half a billion dollars to the gangs over seven years and had feared for his safety and that of his family.

The case is potentially embarrassing for politicians in Britain and Russia. Mr Deripaska, 44, has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and in 2008 he entertained Lord Mandelson and Mr Osborne, then Shadow Chancellor, on his yacht in Corfu.

The High Court case is set against the backdrop of Russia’s bloody ‘aluminium wars’ in the 1990s, when organised crime groups struggled for control of its immense resources.

Billionaire Michael Cherney, 60, claims he struck a business deal with the young Deripaska in 1994, in which he agreed to use his political influence to help him in return for a stake in his aluminium business.




The company went on to become part of Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium firm, and Mr Cherney claims Mr Deripaska then offered to buy his stake in 2001 in a deal worth $1billion (£650million), but paid him only $250million (£160million).

Mr Deripaska claims the deal, hammered out at the exclusive Lanesborough Hotel in London, was a ‘sham’ to disguise his $250million payment to terminate an extortion deal imposed on him by Mr Cherney since 1995.

Lawyers for the tycoon claim he was placed under a protection deal known as a ‘krysha’, a Russian word meaning roof which is slang for protection.

Michael Cherney and Oleg Depripaska are the two men at the centre of this legal dispute

Lawyers for Mr Deripaska claim Mr Cherney is a criminal who was involved with two organised crime networks and extorted payments from businesses.

In written arguments submitted to the court, his lawyer Thomas Beazley QC said: ‘[Mr Deripaska] was a young man in charge of a major plant in Siberia, which was far away from big cities and where organised crime reigned.

‘The police were weak and Mr Deripaska was now an obvious target for gangsters and subjected to death threats. He had to take the threat from organised crime gangs very seriously.’ 

Mr Beazley said: ‘Mr Cherney explained that unless Mr Deripaska accepted the krysha, anything could happen: one cannot wear a bullet-proof vest all the time.’ 

Lord Mandelson was a guest on Mr Deripaska's yacht in Corfu in 2008

Lord Mandelson was a guest on Mr Deripaska's yacht in Corfu in 2008

Lawyers for Mr Cherney said he had never been convicted of any criminal offence and insisted he had been a legitimate business partner in Rusal. 

In their legal submissions, they said prosecutors in Israel, the US and Russia had been told that Mr Deripaska was a member of an organised criminal gang and had ordered the murder of a Russian banker in 1995.

Mr Cherney’s lawyer Mark Howard QC said: ‘Mr Deripaska has a particular status in modern life. He is one of the richest and most influential men in Russia with close ties to President Putin.’ 

In written submissions, he added: ‘His power cannot be overstated. No doubt for that reason he feels that even history must bow to his whim.’ 

Mr Deripaska and Mr Cherney have both faced criminal allegations but neither man has been convicted of any offence.

Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for Mr Deripaska said: ‘Mr Deripaska vehemently denies these allegations.’ 

The case is being tried in Britain after the Court of Appeal backed a ruling that Mr Cherney should be protected from the risk of assassination or arrest.

He has said he would be an assassination target if he returned to Russia, and he will give his evidence by videolink from his home in Israel because of an outstanding arrest warrant relating to a money-laundering investigation in Spain, where he is wanted for questioning.

None of the key players attended yesterday’s hearing. Lawyers for both sides are expected to set out their arguments this week and the case will then be adjourned until September when witnesses will be called.

Parts of the case have been ruled so sensitive that judge Mr Justice Andrew Smith has allowed some witnesses to give evidence anonymously. 

The hearing continues.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Beware of missed call to check SIM cloning

