A task force involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies continues its crackdown on gang activity in Syracuse. YNN's Bill Carey said the latest chapter of the story involves a gang that investigators claim was particularly violent.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Just another hip-hop video on Youtube. But, in this case, police said it was truly gangster. The video featuring members of the V-NOT Gang, a group that began selling marijuana on the city's Southside in the last decade, graduating to distribution of crack cocaine.
They drew the attention of a special joint local-federal task force focused on gang violence.
Richard Hartunian, U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of New York said, “V-NOT gang members protected their territory and prevented drug sales by rival gang members by engaging in extreme acts of violence.
The Bricktown Gang had already been taken down by the feds, but it was conflict between Bricktown and V-NOT which kept investigators busy in recent month.
October, 2010. Rivals of the rival Bricktown and V-NOT gangs gather at what used to be Johnny B's Jukebox on North Geddes Street. A fight breaks out. A member of the V-NOT gang is stabbed. Later that night, members of V-NOT retaliate, firing an AK-47 at the home of a Bricktown member. And the war was underway.
What followed were months of attack and counter attack between the two groups. Culminating in the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander in April of 2011, high school football star, Kihary Blue.
Hartunian said, “The V-NOT Gang, the Bricktown Gang, the other gangs that we have addressed in this city, poison our streets with violence and all manner of crime. They use violence to control neighborhoods. They boost their illegal money making activities, which include selling guns and drugs. Their victims, many times, are innocent people.
Syracuse Police Chief, Frank Fowler said, “The city of Syracuse is a much safer place right now than it was yesterday.”
The joint task force producing an indictment under the anti-racketeering statute changing a total of 11 V-NOT gang members for involvement in everything from murder to drug trafficking to witness tampering. The 11 now facing potential terms of life imprisonment, if they are convicted.
It is the 6th gang targeted in the city. But not the last.
Fowler said, “We will find ourselves here three months from now, 6 months from now, talking about another group. Unless the people out there that are involved in this type of activity, get it. You have an opportunity today to get it. And if you don't get it, then guess what. We're coming after you.”
Close to 100 law enforcement personnel carried out morning raids that led to the arrest of 6 of the suspects named in the indictment. The remaining five were already behind bars.