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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jacoby: Transnational Gangs Pose Regional Threat



By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2014 – Transnational criminal gangs based in Mexico and Central America pose a threat to the region, Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., the commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado yesterday.

The response to the threat has been increased cooperation between the United States and Mexico, Jacoby said.

U.S. Northern Command is a post-9-11 creation dedicated to protecting the homeland. It has geographic responsibility for North America and the Bahamas.

Transnational criminal gangs and associated networks are responsible for many of society’s ills, Jacoby said.

“If you are not worried about the drugs and the 40,000 dead Americans and what they do to our youth” then people should worry about organizations “so ruthless, so violent, so powerful” that they have virtual freedom of movement on the U.S. southern border, he said.

Jacoby said such criminal gangs and organizations can smuggle anything from drugs to guns to unaccompanied children.

“Children are just another product to them,” he said, noting these organizations have undermined and threatened the governance of U.S. partners throughout Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico.

And these gangs are a network, he said. They cooperate when they need to. And the general said he personally believes there is plenty of evidence of links between terrorists and criminal organizations.

“We have learned that the best way to fight a network is with a network,” he said. “Counter-network tactics, techniques, procedures, collection are called for in effective dealing with cartels and other criminal organizations.”

DoD personnel play a role in interdicting drugs in what professionals call the transit zone. There have been record numbers of drug seizures, but officials really have little idea of the impact they are making.

“[The drug cartels] are more powerful, they are more globally interconnected, they are making more money and they are more violent than they ever have been,” Jacoby said.

Meanwhile, he said, efforts designed to shut down these criminal networks continue.

“We know how to take a network apart,” Jacoby said. “We know what the access targets are.” These, he said, are the financiers, logisticians, and operators. All aspects of the network must have pressure placed on them.

The fear calculus in Mexico and Central America is completely wrong, he said. “It’s the Mexican people and the Moms and Dads in Honduras who are afraid, not the criminals,” Jacoby said. “We have to flip that.”

U.S. and Mexican officials need to reevaluate their plans and procedures used to deter international crime networks , he said. “How is our cooperation between law enforcement and the intelligence community,” he asked. The level of cooperation between intelligence and operatives in Afghanistan and Iraq to take down terror networks, the general said, was much closer than it is in the United States.

And the United States and Mexico are having these conversations. In 2006, then-Mexican President Felipe Calderone put the military on the street to combat the cartel violence. The Mexican military turned to the United States to ask for assistance, cooperation and teaming.

This was a sea change in the military-to-military relationship.

The cooperation continued when current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto took office.

The military-to-military relationship is still growing, and like any relationship there are fits and starts. “We trained with more than 5,000 Mexican soldiers this year,” Jacoby said.

Mexican military officials also worked with Northcom on their strategy for their border with Guatemala.

And there’ve been some impressive results. Mexican authorities removed the kingpins of the Sinaloa, Zeta and the Gulf cartels.

The U.S. and Mexican militaries learn together, Jacoby said.

“What we’ve cooperated on has helped the Mexican military modernize and become more effective at all of the tasks that they’ve set out for themselves,” he said.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Portrait of an active shooter

by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs


7/24/2014 - RAF CROUGHTON, United Kingdom  -- A thin sliver of light shone through the break between two heavy, dark curtains. No one saw, no one noticed the slight, almost imperceptible, movement of fabric.

Everyone's attention was focused at the base of the stage where Col. Douglas Mellars, 422nd Air Base Group commander, was briefing Airmen on changing the leadership culture on RAF Croughton, United Kingdom.

Behind the curtain, an eye peered out - scanning the crowd and silently waiting.

"You don't care. None of you care about me!"

The woman behind the curtain squeezed the grip of her M4 carbine and thumbed the selector to "auto." She felt the rage inside her boil over as she stared at the sea of faces - blaming them and the world for everything wrong with her life. Without another thought, she burst from behind the curtain, attacking the crowd below and launching the Airman of RAF Croughton into a multi-installation, multi-national active shooter exercise, July 22.