Next time if you get a missed call starting with +92; #90 or #09, don't show the courtesy of calling back because chances are it would lead to your SIM card being cloned. The telecom service providers are now issuing alerts to subscribers —particularly about the series mentioned above as the moment one press the call button after dialing the above number, someone at the other end will get your phone and SIM card cloned. According to reports, more than one lakh subscribers have fallen prey to this new telecom terror attack as the frequency of such calls continues to grow. Intelligence agencies have reportedly confirmed to the service providers particularly in UP West telecom division that such a racket is not only under way but the menace is growing fast. "We are sure there must be some more similar combinations that the miscreants are using to clone the handsets and all the information stored in them," an intelligence officer told TOI. General Manager (GM) BSNL, RV Verma, said the department had already issued alerts to all the broadband subscribers and now alert SMSes were being issued to other subscribers as well. As per Rakshit Tandon, an IT expert who also teaches at the police academy (UP), the crooks can use other combination of numbers as well while making a call. "It is better not to respond to calls received from unusual calling numbers," says Tandon. "At the same time one should avoid storing specifics of their bank account, ATM/ Credit/Debit card numbers and passwords in their phone memory because if one falls a prey to such crooks then the moment your cell phone or sim are cloned, the data will be available to the crooks who can withdraw amount from your bank accounts as well," warns Punit Misra; an IT expert who also owns a consultancy in Lucknow. The menace that threatens to steal the subscriber's information stored in the phone or external memory (sim, memory & data cards) has a very scary side as well. Once cloned, the culprits can well use the cloned copy to make calls to any number they wish to. This exposes the subscribers to the threat of their connection being used for terror calls. Though it will be established during the course of investigations that the cellphone has been cloned and misused elsewhere, it is sure to land the subscriber under quite some pressure till the time the fact about his or her phone being cloned and misused is established, intelligence sources said. "It usually starts with a miss call from a number starting with + 92. The moment the subscriber calls back on the miss call, his or her cell phone is cloned. In case the subscribers takes the call before it is dropped as a miss call then the caller on the other end poses as a call center executive checking the connectivity and call flow of the particular service provider. The caller then asks the subscriber to press # 09 or # 90 call back on his number to establish that the connectivity to the subscriber was seamless," says a victim who reported the matter to the BSNL office at Moradabad last week. "The moment I redialed the caller number, my account balance lost a sum of money. Thereafter, in the three days that followed every time I got my cell phone recharged, the balance would be reduced to single digits within the next few minutes," she told the BSNL officials.

France brings in breathalyser law

New motoring laws have come into force in France making it compulsory for drivers to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles. As of July 1, motorists and motorcyclists will face an on-the-spot fine unless they travel with two single-use devices as part of a government drive to reduce the number of drink-drive related deaths. The new regulations, which excludes mopeds, will be fully enforced and include foreigner drivers from November 1 following a four-month grace period. Anyone failing to produce a breathalyser after that date will receive an 11 euro fine. French police have warned they will be carrying out random checks on drivers crossing into France via ferries and through the Channel Tunnel to enforce the new rules. Retailers in the UK have reported a massive rise in breathalyser sales as British drivers travelling across the Channel ensure they do not fall foul of the new legislation. Car accessory retailer Halfords said it is selling one kit every minute of the day and has rushed extra stock into stores to cope with the unprecedented demand. Six out of 10 Britons travelling to France are not aware they have to carry two NF approved breathalysers at all times, according to the company. The French government hopes to save around 500 lives a year by introducing the new laws, which will encourage drivers who suspect they may be over the limit to test themselves with the kits. The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - substantially less than the UK limit of 80mg.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The number of Britons arrested overseas is on the rise, official figures have shown.

 The Foreign Office (FO) handled 6,015 arrest cases involving British nationals abroad between April 2011 and March 2012. This was 6% more than in the previous 12 months and included a 2% rise in drug arrests. The figures, which include holidaymakers and Britons resident overseas, showed the highest number of arrests and detentions was in Spain (1,909) followed by the USA (1,305). Spanish arrests rose 9% in 2011/12, while the United States was up 3%. The most arrests of Britons for drugs was in the US (147), followed by Spain (141). The highest percentage of arrests for drugs in 2011/12 was in Peru where there were only 17 arrests in total, although 15 were for drugs. The FO said anecdotal evidence from embassies and consulates overseas suggested many incidents were alcohol-fuelled, particularly in popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Balearics (which include Majorca and Ibiza), Malta and Cyprus. Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne said: "It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law. "The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. While we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country's legal system. "We find that many people are shocked to discover that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot get them out of jail. We always provide consular support to British nationals in difficulty overseas. However, having a British passport does not make you immune to foreign laws and will not get you special treatment in prison."

