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Thursday, 31 January 2008

Leon Johnson

On Bank Holiday Monday 29 May 2006,Leon Johnson flew into Liverpool airport and, together with others, drove into the middle of a Caribbean festival which was taking place in Broadfield Park, Moss Side.
Within minutes a shooting occurred between rival gangs, including Johnson.
SOCU officers who witnessed the incident were able to provide vital evidence.
After a joint investigation between Lancashire Constabulary and GMP Johnson was arrested and charged with serious firearms offences.

"a leading light in a gang of armed thugs" has today been jailed for firearms offences.
The judge at Manchester Crown Court directed that the custodial period for Leon Johnson, of Annis Street, Preston, should be nine years and eight months.
It comes after Lancashire police carried out a covert investigation into gun crime across Preston.
Operation Decathlon was set up in February 2006 by officers from Lancashire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) who targeted 30 year old Leon Johnson.
Johnson was a known member of Manchester's 'Young Gooch Crew' who became a resident on Preston's Callon Estate.
Johnson was found guilty of those offences after a 14 day trial in November, during which SOCU officers from Lancashire Constabulary gave evidence.
Superintendent Dave Brian, from Lancashire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: "This is an excellent result for the communities of Greater Manchester but also for the people of Preston.

"The conviction of Johnson should serve as a warning that Lancashire Constabulary will pursue vigorously those who threaten our communities by carrying and using firearms."
In summing up, Judge Gee QC, said: "Johnson was a danger to the public and it was quite clear in the evidence given that he was a leading figure of the 'Young Gooch Crew' and a soldier loyal to this gang.
"He was a significant risk who would have carried out serious harm to other gang members and more importantly to our law abiding members of the public.
"It was for pure good fortune that no members of the public were seriously injured or killed on the day in question."
Detective Sergeant Dave Rimmer, from Lancashire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, added: "I am delighted with the outcome of this trial and also the judge's comments.
"Gun crime is incredibly serious but it is being dealt with robustly by Lancashire Constabulary and this conviction reflects that.
"Today's result also highlights a fantastic joint investigation involving two North West forces who are committed to tackling gun crime."

Ruben "Nite Owl" Castro,Shatto Park Locos , Hoover Locos

Ruben "Nite Owl" Castro, 46, a leader of the Mexican Mafia prison gang who authorities said controlled the two cliques of the 18th Street gang targeted in the indictment, the Shatto Park Locos and the Hoover Locos.
Castro allegedly ran the enterprise from the Administrative Maximum facility in Florence, Colo., where he is serving a life term after being convicted on similar gang racketeering charges in 1997.
With the highest level of security in the nation, the Supermax houses Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, shoe-bomber Richard Reid and 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui.
Under constant surveillance, Castro had to use cryptic phone conversations and hidden messages to get his directives to his deputies on the streets, who are described in court papers as "shot callers."
At least two letters seized by the FBI were scrawled in thick pencil marks, which when erased revealed tiny messages written with a fine-point pen.
"We have a couple letters with significant messages to the shot callers on how to direct things," Riordan said.
Castro mostly relayed his messages through his girlfriend, Jesusita Ramirez, 62, who served as an intermediary between him and the street lieutenants, prosecutors said.
Letters from prisoners are supposed to be screened by prison officials. But Castro's hidden messages apparently were able to get out of the prison undetected, officials said.
From the same prison, members of the Aryan Nation gang were able to send orders for killings and other crimes using a complicated system of secret codes, according to testimony at a trial in Orange County earlier this year.
Running Castro's day-to-day operation outside the prison were the shot callers who collected regular "rent" from drug wholesalers and street peddlers, prosecutors allege.
One wholesaler allegedly said that he paid defendant Mervin Nelson Sanchez $1,500 a week to supply dealers in one area.
"Untimely payment of rent to Ruben Castro Organization by a narcotics dealer often resulted in increased rent," according to the indictment, followed by "threatened and actual acts of violence."
Shot callers decided whether the wholesalers and retailers were bringing in enough cash, Riordan said. They told the dealers which wholesalers they had to buy from, and how much per day they had to buy.
When unauthorized dealers moved in, the shot callers gathered weapons to get rid of them, the indictment alleges.
The shot callers didn't have free reign, though, he said; they answered to Castro's girlfriend, Ramirez, who is wanted but still at large.
On one occasion in 2004, according to court documents, she told a shot caller that Castro was angry because drug sales in one neighborhood were down. Castro, she said, believed that the reason was because the shot caller's assistant lived too far from the area, according to court documents.
Much of the estimated half-million dollars a year in proceeds was transferred straight to her, the indictment says, and a small amount went to Castro in prison. Another portion allegedly went to the Mexican Mafia to pay for protection for members of the two 18th Street gang cliques in prison.
Local and federal authorities have been trying for decades to bring down the 18th Street gang, which has about 8,000 members in Los Angeles County alone.
In 2000, federal prosecutors indicted 26 members of the 18th Street clique known as the Columbia Li'l Cycos, which also charged dealers the right to operate.
The group generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits, which it plowed into homes in Burbank and El Monte, a restaurant in South Gate and an auto business in Los Angeles. The case resulted in 26 convictions, Riordan said.
The Los Angeles city attorney's office has obtained three different injunctions against the gang's various cliques. Castro was arrested in 1997 along with other gang leaders in what officials said then was an effort to "cut off the head" of the gang.
But the 18th Street gang has seemed to bounce back each time, often with new recruits.
Based on experience, Riordan said, he expects the latest indictment to put the gang out of action for three years in those neighborhoods. But, he said, other members might eventually fight for control of the area.
In addition to Castro, 10 members and associates of the 18th Street gang were indicted on federal racketeering and conspiracy charges of using threats and violence to control the drug trade.
Both the 18th Street gang and its rival, the Mara Salvatrucha, were born among Central American immigrants in the troubled blocks of apartments west of downtown, and have since grown to tens of thousands of members here, in Central America and, increasingly, across the United States and Mexico.
The U.S. Southern Command, based in Miami, has said the gangs pose one of the biggest threats to security in Central America, and authorities are concerned that the acts of extreme violence seen there — beheadings, tortures, a massacre of 28 people on a bus in Honduras — could begin here.
Though the two gangs mostly are disorganized — with no known leadership — there are signs that they are evolving into something more organized. "In El Salvador, eight different cliques got together and performed a kidnapping extortion recently," the FBI's Robert B. Loosle said.
The indictment is the first time that federal authorities have alleged a conspiracy between two cliques.
Riordan said this type of organization and professionalism generally starts in Los Angeles and spreads.
"We are the cradle," he said.