"As an active shooter I would want to take out as many people as I can," said Tech. Sgt. Ajenna Smith, 422nd Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer of training and simulated-active shooter. "I would be angry - angry at the military. They are doing force reductions, I'm on the board and don't want to get kicked out of the military."

Using recent changes in force management as her motivation, Smith painted a picture of herself as a troubled individual, isolated, angry and ready to violently lash out against the world. As an active shooter, Smith was not expecting to survive the incident.

"I know that if I survive I am going to jail," she said. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life in prison. If they don't kill me I'm going to kill myself."

Smith used the chaos to move from her hiding spot behind the stage. She stalked the grounds of RAF Croughton, hunting down more victims. Meanwhile, nearly 62 miles away, inside the projection booth a RAF Alconbury, Tech. Sgt. Leegale Irving, 501st Combat Support Wing ground safety manager and simulated-active shooter, was waiting for his moment to strike.

"I gave you 16 years and you're just going to throw me away!"

Irving's breathing became more agitated as he listened to the 423rd Air Base Group Commander, Col. Steven Sweeney, give his own all-call. Looking out over the crowd below, Irving no longer saw Airmen, friends and coworkers - he only saw targets.

"I would have thought this process out," he said. "There are individuals or groups I would feel a certain way toward. They are my targets, but at the same time anything that gets in my way becomes an obstacle to get through."

According to Irving, this attack would be the result of several factors leading him to an outburst of extreme violence. Any recent life-changing events, from non-judicial punishment to wrongdoing that left the shooter feeling they had a grudge against an individual, group or organization. These trigger signs could be personal or professional in nature, resulting in an individual feeling the only recourse is to engage in an active-shooter campaign.

"Day-to-day people could see changes in my mood or behavior," Irving said. "I might distance myself from my normal crowd of friends to the point where it is obvious to others. Disgruntled feelings and signs of aggression could also come out in my behavior before the incident."

This constant, negative display of emotion, if noticed and reported by friends, family or coworkers could mean the difference between an individual getting the help they needed, or opening fire into a crowded theater, Irving said.

Unfortunately, neither Smith nor Irving's warning signs were recognized. They planned, plotted and coordinated their actions through social media communication. They waited for the perfect moment and struck with devastating precision, leaving seven people dead - including themselves.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Justice Department Issues Joint Statement of Principles with City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Reform Albuquerque Police Department

The Justice Department today announced it has signed a joint statement of principles with the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, that reflects the good-faith intent of both sides to enter into a court-enforceable agreement to reform the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).  The joint statement of principles publicly specifies the measures that the department and the city are undertaking in order to resolve the findings resulting from the department’s investigation into use of force by APD.  On April 10, 2014, following an extensive investigation, the department found reasonable cause to believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including unreasonable deadly force.
 
Following the release of the findings letter the department and the city each separately reached out to numerous stakeholders across Albuquerque to hear their ideas and concerns about the reform of APD.  Attorneys and staff of the department have spoken to police officers, city officials, mental health service providers, advocacy organizations, individuals who have been personally affected by APD’s past conduct and other community members.  The department has held dozens of meetings and met with hundreds of people across the city.  Through these efforts, both sides have gained important insights into officers’ and the community’s concerns that will shape the final agreement.  The department is encouraged by the feedback it has received and is committed to sustainable reforms that will ensure APD delivers services in a manner that respects the rights of residents, promotes mutual confidence between the police and the community and improves public and officer safety.
 
“This agreement marks an important step forward in addressing the unreasonable use of deadly force uncovered in our investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department," said Attorney General Eric Holder.  "The residents of Albuquerque depend on their police department to serve their community with honor and integrity.  In the overwhelming majority of cases, our dedicated local law enforcement officials – who put their lives on the line every day— do just that.  But when misconduct does occur, we will never hesitate to act in order to secure the civil rights of everyone in this country.  As a result of our ongoing action, I am confident that the Albuquerque Police Department will be able to correct troubling practices, restore public trust, and better protect its citizens against all threats and dangers - while providing the model of professionalism and fairness that all Americans deserve.”
 