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

High Court Judges to lose Their bodyguards

"This can not be right. They can not just do this from one day to the next," said one judge High Court on Monday after learning the bodyguards That Were Being Assigned To him taken away. The Interior Ministry HAS BEGUN ITS plan to massively reduce the number of bodyguards Assigned to Judges, Prosecutors and other Officials, High Court sources said. The Reductions, Including the elimination of Government vehicles for Some Officials, are to start in September Taking effect from today. Among Those Who will be left without protection are three anti-corruption Prosecutors who are Investigating the Russian Mafia Currently the Gürtel and Contracts-for-kickbacks case. It was the High Court's chief criminal judge, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who Informed His colleagues of the Government's decision. The Reasons? The Government no longer feels pressured by ETA, Which Announced an end to attacks last fall, and the move is part of overall cost-cutting Measures ordered by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. INITIALLY, Grande Marlaska, High Court Chief Judge Angel Juanes, chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza and Judge Jose Luis de Castro, who covers penitentiary issues, will keep Their bodyguards and official vehicles. The rest of the Judges and Prosecutors will now Have to go to work unprotected and by Their Own means. Interior's decision will Radically change the Manner in Which protection is afforded to Courtrooms Interior's decision, if it is finally Implemented across the High Court, will Radically change the Manner in Which protection is afforded to Courtrooms. Until now, judge and prosecutor Each four police officers HAD Assigned to Them, as well as a vehicle. Some Judges Say That They Will the only protection is now Have Regular surveillance of Their homes. The High Court Judges and Its Prosecutors intendant to file a note of protest With The Interior Ministry, the sources said. Their colds are among a complaint That Neither Justice nor the Interior Ministry Officials to Assess Whether made evaluations at Risk Before They Were Deciding to Eliminate bodyguards. The decision to Affect también said the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) legal watchdog and the Supreme Court. In a statement released on Monday, Prosecutors Say That state has not yet ETA disbanded and the Danger Posed by That terrorists still exists. According To Interior Ministry estimates, police officers who 1.010 Some Were serving as bodyguards will be reassigned to other Duties.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Bloods gang member from Paterson gets 89 months in prison

federal judge Wednesday sentenced Michael McCloud, of Paterson, to 89 months in prison for his role with the Fruit Town Brims, a set of the Bloods that authorities said terrorized a section of Paterson for years through violent activities connected to dealing drugs. McCloud, 26, also known as “Ike Brim,” was the second Bloods member to be sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler for their part in a broad racketeering conspiracy to sell narcotics in Paterson and Newark. Chesler Tuesday sentenced Ricky Coleman, also known as “Pool Stick” and “Sticks,” 39, of Newark, to 151 months for a range of violent crimes and racketeering. McCloud was among 15 alleged members and associates of the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims charged in a 20-count federal indictment with racketeering, murder and other crimes. He was arrested by federal agents in Passaic in January 2011 and pleaded guilty to the RICO conspiracy charge in August. In his guilty plea, McCloud admitted to selling crack cocaine to an undercover officer on August 30, 2006, together with two other members of the gang. McCloud also admitted to participating in two robberies in Paterson in 2006. In the first robbery, McCloud and another gang member who was armed with an AK-47 broke up a dice game and took drugs, cell phones and money. In the second, McCloud worked with other gang members to commit a robbery in retaliation for the shooting of an associate by a member of a rival gang. In the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa L. Jampol said the Fruit Town Brims had asserted a powerful control of a section of Paterson, centered at the intersection of 12th and 22nd streets. The gang members transformed this section into an area “that was completely uninhabitable,” to the point that residents were too afraid to leave their homes and attend church services, Jampol said. McCloud’s attorney, James Patton, said his client had worked hard to turn his life around, and was working full-time at Domino’s Pizza when he was arrested last January in the RICO sweep. McCloud told Chesler that he couldn’t change the past, but was trying to become a better person for the future. “I’m tired of going in and out of jail,” McCloud said. “I’m tired of letting my family down. And I’m tired of being a failure.” But Chesler was unmoved by this testimony. McCloud’s criminal history is a long one that begins at age 15, and there is nothing to indicate that his repeated contact with law enforcement had done anything to deter the young man from a life of drugs and violence, Chesler said. The sentence – the maximum under federal guidelines, with 36 months subtracted due to time already spent in a state prison – was meant to serve as a deterrent to other gang members engaged in the same activities, Chesler said. “His offenses are horrendous,” the judge said. “He was part of a gang that terrorized citizens of this state.”