Gang leader Earnest Copeland

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal authorities have charged the leader and 13 members of a South Florida street gang for organized crime. those charged are members of the gang called Neighborhood Piru or NHP, which has ties with the national organized crime group Bloods. They have committed murders, kidnappings, shootings, assaults, home invasions, robberies and other crimes over the past 18 months.
If convicted of the charge, gang leader Earnest Copeland and each of the other defendants, including his wife Sharlene, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
According to the indictment, Copeland approved shootings and mediated disputes between members. He also took portion of proceeds earned through drug trafficking, robberies and other illegal acts.

Gezin Vukcaj

"execution-style" shooting death of Albanian national.
No arrests have been made in the death of Gezin Vukcaj, whose body was discovered slumped in the front seat of a friend's full-size Hummer on Groesbeck Highway near the Imperial Hall banquet center in Clinton Township.
"We've ruled out robbery and it looks like an execution-style slaying," said Detective Lt. Marc Rybinski.
Authorities suspect drugs or retribution may be a motive in the slaying of Vukcaj, a divorced construction painter who was born in Albania.
Clinton Township investigators are consulting with members of the Balkan Organized Crime Task Force, a panel of local, state and federal law enforcers investigating crimes in Michigan that originated in the Balkan area of Eastern Europe.
The township, like several other communities in the tri-county area, has contributed an officer to the task force, which also includes Michigan State Police troopers and FBI agents. The panel has been in existence for about two years.
Police are hoping task force members may be able to generate leads in the unsolved slaying.
Mark Bowling, supervisor of the FBI's regional office in Macomb County, said he could not comment on the task force's involvement with an ongoing investigation.
Vukcaj's body was found about 2:30 a.m. Monday by a passing motorist, but police theorize the shooting occurred between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The Hummer belonged to a friend of the victim.
The vehicle was parked in front of Tandem Tires next to the banquet hall, where a concert by popular Albanian entertainer Zef Beha was taking place. When the banquet hall's parking lot is filled, the overflow cars often park in front of the tire store.
An autopsy conducted by Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Werner Spitz determined the single gunshot to the back of the victim's head was fired from about three feet away, police said.
Police suspect the shooting may have been retribution for a fatal shooting that took place during a concert inside Imperial Hall in 2004.
In that case, Kin Vukcaj - the brother of Gezin Vukcaj - has been named in an arrest warrant charging him with homicide in connection with the shooting of Ardijan Mitaj, a Hamtramck restaurant owner.
Kin Vukcaj is believed to have flown to Bosnia immediately after the shooting and has never been charged in the 2004 slaying.
Police have ruled out robbery as a motive for Gezin Vukcaj, 32, because his cell phone, cash and wallet were not taken, Rybinski said.
"We've also heard some information that a yellow Hummer had possibly been involved in some drug transactions so we have to look at that connection," Rybinski said. "But the Hummer didn't belong to the victim; it was a buddy's vehicle."
Vukcaj's relatives in Macomb County could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. They have been working with the U.S. Embassy in Albania to work out travel arrangements for relatives to come to Michigan to attend funeral services.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Dimitar Zheliazkov

Bulgaria's most notorious crime bosses, nicknamed "The Eyes", has been jailed for for drug trafficking.
A court in the Black Sea city of Burgas convicted Dimitar Zheliazkov and 11 members of his gang after they pleaded guilty to charges of founding an organised armed group for drug trafficking, a court spokeswoman said.
"For the first time such a key figure from the Bulgarian criminal world has been convicted. This has not happened so far," prosecutor Svetlozar Kostov said on national radio.
Last week, Zheliazkov, 32, and the other 11 men reached an out-of-court agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to the charges. The 11 were jailed for one to five years.
Zheliazkov was sentenced to 4-½ years.
Commentators criticised prosecutors for not seeking the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Zheliazkov had been arrested several times before but prosecutors could not build a successful case against him.
The European Union, which Bulgaria joined in 2007, and the United States have repeatedly urged Sofia to end a climate of impunity and demonstrate the political will to fight crime.
The Balkan country has failed to jail a single criminal for any of 151 gangland killings since 2000.
Crime groups' profits from trade in drugs, stolen cars and trafficking of women are estimated at up to €2.2 billion ($3.66 billion) a year, a report by an independent Bulgarian anti-graft organisation showed last month.

The report by the Centre for the Study of Democracy said organised crime groups were "buying" politicians, magistrates and civil servants to legalise businesses and extend control over lucrative markets.

Texas Mexican Mafia

"The Mexican Mafia is a violent criminal gang. They deal in intimidation. They deal in drugs — heroin and cocaine. They deal in violence, and in this case, they dealt in murder," he said.
The slayings go back to 2000 and occurred in San Antonio, Austin and Atascosa County, a rural county south of San Antonio. Most were unsolved before the racketeering charges, said Sutton.
The victims were mostly members of the Mexican Mafia or rival gangs. In some cases, they were suspected drug dealers indebted to the Mexican Mafia, which authorities say enforces a street tax on drug dealers who work on gang turf.
The defendants were not charged with murder, in part because tying them to a specific crime is harder than proving they ran an operation that committed murder and dealt drugs, Sutton said. Conviction under federal racketeering charges can bring a term of life in prison.
Most of the defendants were already in custody on lesser charges before the Tuesday grand jury indictment, which was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News. By Wednesday morning, 18 were in custody. Another five were still being sought.
None had attorneys listed in U.S. District Court filings.
The investigation that led to Tuesday's indictment included the use of informants and undercover officers over a three-year period, said Sutton, though he declined to release details of the investigation. Other indictments could still be coming, he said.
FBI Special Agent In Charge Ralph Diaz called the indictments, which included alleged generals and lieutenants in the gang, "a very significant hit to the organization."
The Texas Mexican Mafia, allegedly founded by San Antonio native Heriberto "Herb" Huerta in 1984, is the largest gang in the state prison system, but it's not directly related to a California gang of the same name. Huerta and other gang members were later convicted on drug charges.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice tracks the number of Mexican Mafia members in the prison system but doesn't release the numbers because of concerns that it will exacerbate problems with rival gangs in the system, said department spokesman Jason Clark.
Gangs like the Mexican Mafia recruit members inside the prison system as a way to ensure protection, but membership continues even when an inmate is released, said FBI spokesman Eric Vasys. Some members are also recruited among family or friends who not incarcerated.
Outside prison, the gang allegedly deals drugs and extorts people. Members also carry out retaliatory killings or other violence at the orders of bosses, many of whom are still in prison, Vasys said.
The federal racketeering law provides a way for prosecutors to go after gang members even if they didn't directly commit a violent crime.
"You don't have be there to get convicted," Vasys said.
While most of the victims in this week's indictment were gang members or drug dealers, authorities said the crimes affect neighborhoods and innocent family members.
Even if it's "bad guy killing bad guy, it still deteriorates the fabric of the community," said Vasys.