“We commend the city for engaging in good-faith negotiations to reach a court-enforceable agreement that will ensure sustainable reforms of APD,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “The joint statement of principles provides the community with our commitment to work expeditiously with the city to craft a durable agreement that will resolve our findings and will ensure that APD provides effective and constitutional policing to the people of Albuquerque.”
 
“Since the release of DOJ’s findings letter, we have asked for and received valuable ideas and insights from officers, members of the community, representatives of many organizations, and others who have a stake in the future of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez for the District of New Mexico.  “We are thankful to everyone who has spoken to us.  The anticipated final court-enforceable agreement, which we hope to enter into with the city of Albuquerque, is already stronger because of the input we have received.”
 
The department and city have released the joint statement of principles to inform APD officers and the Albuquerque community that their concerns and ideas have been heard and that their ongoing participation will be critical to achieving sustainable reform.  Specifically, the joint statement of principles announces that the department and the city expect to develop reforms in the eight areas outlined in the department’s findings letter: use of force policies, interactions with individuals with mental illness and other disabilities, tactical units, training, internal investigations and civilian complaints, management and supervision, recruitment and selection of officers, and community engagement and oversight.  The joint statement of principles also indicates that the goal is to reach a court-enforceable agreement that will be overseen by an independent monitor. 
 
During the negotiation process, the department remains interested in obtaining recommendations and information related to reforms from the public.  The department continues to monitor the APD community hotline, which is available for both English and Spanish speakers, 1-855-544-5134 and the APD community email address

Admitted Gang Member Sentenced for Federal Rackerteering Charges



Armando Jose Velasquez, aka “Money,” 27, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced today to serve 305 months in prison on federal racketeering charges relating to a Dec. 3, 2011, attempted murder.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David A. Capp for the Northern District of Indiana made the announcement.   The sentence was imposed today by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.

According to court documents, on Dec. 3, 2011, Velasquez fired a gun into a car being driven by an 18-year-old resident of East Chicago, Indiana, and struck the victim three times.  Velasquez believed that the victim was a rival gang member, but the victim was not actually a gang member and was not involved in any criminal activity.   Velasquez had been previously convicted in the Lake County Superior Court in Indiana of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2005 and was on state parole when he committed the offense.

Velasquez was part of a 24-defendant indictment alleging that members of the Imperial Gangsters committed 14 previously-uncharged homicides: 12 in East Chicago, Indiana, one in Hammond, Indiana, and one in Gary, Indiana.   The indictment also charged a decade-long racketeering conspiracy that involved the attempted murder of 19 other victims and the large scale distribution of cocaine and marijuana.

Velasquez pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity and a firearm offense relating to the Dec. 3, 2011, attempted murder.  Velasquez is one of 22 defendants charged in the indictment to plead guilty.   One defendant, Richard Reyes, was convicted by a jury of murder and conspiracy to commit racketeering activity on Jan. 24, 2014, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 30, 2014.   The remaining defendant is scheduled for trial on Jan. 12, 2015.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, and the East Chicago Police Department, with assistance from the Gary Police Department, the Hammond Police Department and the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program.   This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Bruce R. Hegyi of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Nozick of the Northern District of Indiana.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 27 in the Fordham/Kingsbridge Neighborhoods of the Bronx, Including 20 Members and Associates of the Trinitarios Street Gang, with Narcotics and Firearms Offenses



Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), James J. Hunt, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), Thomas Cannon, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced charges today against 27 individuals who sold narcotics and used guns in the Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx, 20 of whom were members and associates of the Trinitarios street gang (the “Trinitarios” or the “Gang”).