Leaders of El Salvador’s Mara street gangs said they are ready to start negotiations with the government toward a permanent peace pact

Leaders of El Salvador’s Mara street gangs said they are ready to start negotiations with the government toward a permanent peace pact following the success of a three-month-old temporary truce that has lowered the Central American country’s murder rate dramatically. The gang leaders said during a ceremony at the Izalco prison to celebrate the first 100 days of the truce that they want the government to offer job programs or some other sort of aid to gang members in exchange. “We want to reach a definitive ceasefire, to end all the criminal acts of the gangs,” said Mara 18 leader Oscar Armando Reyes. “But we have to reach agreements, because we have to survive. There was talk of job plans, but we haven’t gotten any answers, and it is time for the government to listen to us.” Mr. Reyes said the gangs weren’t thinking of ending the temporary truce. “We are issuing a call for us all to sit down and have a dialogue, to reach a definitive accord,” he said. There was no immediate response from the government. Former leftist guerrilla commander Raul Mijango and Roman Catholic Bishop Fabio Colindres mediated a truce between the Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18 gangs in March that has helped lower homicide rates. Mr. Mijango said the country’s homicide rate has dropped from about 14 murders a day in March to about five a day in early June. “This effort has saved the lives of more than 850 innocent Salvadorans,” Mr. Mijango said. An estimated 50,000 Salvadorans belong to street gangs that deal drugs, extort businesses and kill rivals. Gang leaders say they want to stop the violence that has given El Salvador one of the highest murder rates in the world, behind neighbouring Honduras. In April, authorities rejected a proposal that El Salvador’s gangs receive the subsidies the government currently spends on public transportation in exchange for gang members stopping extortion of bus drivers.

Indicted gang member arrested

last of 27 alleged gang members indicted in April was arrested Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Marshals Service. Darius Smith was taken into custody around 3 p.m. after authorities found him on James Street, officials of the service said. The indictment, handed up April 3, alleges that Smith, 29, conspired to sell more than 280 grams of cocaine and heroin. He was to appear Wednesday in U.S. District Court. Smith was allegedly a member of the Uptown, or Gunners, gang. In an April news conference, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said the gang used guns to terrorize the neighborhood and its members marked buildings in the Central State Street neighborhood with graffiti to mark their territory. The investigation led to the arrests of 27 alleged gang members listed on the indictment; 23 were arrested

Malvern Crew gang member ordered deported

An accused member of the notorious Malvern Crew street gang has lost a last-ditch bid to stay in Canada and is being deported to his native Jamaica for criminality. Raoul Andre Burton, 28, of Toronto, was one of 65 suspected members of the east-end gang rounded up in May 2004 by Toronto Police in Project Impact. Members of the gang were involved in a rivalry with the Galloway Boyz over turf in 2003 and 2004 that left four people dead. Burton was charged with nine offences and sentenced to eight-months in jail along with a 165-day stint of pre-sentence custody. He pled guilty to participating in a criminal organization, known as the Malvern Crew, and two counts of drug possession and trafficking that made him inadmissable to Canada Officers of the Canada Border Services Agency have been trying for years to deport Burton, who arrived here from Jamaica at age 10 and never obtained citizenship. Lawyers for Burton sought to appeal the deportation order to the Federal Court of Canada, but Judge David Near dismissed the application which means Burton will be sent packing. “Mr. Burton was right in the thick of things, an active member of the Malvern Crew, actively participating in the activities of the organization,” Near said in his June 11 decision. “He may have occupied a rather influential or responsible place in the organization.” Near said Burton’s involvement with the Malvern Crew was “significant.” “He was obviously fully integrated and well-invested into the organization,” Near wrote. “He was also prepared to engage in criminal activities on a significant scale for the benefit of the organization.” Police gang experts said Burton was a loyal Malvern foot-soldier who was a “good money-earner” for the gang. Officers said the gang was involved in the trafficking, importation and distribution of drugs as well as other crimes, including murder.

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