Ten reputed members of a violent Camden street gang

Ten reputed members of a violent Camden street gang have been arrested on drug dealing and racketeering charges stemming from a six-month investigation by a joint state and federal violent-crime drug task force.
Three of the reputed gang members were already facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
The New Jersey Attorney General's Office announced the arrests yesterday in a case that targeted the Nine Trey Headbustas, a faction or "set" of what authorities called a local branch of the Bloods street gang.
The gang allegedly dealt large quantities of crack cocaine and heroin along Broadway in Camden's business district and in the neighborhood around Stevens and Benson Streets, according to a statement released by Attorney General Anne Milgram, who said the group "utilized violence and intimidation to protect its turf."
Federal, state and county law enforcement agencies executed a series of arrests on Friday to wrap up the investigation.
One of those arrested last week was free on bail following his arrest Nov. 29 on charges he conspired to commit murder. At that time, authorities armed with search warrants seized two handguns, $10,000 in cash, three pounds of marijuana, 2.5 ounces of crack cocaine and 500 bagged individual doses of heroin ready for street sale.
The crackdown is the latest in a series of law enforcement actions that have targeted the Bloods, considered one of the largest street gangs in the country.
On Thursday, the FBI announced the arrests of 10 members of the Seven-Nine-Trey Bloods, a Newark, N.J., street gang heavily involved in crack and heroin distribution in that city's south side.
A day later, a federal judge sentenced a leader of Trenton's Sex Money Murder Bloods set to 17 years in prison after he was convicted of conspiring to distribute more than $1 million worth of cocaine.
Fifteen other reputed members of that organization were charged in September with drug dealing as part of a sweeping investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General's Division of Criminal Justice.
Both the division and the federally funded High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Joint Camden Task Force took part in the investigation that led to the arrests announced yesterday.
"We're seeing an increase in gang activity associated with the drug trade," said Jeremiah A. Daley, executive director of HIDTA.
Daley said it was impossible to determine if every group that claimed to be affiliated with the Bloods was part of the national organization. But he cautioned that the gang was prolific, has spread into both cities and suburbs and used violence to expand and protect its drug operations.
While Philadelphia still has many independent operatives in the drug underworld, Daley said, "Camden seems to be morphing over into affiliated groups [such as] the Bloods, the Crips, the Latin Kings."
All those charged in the latest investigation are Camden residents. Two of the 10 were juveniles.
Those previously arrested for conspiracy to commit murder are Juan Vargas, 24; Nathaniel Clay, 30, and Dionoco Adams, 26. Authorities have declined to provide details of their alleged murder plot.
Vargas, who was out on bail, was shot and wounded on Thursday night, authorities said.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Vargas is now charged with being the leader of a narcotics trafficking network, racketeering and conspiring to manufacture and distribute heroin.
Other reputed gang members charged in the case are Kenneth Hands, 30; Hector Archeval, 20; Keith Jones, 40; Jose Vargas, 22; Javiel Ford, 20; and two juveniles, aged 17 and 16, whose names were not released.

Well-planned gangland hits are making murders tougher to solve.

Well-planned gangland hits are making murders tougher to solve, says B.C.'s top cop.
"The gangs are very sophisticated," Solicitor-General John Les said yesterday. "They use up-to-date equipment. Our job is to make sure police have the right tools.
"[But] these targeted gang-related shootings can be very hard to investigate."
Les said he is not concerned about falling success rates at a regional homicide unit based in Surrey.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says its success rate has dropped from 80 per cent in 2003 to 62 per cent in 2006. Success is defined when charges are laid.
"The province needs more integration in respect to homicides," Les said.
He'd like to see Vancouver's large homicide unit join forces with IHIT, which has 17 member jurisdictions from Sechelt to Hope.
Vancouver Police Department's success rate was almost identical with IHIT's in 2006, even though Vancouver's staff isn't as large.
Const. Tim Fanning said charges were laid in 12 of the city's 19 homicides, which works out to a success rate of 63 per cent, one per cent better than IHIT. Investigations are continuing in the remaining seven.
"VPD homicide and IHIT investigate the same types of murders, often related, all within the same regional district," said Fanning.
VPD has two sergeants and 18 investigators, plus five assistants for a total of 25; IHIT, which investigated 43 murders in 2006, has 76 investigators and a total of 96 staff.
Fanning said IHIT has roughly twice as much staff available for each homicide.
Delta's police force has a 75-per-cent success rate investigating a small number of homicides since 2003.
Charges have been laid in six of eight investigations.
"We're very lucky a lot of the gang stuff hasn't happened here," said Const. Paul Eisenzimmer. "If it was, that would affect our stats. They are harder to prove."
Delta police have a proposal before council which recommends joining forces with the regional unit.
"Ultimately, more resources are available to throw at a homicide," said Eisenzimmer. "The gang stuff may not stay away forever."
West Vancouver has left IHIT and assigned its one investigator to Vancouver's homicide team.

Los Zetas

Commonly known as the enforcement branch of a top tier Mexican drug trafficking organization (DTO) known as the Gulf Cartel, the founding members of this elite group of hit men are former Mexican soldiers who, once trained, left the rank and file to earn money protecting the black market economy.
During their tenure as a paramilitary force overseeing the transshipment of multiple tonnes of cocaine across the border into the US, Los Zetas was then given orders and controlled by Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, the former head of the Gulf Cartel now awaiting trial in the US.
The extradition of Cardenas in January 2007 caused a rift in his organization’s structure, removing the one power that had been able to contain Los Zetas and solidifying its status as the real power at the border.
Both before and after this change in leadership, the brazen nature of their attacks could be easily discerned from the day-to-day violence in Mexico. Some corpses left in the wake of a hit had the letter “Z” carved into their backs; standoffs in broad daylight against rival DTOs, police and/or military included hi-tech weaponry such as machine guns and RPGs. Newspapers refer to them as narco-soldiers due to their past military training. Their tactics are smooth and confident and their movements organized.