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, for approximately five years, members and associates of the Trinitarios maintained a vise-like grip on narcotics trafficking in the Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx, and controlled their territory through violence. Gangs like the Trinitarios are a cancer on New York’s neighborhoods – both in the physical harm they inflict and the atmosphere of despair they create. Today’s arrests again demonstrate this Office’s commitment to eradicating the scourge of gangs throughout the Southern District of New York and to giving back to residents the peaceful enjoyment of their communities.”

NYPD Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “Gangs and illegal drug trafficking compromise the quality of life in our communities. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the
investigators and prosecutors involved in this case, their operation has been shut down and they will be brought to justice.”

DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “Residents of Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx were unwilling victims of gun violence and intimidation imposed by the Trinitarios gang’s drug operations. This operation is the epitome of law enforcement collaboration between the US Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York, New York City’s Finest, local and federal law enforcement to combat gang violence and reclaim these neighborhoods from drug trafficking.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas Cannon said: “The arrests today mark the latest collaborative efforts of law enforcement against the scourge of gang violence, in particular the alleged criminal activities of members and associates of the Trinitarios. This investigation, which spans many years and has resulted in the arrests of over 100 gang members, continues to uncover the wanton violence and extensive narcotics trafficking this criminal organization and its associates committed with impunity on the streets of New York. The ATF is grateful to our law enforcement partners at the DEA, HSI, the NYPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their investigative focus and dedication throughout. Today, New York City residents can rest knowing that members of the Trinitarios responsible for victimizing the citizens of New York City and beyond have been brought to justice.”

ICE HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr. said: “Today’s arrest disrupt the illegal drug trafficking and violence of TREY 18, a particularly dangerous contingent of the Trinitarios criminal street gang. HSI is committed to working collaboratively across all levels of law enforcement to combat the violence and chaos caused by transnational criminal organizations such as the Trinitarios."

Two Indictments (“Indictment One” and “Indictment Two”) and a Complaint were unsealed today in Manhattan federal court.

According to Indictment One, from approximately 2009 to the present, the Trinitarios operated in the Fordham and Kingsbridge neighborhoods of the Bronx, among other locations. The Trinitarios operating in these neighhorhoods during this time period were members of two related “sets,” or factions of the Gang, called the “18 Treys” and “Greenbridge.” Members of the 18 Treys and Greenbridge sets, and their associates, committed acts of violence, such as shootings, against rival gangs – such as the “Eden Boys” gang – in order to protect their drug-trafficking operation, and to protect fellow members and associates of the Trinitarios. Members and associates of the 18 Treys and Greenbridge sets controlled drug trafficking in the Fordham and Kingsbridge neighborhoods of the Bronx. ANDY SOSA, a/k/a “Sosa Gucci Prada,” and NELSON VERAS, a/k/a “Monkey,” a/k/a “Monkey White,” were leaders of the Trinitarios in these neighborhoods. MICKEY VALDEZ, a/k/a “Mikey,” was one of the shooters on behalf of the Gang, enforcing the Gang’s control over these neighborhoods, as well as the Gang’s drug trafficking, through violence.

ANDY SOSA, a/k/a “Sosa Gucci Prada,” MICKEY VALDEZ, a/k/a “Mikey,” NELSON VERAS, a/k/a “Monkey,” a/k/a “Monkey White,” OSCAR ALMANZAR, a/k/a “Heavy,” JIMMY KELLY, AKBAR HUSSAIN, a/k/a “AK,” DARWIN AYALA, a/k/a “Fatulo,” JOSHUEL RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Alpa,” MIGUEL CARELA, a/k/a “Bone,” a/k/a “Bonet,” JUSTIN RAMIREZ, a/k/a “E.T.,” JAMES PAULINO, LUCAS CHAJECKI, a/k/a “Luc,” OMAURIS CABRERA, a/k/a “Oh Boy,” EDWIN MERCEDES, a/k/a “Mela,” a/k/a “Melasas,” CHRISTOPHER PEREZ, a/k/a “Flaco,” ARGENIS RODRIGUEZ, ISMEAL VASQUEZ, a/k/a “Ish,” MICHAEL ALVARADO, a/k/a “Dirt,” JORGE ARTILES, and ARGENIS HENRIQUEZ, a/k/a “Shysty,” are charged in Indictment One with conspiring to sell cocaine, heroin, crack, marijuana, oxycodone, and suboxone. SOSA, VERAS, RODRIGUEZ, CARELA, and RAMIREZ are also charged with carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm, and aiding and abetting the same, in connection with the charged narcotics conspiracy.