Los Zetas has seen their status exalted from that of hired goons to full-fledged gatekeepers. And the group is now likely a drug trafficking organization itself, having taken over the Gulf Cartel in a slow but steady process during 2007.
Formerly reserved for members of an elite enforcement unit, the term Zeta has begun to encompass members of the antiquated Gulf DTO, rendering the Gulf Cartel to little more than a name, with Los Zetas running the day-to-day operations from a ground-based standpoint.
Their numbers have been reported in the hundreds, but for Calderon there are now only two that matter. The reputed second in command of Los Zetas, Miguel Treviño Morales, is said to be running Nuevo Laredo’s daily operations, while Heriberto “El Verdugo” Lazcano (The Executioner) is said to be moving between Gulf-controlled cities in Tamaulipas to remain out of site.
It was reported that Lazcano was shot to death in October 2007, but he is now believed to be in the Gulf-controlled state of Tamaulipas, possibly the city of Tampico, the same seaside city where authorities seized 11 tonnes of cocaine in October 2007.
bloody encounter for what has already been a violent year, on 7 January, a van full of gunmen ran a roadblock outside the border town of Reynosa, Mexico. Mexican soldiers and federal police chased the van to a small house across the street from the Reynosa police station. The gun battle began soon after. In the aftermath, 10 suspects were arrested and five policemen were dead. Along with the suspects, Mexican police seized three automatic rifles, an Uzi submachine gun, grenades and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Dozens of murders have resulted from battles between the Mexican security forces and armed criminals along the US-Mexico border since the beginning of this year. It is a spike in violence that has many in the US worried that gun fights may spill across the border, carrying all the reprisals that left a string of Mexican border towns without journalists, mayors, police chiefs and musicians in 2007.
The US Border Patrol has not taken any extra precautions, but is keeping its agents in the field “abreast of the situation,” according to Border Patrol spokesman Oscar Saldana, who recently spoke with ISN Security Watch.
“We’re advising everyone to be on the alert and be extra cautious because of the situation on the Mexican side,” he said.
Others, however, argue that more action must be taken to prevent the establishment of a significant presence of Mexican organized criminals inside the US. However, preparations on the US side of the border are directly linked to a lack of resources from the federal and state levels.
“What has been appropriated is likely spent,” Kent Lundgren, chairman of the National Former Border Patrol Organization, told ISN Security Watch in a recent telephone interview.
And what may come from the federal government in the future will almost certainly be delayed by US presidential elections.
When the lives of officers are at stake, Lundgren said, law enforcement must prepare for the worst case scenario, which could be the possibility that a small group of armed men could cross the border and encounter a patrol cruiser. The resulting firefight would be no contest. The heavily armed Mexican criminals would easily overcome one or two Border Patrol agents most likely armed with only pistols.
“We have seen no indication that law enforcement in South Texas is prepared for the worse case in this matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Mexican government has shifted its posture from reactive to proactive. No longer interested in waiting for Mexican organized crime to strike before responding, Mexican President Felipe Calderón wants to hunt them down, starting with Los Zetas in the northeastern Mexican border state of Tamaulipas.

James Gang,

Obsessed with the lore of the outlaw James Gang, James "Tokie" Caston decided that his first two boys would bear the names of his heroes: Jesse and Frank James. By the time the third son, Sonny, arrived in 1967, the boys' futures were clear. At an early age, Frank Caston recalls, most people in tiny Lake Providence, La., referred to the brothers not as the Castons, but as the "James Gang."
"To be named after the worst outlaw in the country, I think you put a stamp on a person," says Jesse James Caston, 42, who was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in 2000. "We never had a chance."
Their names were symbolic of a troubled upbringing that Jesse and Frank Caston say was marked by abuse and neglect. Today, all three brothers are convicted killers serving life sentences at Louisiana's state prison.
Their story is extraordinary but emblematic of what social scientists and law enforcement officials see as an increasingly complex and persistent problem: people who become criminals in part because of the influence of family members.
Nearly half of the 2 million inmates in state prisons across the USA — 48% — say they have relatives who also have been incarcerated, according to a Justice Department report in 2004, the most recent comprehensive survey of state prison populations.
The portion of those reporting the detention of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, spouses and children has kept pace with the national prison population as it has increased during the past decade. In 1997, 48% of state prisoners also reported that family members had been to prison, according to a Justice Department analysis for USA TODAY based on previous inmate surveys.
Social scientists and law enforcement authorities say the influence of family members may be one of the most important and largely unaddressed factors in determining whether people adopt lives of crime.
"The numbers are amazing," says Oregon psychologist Mark Eddy, who is tracking 400 inmates and their deep familial ties to that state's criminal justice system. Eddy, a principal researcher for the Oregon Social Learning Center, which studies social problems plaguing families, says prison administrators and law enforcement officials only recently have begun to recognize the problem and tried to intervene.
"This is a big issue," Eddy says, "one we need to get a handle on as a society."
Doing so will depend in part on a more complete understanding of the phenomenon, Eddy and other researchers say. Criminologists and sociologists are trying to determine whether criminal wrongdoing is spreading to more families or deepening across generations within the same families.
Family ties are ingrained in just about every part of the nation's criminal justice system. On California's death row, prison spokeswoman Terry Thornton says, there are six sets of brothers among the 667 condemned prisoners awaiting death by lethal injection.
In Texas, which has executed six sets of siblings, there are two sets of cousins on death row. An additional dozen or so death row inmates have relatives serving time in other parts of the state prison system, spokeswoman Michelle Lyons says
In the Castons' case, the issue wasn't an incarcerated family member. It was a collision of poverty and a lack of family support that helped lead the brothers to violent crimes and prison.
James Caston couldn't read very well, but that didn't stop him from collecting every book he could find on the criminal exploits of Jesse James, the legendary outlaw who along with his brother and other members of the "James Gang" robbed banks, trains and stagecoaches after the Civil War.
One of Frank Caston's most vivid memories is of his father asking him to read passages from those books aloud until the elder Caston's curiosity was satisfied for the night.
Those were the good times. The bad times are what the Caston brothers say scarred them for life.
In separate interviews with USA TODAY at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Jesse and Frank Caston, 41, described Gothic-like childhoods during which their father beat them and, after their parents separated, they often were left at early ages to find their own food and places to sleep. (Sonny Caston, 40, declined to be interviewed.)
Both men characterized the breakup of their parents' marriage as perhaps the most life-altering event of their childhood. Frank Caston says he became aware of the split at the age of "7 or 8," when his mother left the house.
Jesse and Frank Caston say their mother took their youngest brother with her and left the other three boys with their father, a local fisherman.
Although the three boys lived briefly with their sickly grandfather, they spent most of their time with their father. From that point on, they say, their lives were marked by near-constant misery.
Their mother declined to comment for this article. Jesse Caston says their father, who he believes did not have a criminal record, died in 2004.
The brothers say they spent five to six nights a week locked out of the house. Some nights were spent with sympathetic neighbors. Other nights, they sought refuge in a local cemetery or in an alley near a commercial laundry, where a sympathetic manager would leave the dryers running so the boys could warm themselves under the outside vents.
Occasionally, Frank Caston says, he slept outside with a family dog, Pony, to keep warm.
"That can put a lot of hate in a person," Jesse Caston says of their upbringing.
At 13, Frank Caston says, he crossed the line, when he and Sonny burglarized a neighbor's home. "We just didn't care anymore," he says. Before they were caught, they splurged on a meal of pork chops and rice with money they took from the home. "It was the first time we ate like that" in a month, he says.
Shortly afterward, Frank Caston says, he and Sonny served two stints in juvenile detention for separate thefts of a truck and a bicycle.
"Daddy said we would end up at Angola by the time we were 18," Frank Caston says.
As it turned out, James Caston wasn't off by very much.
In 1988, Frank, then 22, and Sonny, 21, were sentenced to life in prison in connection with the murder of a local sheriff's deputy during an attempted jail break. The brothers had been jailed on lesser charges when a third suspect helped engineer the escape.
The slain deputy, Jeff Gathings, was on duty alone when he was shot to death with a 12-gauge shotgun during the breakout.
That year, Jesse Caston, then 23, began an eight-year prison sentence for a manslaughter conviction. In 2000, four years after his release, he became the target of an eight-month manhunt that briefly elevated him to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list for the slayings of his wife and her friend.
Jesse Caston confessed to shooting his wife, Angela Caston, in the head, according to court documents. He also admitted fatally shooting her friend, Sharon McIntyre. As part of a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to McIntyre's murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Reviewing his criminal record during the interview, Jesse Caston shakes his head. He has cousins who served prison time, he says, but as far as he knows, many of his other relatives, including his father, "never had a speeding ticket."
The brothers say they do not solely blame their parents for their criminal pasts.
Frank Caston says he could have made better decisions. Says Jesse Caston: "What kind of bad luck ends a man up in here?"
An investigator with the East Carroll Parish district attorney's office and attorneys who have represented Jesse and Frank Caston attest to the boys' particularly rough upbringing.
They also confirmed key aspects of their early lives, based on their own discussions with the brothers or personal contacts with family and those who knew the Castons as children.
Sha Carter, the district attorney's investigator who assisted in the investigation that ended with Jesse Caston confessing to the murders of his wife and her friend, says interviews conducted during the investigation of the killings supported the Castons' account of a difficult upbringing.
Carter, however, rejects the notion that the brothers' experiences as children were to blame for their criminal actions as adults.
"I don't believe their backgrounds had anything to do with it," Carter says. "You have privileged people who do the same thing. I just don't think it's an excuse."
Burl Cain, warden of the sprawling Angola complex, also says he has no reason to doubt the Caston brothers' accounts. What is not in dispute, he says, is that they arrived here as "extremely dangerous" men. "It's real sad."
'Bigger than just a police issue'
The Castons' experience, although extreme, is not all that different from what authorities are battling in places such as Oregon and Boston.
Since 2003, Boston police have assisted the city in an intense review of the crime-plagued neighborhood of Grove Hall in Boston's Dorchester section.
Police Superintendent Paul Joyce says the review found that a relatively small number — 457 — of the neighborhood's 19,000 residents were responsible for an overwhelming portion of law enforcement contacts. From 2000 to 2003, for example, the 457 residents were arraigned nearly 12,000 times.
Further study, Joyce says, led authorities to one family whose contacts with the local criminal justice system spanned five generations.
Joyce says the city identified 11 younger family members — ages 12 to 23 — deemed to be at the most risk. Police, social workers and public health authorities flooded the group with counseling, health and other social services.
"We may have gotten there too late," Joyce says, adding that all but one of the 11 already were "involved with gangs. And nine of the 11 already have been in prison" before the intervention. He hopes the city can get involved early enough to make a larger difference with other families and says authorities are working to identify six more for similar intervention.
"This is much bigger than just a police issue," Joyce says. "It's about thinking differently. If we don't do something, this cycle will just continue."
Eddy, the Oregon psychologist, says most of the 400 inmates in his study, which focuses on their return to their families and young children, also have considerable generational links to crime.
At least 20% of the inmates reported that their mothers had been in prison. At least half said their fathers or siblings had been in prison.
"If you want to break the cycle, the current generation (of family members) has to be linked with education and jobs," Eddy says, adding that many need basic information on how to be good parents.
Porter, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administrator, says the federal government hopes to expand its new voucher program to link 24,000 children of imprisoned parents with mentors by 2010.
"It's a very complex set of issues," Eddy says.

large-scale 'cannabis factories' hidden in ordinary houses

Sir Stephen Lander, SOCA's chairman, warned that large-scale "cannabis factories" run by Vietnamese and Chinese criminals are springing up across the country.
Home-grown: Vietnamese and Chinese criminal Gangs have set up large-scale 'cannabis factories' hidden in ordinary houses
Hidden in ordinary houses, the factories are producing huge quantities of high- strength skunk cannabis on an "industrial scale".
Sir Stephen told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: "There are wide areas of the country where this is being grown commercially.
"It's not as though people are growing it in a couple of pots on their window sills."
Sir Stephen also expressed concern about the growing number of migrants from outside the EU seeking to exploit lax European border controls to enter Britain.
He revealed that new visa requirements for all South African visitors could be introduced because thousands of illegal immigrants are using the country as a gateway to the UK.
Ministers are to look into current rules whereby all South African passport holders can enter Britain without a visa, after SOCA helped to expose the huge scale of organised document fraud.
Last week, it was revealed at least 6,000 illegal immigrants - mostly poor Indian workers - had been smuggled into the UK via South Africa.
The villagers, who were charged up to £30,000 a time, were given genuine passports which were obtained fraudulently from corrupt officials.
Sir Stephen told MPs that identifying the connection represented an early success for his agency, which was set up in 2006 to tackle the criminal gangs' "Mr Bigs".
Although he admitted SOCA had struggled in its early months to understand patterns of people-trafficking gangs and organised illegal immigration, he insisted it is now having "some success".
Sir Stephen also faced tough questioning over whether the agency is providing value for money for its £440million annual budget.
SOCA has been attacked in recent months over its apparent failure to stem the flood of drugs coming into the UK.
Crime fight: Bill Hughes (left), director-general of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and Sir Stephen Lander, SOCA's chairman, warned of the threat posed by foreign criminals
But he insisted that operations overseas - including successful seizures at sea by the Royal Navy - are starting to have an impact.
He claimed cocaine wholesale prices are £5,000 greater in the UK than in the Netherlands, pointing to a radical reduction in the supply of the drug.
However, he did admit that this had made little difference to street prices and that, increasingly, the drug was being diluted or "cut" with other substances before being sold cheaply on the streets.
During the session, Labour MP David Winnick asked him: "There doesn't seem to be the slightest indication that organised crime in this country is being undermined.
"Master criminals are not going in fear of their lives because of your organisation. Why should the British public consider that you have made the slightest difference?" But Sir Stephen insisted the pay-off from SOCA's new approach would come "in two or three years' time", adding: "We've been going 21 months.
"This is a marathon, not a sprint. We need some time and space to get on with it."
Last night, Home Office immigration minister Liam Byrne said no final decision had been made over whether to force South African visitors to apply for visas.