In Indictment Two, FRANCIS SANTOS, a/k/a “Lucky,” MANUEL SANTOS, and RALPHAEL GERMAN, a/k/a “Capo,” are charged with selling cocaine and marijuana in the vicinity of Andrews Avenue in the Bronx.

In the Complaint, SAGE PEREZ, a/k/a “Mango,” DANIEL BERROA, a/k/a “Bucks,” YAMIL LUNA, a/k/a “Skillz,” and JULIAN REYNOSO, a/k/a “Juju,” are charged with selling marijuana in the vicinity of West Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.

During the arrests, agents and officers seized, among other evidence, prescription pills, heroin, and narcotics packaging paraphernalia. To date, in this case, agents and officers have seized, among other evidence, numerous firearms with ammunition, two machetes, multiple knives, and quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy.

In a coordinated strike, 19 defendants were arrested in New York late last night and early this morning. They will be presented later this afternoon in Manhattan federal court. OMAURIS CABRERA is already in federal custody on a separate narcotics charge, and remains in custody. FRANCIS SANTOS, OSCAR ALMAZAR, EDWIN MERCEDES, and ARGENIS HENRIQUEZ are already in custody on state charges. As of the time of this press release, the following defendants are still being sought: Nelson Veras, Michael Alvarado, Jorge Artilles, Justin Ramirez, Argenis Rodriguez, Lucas Chajecki, and Manuel Santos. A chart identifying each defendant, the charges, and the maximum penalties is attached to this release. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

The indicted cases are assigned to U.S. District Judge Michael H. Dolinger.

Today’s charges stem from a long-term investigation, “Operation Patria,” conducted by federal and local law enforcement officers working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The charges unsealed today come approximately two years after the filing of the initial indictment in this case, which charged 50 members and associates of the Trinitiarios Gang with racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses, and approximately one year after the superseding indictment, which charged 26 additional defendants with nine murders. A total of 104 defendants have been charged in this case between the original indictment and the charges unsealed today. Aside from those defendants charged today for the first time in this case, all but 18 of those defendants have already been convicted at trial or by guilty plea.

In addition, in 2009 and 2010, this Office charged a combined 43 members and associates of the Manhattan faction of the Trinitarios Gang with racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms offenses. All of those individuals have pleaded guilty to charges associated with that case, including the May 2012 guilty pleas of Jonathan Feliz, who was alleged to have been the leader of the Manhattan faction of the Trinitarios Gang, to a mandatory minimum term of 30 years in prison for racketeering offenses committed in connection with his leadership of the Gang, and Louinsky Minier, also one of the Gang’s leaders, to charges related to the November 23, 2006, murder of Roy Abreu, which occurred on 162nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan.

Since 2009, this Office has charged at least a combined 147 members and associates of the Trinitarios Gang, including Leonides Sierra, a/k/a “Junito,” the Gang’s national leader, who pled guilty.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA, the NYPD, the ATF, and HSI/ICE. He added that the investigation is continuing.

The Office's Violent and Organized Crime Unit is overseeing the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Maimin and Justina Geraci are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictments and Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monroe Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms



MONROE, La. – A Monroe resident was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for illegal possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of firearms, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today.