25 criminal Gangs were busted in the past year, involving more than 400 charges against 176 people and drugs worth $1.5 billion

The Australian Crime Commission yesterday painted a disturbing picture of just how powerful organised crime gangs have become. It said Australians were largely unaware of organised crime's involvement in legitimate business activities. The nation's gigantic superannuation stockpile has even become a major target. The ACC said it was concerned about the association between criminals and potential terrorists. "Terrorists use crime to support their political objectives," the ACC said in its Organised Crime in Australia report, released yesterday. "In Australia, the relationships between criminals and terrorists have generally been short-term and limited to providing specific services, such as false identity documentation, non-traceable communications, and/or money laundering." But the ACC said it was unlikely crime gangs and terrorist groups would forge stronger links, because each wanted to avoid scrutiny.
The ACC report also revealed:
technology has given criminals unprecedented power to organise lucrative crimes across national and international borders.
Gangs of different ethnic backgrounds were putting aside rivalries to commit major crimes together. gangs were sending members to universities to acquire specialist skills.finance experts were being blackmailed or intimidated into committing crimes.
GANGS were gathering intelligence on police, business people and public servants in the hope of forcing them into corruption.
ACC chief executive Alastair Milroy said most Australians were unaware of the high level of organised crime involvement in industry and in the community in general. "(It) pervades all parts of society and the concerning part is that many in business and the community in general do not realise how vulnerable they are to it," Mr Milroy said. "Organised crime is diverse and flexible and encompasses a broad range of industries and activities, including drug trafficking, corruption, violence, fraud, money laundering, hi-tech/cyber crime and other financial sector crimes. "I urge the public and business community to be more aware, better informed, and to take an active role in reporting information on criminal intelligence on organised crime to either the ACC or their local policing service," he said. The ACC wouldn't reveal how many organised crime gangs were entrenched in Australia. But the elite crime body told the Herald Sun in 2004 it had identified 97 syndicates. The ACC said yesterday a growing number of syndicates used the services of professional facilitators and service providers such as migration agents, financial advisers, and accountants. "Their involvement may be as a result of coercion through blackmail and intimidation. "The use of professional facilitators allows crime groups to distance themselves from their criminal activity and avoid the attention of law enforcement agencies." - Herald Sun news

Gang of 49, assaults and robberies were at Christies Beach, Brighton, Somerton Park and Kurralta Park.

Assaulted and bashed by men who are believed to be members of the so-called Gang of 49.
Adelaide police say five men were involved in nine violent attacks over two hours late last night.
A 19-year-old woman who does not want to be identified says she was walking home with her mother after using an autoteller machine on Prospect Road when they were approached by two men demanding money.
The pair refused to hand over a handbag.
"They threw my mum to the ground and they were just hitting her in front of me and I couldn't stop them," the teenager said.
"They were just hitting her and hitting her and I didn't know what to do.
"They were dragging her along the ground and I tried to fight them off but I couldn't."
Police say five offenders assaulted a woman outside the Entertainment Centre at Hindmarsh.
The men also tried to steal a car from a woman at the corner of Sturt and Marion Roads.
Another target was a taxi driver at Noarlunga Hospital who was forced from his car and bashed.
His taxi was stolen but then returned.
Other assaults and robberies were at Christies Beach, Brighton, Somerton Park and Kurralta Park.
Police were also called to Croydon where a man was bashed and his car stolen. It was found hours later.
A Magna used by the offenders was found dumped at Wingfield.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The Durban Bloody Brawl Gang

gang of young men from affluent Durban families trashed an upmarket pub, leaving two people seriously injured and causing damage estimated at thousands of rands.
The bloody brawl, captured by closed-circuit camera, lasted more than two hours at the Hillcrest franchise of the trendy Franki Bananaz pub in the early hours of Thursday.
The pub's management said police failed to respond to their calls despite the station being only about 200m away.
In CCTV footage, traumatised patrons watch from inside as the group of 10 to 12 men, mostly in their 20s and carrying baseball bats and golf clubs, throw chairs at the pub's windows.
A male patron, as well as one of the pub's managers, who have both asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, underwent surgery after sustaining cuts to their heads.
The cause of the attack is still a matter of conjecture.
While some Hillcrest locals reported that the fight may have been ignited by the turning away of an Indian man from the venue on New Year's Day, leading him to return with friends to avenge the rejection, others said it was in retaliation for bouncers roughing up the patrons.

18-person crime ring

18-person crime ring that may be responsible for the theft of up to $100 million worth of medicine and health and beauty goods from convenience and grocery stores statewide, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Thursday.The investigation started with two shoplifters at a Publix supermarket on Shepherd Road in Lakeland on June 26, Judd said at a news conference in Lakeland on Thursday afternoon.Rita Maddox and Elisha Cordle of Dover stole nearly $4,500 worth of Oil of Olay products that day, placing them into special bags designed to conceal stolen goods, Judd said.To law enforcement, it seemed like a regular shoplifting incident and the two were charged with grand theft. But after speaking with confidential sources, Judd said, a sheriff’s detective uncovered something more: the single largest organized crime ring of its kind in Polk County Sheriff’s Office history.On Thursday, after executing five search warrants, 14 people were arrested and charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Five of those people are already serving jail or prison time, Judd said. Four more people are still wanted on the same charges.Judd said many more may be involved.”I highly suspect that this is just a tentacle of a larger operation,” he said. “This is truly more of the beginning of the investigation than its end.”Maddox and Cordle were just two of at least 13 stealthy shoplifters who stole between $60 million and $100 million worth of over-the-counter medicines and beauty and health products from hundreds of convenience and grocery stores in at least 11 counties, Judd said.They reported to two middlemen and two ringleaders, who in turn sold the products out of two warehouses, three flea markets, including one in Auburndale, and two Web sites, including a long-standing eBay.com account.The crime ring has been operating for at least five years, Judd said.The investigation began after Maddox and Cordle, who have a child together, were arrested in June.It spanned seven months and included the sheriff’s offices of Polk and Hillsborough counties, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Attorney General Bill McCollum’s office.The retail theft operation was well-concealed. The 13 known shoplifters are all related in some way to each other and most had prior arrests and convictions for shoplifting, Judd said.They used bags designed to conceal the stolen items to shoplift from the stores, which they revisited numerous times. On one day, Judd said, investigators watched thefts occur in eight different stores. On another occasion, three people shoplifted from a Publix store while a manager did inventory in the same aisle. They were good at what they did, Judd said.The four who led the ring do not have criminal records, he said.Ringleaders Steven and Kerry Coburn are married and own four homes throughout Seminole County, authorities say. They sold the stolen items on their Web site SaleAwaySavings.com, Judd said, and even offered free shipping to customers in the U.S.One item, a soap and cologne gift set for men, was recently being sold on the site for $48.95. A 110-pack of Nicorette orange-flavored gum was on clearance sale for $159.99.The goods were delivered to the Coburns in cardboard Chiquita and Dole banana boxes. Steven Coburn inspected each box to make sure the items were in top condition. Popular items included Gillette razors and razor blades, Oil of Olay moisturizers and other health-related products, from Tylenol and Excedrin to pregnancy tests and diabetic test strips.”He wanted to make sure they were brand names and not generic,” said sheriff’s Maj. Joe Halman.Coburn even required forms to be signed that stated none of the products were stolen, Judd said.Theresa and Ronald Parrish were the middlemen, police said. They dealt with the shoplifters and paid them as much as $3,000 in cash for each delivery. Theresa Parrish, an eBay member since March 2002, sold some of the items out of her eBay store, Lola’s Discount Health and Beauty, officers said.More than 10,000 positive feedback points were left for Parrish from happy eBay members who purchased items such as razor blades, moisturizer and even bras. Buyers left praise for the quality of the products and speed of delivery.Judd said that once they were arrested, the Parrishes quickly confessed.”This investigation is just beginning. We know there are others involved,” he said.It is not known exactly how much of a profit the operation generated. Although the shoplifters were arrested from time to time, their offenses were thought to be singular events. Until the law enforcement agencies developed the investigation, they did not realize how many people were involved, Judd said.

27 teenagers were stabbed to death last year

In London alone 27 teenagers were stabbed to death last year. There have been at least four deaths this year already. Two weeks ago, in a London suburb, a schoolgirl was beaten, gang-raped and then had caustic soda poured over her to eliminate traces of her attackers’ DNA. She is in a burns unit and fighting for her life.
Three youths are awaiting sentencing for kicking to death a harmless disabled man in Sunderland. In Warrington a father of three was beaten to death for protesting at youths who were vandalising cars. A few miles away a woman of 60 had to be put on life support after a thug fractured her face for refusing him a cigarette. She will be permanently blind in one eye.

Gang Fight

Three young men were being treated at local hospitals after a Monday afternoon brawl fought with knives, according to San Jose police.
The injuries were not life-threatening, police said. And police said the fight occurred over an argument. It was possibly gang-related.
The fight began about 3:30 p.m at Winter Park Drive and Cunningham Avenue.
It left three juveniles injured, one seriously. The victims are 15, 16 and 17 years old. Police were looking for four suspects, but there was no descriptions available as of Friday evening.

Fuat Turgut, Güler Kömürcü, Asım Demir, Raif Görüm, Emir Caner Yiğit, Tanju Okan, Yaşar Aslanköylü, Tekin, TavukçuoğlAnatoli Medjan and Atilla Aksu.

A confidential operation was conducted against the Ergenekon organization, which has been monitored for 2.5 months. Thirty-three people were taken into custody in an operation which hit 43 different locations. Those arrested for founding a terrorist organization include the Kuvayı Milliye Association chairman, Fikri Karadağ, and retired general Veli Küçük.
Charges brought against the deep-state linked Ergenekon organization by a Turkish court have shown that the gang was after a military takeover in Turkey while records of phone conversations of its members in the hands of German police show that they were also involved in the drug trade.
The Ergenekon organization -- 14 of whose members were arrested Saturday in one of the biggest operations ever against deep-state-linked groups in Turkey -- was working to create a chaotic atmosphere so that its counterparts in the military could overthrow the government, charges brought against the group by a law court in İstanbul has confirmed. All in all, 28 members of Ergenekon are currently under arrest. They were also involved in the drug trade, documents from the German police confirmed. Germany's Niedersachsen State's anti-drug department, Landeskrimi-nalamtes (LKA), which tapped the phones of some of the Ergenekon members as part of a narcotics investigation, proved that Ergenekon members were indeed in the drug business as well.

The court accuses the members of the Ergenekon gang, a xenophobic and ultranationalist organization suspected of a number of political murders including that of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, of committing bombings and attacks in the past two years, of inciting people to revolt, establishing a terrorist organization, of leading that terrorist organization and of membership in the terrorist organization.

Some of the gang members against whom charges have been brought are Veli Küçük, a retired general who is also the alleged founder of a clandestine and unofficial intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey’s official policies; Fikret Karadağ, a retired army colonel; and Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate.

Documents seized during the investigation into the gang, whose members include former military officers, some of them high-ranking, revealed that they were planning to create complete chaos in the country to prepare fertile ground for a military coup d’état in 2009.

An inspection of Küçük’s personal organizer showed that Ergenekon had planned six steps to stage an eventual coup. Leaders of the Ergenekon gang had jointly decided to “OK” Dink’s murder in January of last year, the murders of three Christians in Malatya last April, an attack on the Council of State that left a senior judge dead and bombings at the secularist daily Cumhuriyet, claimed some Turkish newspapers on Monday.

Daily Sabah also alleged that the murder of academic Necip Hablemitoğlu was ordered by the German secret service. Hablemtioğlu’s research suggested that individuals opposing gold prospecting disguised their acts as environmentalism but were really serving the interests of powerful gold exporters in Europe. Several newspapers wrote that the group had links to German intelligence.

The gang’s plans to create chaos and confusion included giving rise to armed conflict between Kurdish and Turkish citizens.

Newspapers wrote on Monday that the first stage of the group’s plan was to establish civil society organizations such as the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), the National Forces Association and the Bureau of the Protection of Rights, all ultranationalist organizations. The second stage was to find support in the military among younger officers and higher-ranking soldiers unhappy about the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The third stage involved a strange company known as the Special Bureau, an intelligence agency for the group set up by a former intelligence officer. The Special Bureau would protect the group’s plans from falling into the hands of the Nationalist Intelligence Organization (MİT) or a shady intelligence unit in the gendarmerie whose existence is officially denied. The fourth stage included adding into this scene bogus terrorist organizations that would foment conflict between the country’s Kurdish and Turkish populations. The unemployed, nationalist and uneducated Turkish youth, most of whom spend their time in the ultranationalist Idealist Clubs, would be used in various acts. The sixth stage includes recent political murders the group has been suspected of, including Dink’s, the killing of an Italian priest in 2006 and an armed raid on the Council of State -- as well as plans that have not yet been realized, including the assassination of Turkey’s Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk.

Ergenekon involvement in drug trafficking

Meanwhile, the deep-state-linked Ergenekon organization has been actively involved in drug trafficking to finance its activities, documents from the German police confirmed.

Germany’s Niedersachsen State’s anti-drug department, the LKA, which tapped the phones of some of the Ergenekon members as part of a narcotics investigation, proved that Ergenekon members were indeed in the drug business as well. The records of a Nov. 20, 2003 phone conversation between retired Capt. Muzaffer Tekin, arrested in June of last year as the owner of the munitions depot found in anİstanbul shantytown that started the Ergenekon operation, and Yılmaz Tavukçuoğlu, an alleged drug trafficker, shows that Ergenekon used drug money to fund its activities. The two men in these conversations talk about the sale of a plot of land in Ümraniye. According to the LKA’s Willi Neumann, the co-owners of the land were Tekin and Ertuğrul Yılmaz, the former owner of Doğuş Factoring, who was murdered in eastern Germany two years ago. Neumann’s report asserts that this piece of land might have been used to launder money from drug trading with Tavukçuoğlu. According to a book by Doğan Karlıbel titled “Turkey Operations of German Secret Services,” the piece of land was sold for $2.5 million. The money was shared between Tekin, Tavukçuoğlu and Ayhan Parlak, who was arrested in the 2006 attack against the Council of State, the same book claims.
Latest in the investigation
Meanwhile, the public prosecutor in the case objected to the release of nine individuals taken into custody earlier on in the Ergenekon investigation but later freed by the court. Late in the evening on Monday, the prosecution appealed the release of lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is currently the legal counsel of a suspect in the Dink murder, daily Akşam columnist Güler Kömürcü, Asım Demir, Raif Görüm, Emir Caner Yiğit, Tanju Okan, Yaşar Aslanköylü, Anatoli Medjan and Atilla Aksu. Representatives of Kerinçsiz also appealed his arrest. The İstanbul 13th Higher Criminal Court will review the appeals from both sides.