Corey Moses, 36, of Monroe, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert G. James, for one count of possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. According to evidence presented at the November 15, 2013 guilty plea, Sterlington police officers stopped the vehicle Moses was driving for speeding on December 9, 2010. Moses consented to a search of the vehicle, and police found marijuana, two 9 mm pistols and one .380 caliber pistol. The two 9 mm pistols were stolen from another person. Moses had been previously convicted in Monroe of theft in 1996 and burglary in 1997. He was also convicted in October of 2007 in Providence, R.I., of carrying a firearm by a person convicted of a felony.

“Felons carrying weapons is a violation of federal law,” Finley stated. “The defendant’s situation was further complicated by also possessing an illegal substance and had stolen the weapons. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to vigorously prosecute felons who possess firearms while in possession of illegal drugs. Under our Project Safe Neighborhood Program, we have joined with our state and local partners to assure that convicted felons like Moses are identified, arrested and prosecuted. Our goal is to remove convicted felons, violent offenders, drug traffickers and others who carry and use firearms from our streets and neighborhoods. We want to make sure that each citizen feels safe and secure.”

The Sterlington Police Department, West Monroe Police Department, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie Jr. prosecuted the case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide program to reduce violence by aggressively enforcing existing federal firearms and explosives laws.

17 Schuele Boys Gang Members and Associates Charged with Drug Trafficking



BUFFALO, N.Y. — U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that 17 members and associates of the Schuele Boys Gang, a group which operated in the Schuele Street area of the East Side of Buffalo, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. The defendants are also charged with unlawful use of a communication facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $10,000,000.

“At a time when the entire region is experiencing a rebirth of hope and positive change, there are those who would harm the community through narcotics trafficking and acts of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “As today’s operation demonstrates, law enforcement stands ready and able to identify and remove these threats to the public.”

Charged in the complaint are:

    Antwan Garner, 29, Buffalo
    Aaron Glenn, 41, North Tonawanda
    Jerome Grant, 33, Buffalo
    James Hicks, 44, Buffalo
    Xavier Hill, 42, Buffalo
    Demetrius Holmes, 23, Buffalo
    Damario James, 32, Buffalo
    Fred Johnson, 21, Buffalo
    Ikeem Lyons, 21, Buffalo
    Benjamin Peoples, 25, Buffalo
    Damario Robbins, 23, Buffalo
    Michael Robertson, 24, Buffalo
    Spencer Rogers, 50, Buffalo
    Antwon Steward, 31, Buffalo
    Shawntorrian Travis, 34, Buffalo
    Andre Wise, 36, Buffalo
    Marcel Worthy, 30, Buffalo
    

Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser, who is handling the case, stated that according to a complaint, during the summer of 2010, the Schuele Boys Gang, including defendant Marcel Worthy who is the alleged leader of the gang, were the targets of a mass shooting at the City Grill in downtown Buffalo. During the shooting, eight people were shot, four fatally. At the time, law enforcement officers believed that Marcel Worthy was a kilogram quantity cocaine trafficker.

The ensuing investigation utilized wire and electronic communications, confidential sources, controlled purchases of narcotics, and physical and video surveillance, to identify conspirators associated with the Schuele Boys Gang distribution network. The complaint further states that in addition to buying and selling illegal narcotics, the defendants were also involved in committing acts of violence including shootings.

The members and associates are alleged to have attempted to thwart law detection by law enforcement officers through the frequent changing of cellular telephones. The defendants also are alleged to have used other counter-surveillance techniques, including utilizing and frequently changing rental vehicles, employing evasive driving techniques, and speaking in coded language.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force which includes representatives of the Amherst Police Department; the Buffalo Police Department; U.S. Border Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Cheektowaga Police Department; the Erie County Sheriff’s Department; the Hamburg Police Department; the Lancaster Police Department; the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police; the New York State Department of Correctional Services; the New York State Police; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. Additional assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the United States Marshal Service, the Lackawanna Police Department, and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.