Abkeen Cochran

Abkeen Cochran, who was gunned down on a Hempstead street last Thursday, stands in stark contrast to the fact that the rate of violent crime in Nassau County is low and dropping. Any gun violence is too much. So it's welcome news that officials are targeting gun crimes, one category of offenses that ticked up last year. The goal is sustained crime reduction, which is the right target.
The plan, announced last week by Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice and county Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, includes undercover gun investigations, tougher prosecutions aimed at rooting out gun traffickers, an anonymous "Gunstoppers" tip line and help for paroled gun offenders to find alternatives to a life of crime.
Nassau isn't awash in gun violence. But there were 67 shootings with injuries last year, up from 54 in 2006. The rise is troubling, coming, as it does, when major crimes, including murder, rape and robbery, are down 12.6 percent.
declines may be difficult to sustain in the face of rising gun violence. The establishment of a special enforcement unit focused on tracing illegal guns to their source and taking down traffickers should help. Firearms in Nassau invariably come from somewhere else, since no guns are manufactured on Long Island.
But tougher enforcement is the easy part. More important is enlisting the community in the effort. And more difficult is using the stick of parole and the carrots of job training, education and other social services to help gun offenders make lives within the law. That last is critical to sustaining any progress in curbing gun violence and crime. And reducing crime, rather than locking people up after the fact, is one way to make the quality of Long Island life even better.

Raymond Jackson, a.k.a.Renard Harrison

Jamaican national and gang member is back in his homeland
after being deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement officers.
USICE officers recently deported Raymond Jackson, a.k.a.
`Renard Harrison,` who is wanted by Jamaican authorities for
the murder of two police officers there.
Jackson had entered the United States on April 26, 2006 via
sea near Jupiter, Florida. He was ordered removed on May 4,
2006 and subsequently deported on May 22, 2006. Jackson then
illegally re-entered the United States but was later arrested
by the Lauderhill Police Department on Jan. 16, 2007 as a
suspect in a murder investigation. The charges were
subsequently dropped. But he was charged for re-entry after
deportation, on April 17, 2007, and sentenced to time served.
Jackson, who ICE officials say is a top lieutenant of the
Clansman gang, was recently deported again. He was transferred
into the custody of Jamaican authorities upon his arrival in
`Criminals who think that they can use the United States as a
safe haven are sorely mistaken,` said Michael Rozos, ICE field
office director for detention and removal in Florida. `This
man will now have to account for his actions before the
Jamaican authorities.` -

Jose Recinos,Manuel Mendes,ICE takes custody of suspected gang MS-13 members

ICE takes custody of suspected Lynn gang members Some of the seven suspected MS-13 gang members arrested Saturday at the Strawberry Avenue Playground are currently in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible immigration violations, authorities said. At least two of the seven men arrested, Manuel Mendes, 23, of 58 Kirtland St., Lynn and Jose Recinos, 17, of 299 Lexington St. #2, East Boston are currently in ICE custody, according to court documents. A Lynn police spokesperson said others were likely detained by ICE but didn't have specific information about who else was being held. "Some of the individuals who were arrested had immigration issues," Lt. Dave Brown said.

Monday, 28 January 2008

execution-style murder of a man at a Gold Coast home

Execution-style murder of a man at a Gold Coast home today.
The child, aged about 2 1/2, was in the pool in the back yard of the house when the man was shot three times in the chest by another man who fled in a black BMW.
Police are now searching for the gunman, who is in his late 20s or early 30s.
Officers wearing bullet-proof vests rushed to the property in Cayuga Street, Nerang, after shots were heard.
It is understood they found a man at the house who had been shot three times in the chest.
Paramedics were unable to resuscitate him.
It is understood the victim and the gunman were known to police.
Police are searching for a man who was seen leaving the area in an older-style black BMW sedan. He is described as being in his early 30s, Caucasian, 178cm tall with shaved brown hair and a goatee.
Police believe that the man and victim may be known to each other, however investigations are continuing to establish their association.

A number of witnesses are assisting police and the scene is being examined.

Florencia 13: Greater Los Angeles is now home to some 500 Mexican gangs

Mexican gangs in Los Angeles, like Florencia 13, are waging a bloody campaign to drive blacks from neighborhoods.Gangbanging is responsible for much of the carnage. Greater Los Angeles is now home to some 500 Mexican gangs—compared with some 200 black ones—and they’ve aggressively tried to push blacks out of mixed-race neighborhoods. More than just turf wars, the Latinos’ violence has included attacks against law-abiding African-Americans with no gang involvement; a horrifying example was the December 2006 murder of 14-year-old Cheryl Green by Mexican gang members in Harbor Gateway, a brutal crime designed to terrorize local blacks. Three years earlier, the same gang had killed a black man because he dared to patronize a local store that they considered “For Hispanics Only.” Meantime, federal authorities have indicted members of another Los Angeles–based Latino gang, Florencia 13, for random shootings of blacks in South L.A. The indictment chillingly accuses a gang leader of giving members instructions on how to find blacks to shoot

Though blacks have long worried that the country’s growing foreign-born population, especially its swelling rolls of illegal immigrants, harmed their economic prospects, they have also followed their political leadership in backing liberal immigration policies. Now, however, as new waves of immigration inundate historically African-American neighborhoods, black opinion is hardening against the influx. “We will not lay down and take this any longer,” says Anderson. If he’s right, it could upend the political calculus on immigration.
Black unease about immigration goes back a long way. In the 1870s, former slave Frederick Douglass warned that immigrants were displacing free blacks in the labor market. Twenty-five years later, Booker T. Washington exhorted America’s industrialists to “cast down your bucket” not among new immigrants but “among the eight million Negros . . . who have without strikes and labor wars tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities.” Blacks supported federal legislation in 1882 that restricted Chinese immigration to the United States. They favored the immigration reform acts of the 1920s, which limited European immigration, and also urged restrictions on Mexican workers: “If the million Mexicans who have entered the country have not displaced Negro workers, whom have they displaced?” asked black journalist George Schuyler in 1928.

Recent polling data reveal the shift. Though a 2006 Pew Center national survey showed some of the same ambivalence among blacks toward immigrants, it also found that in several urban areas where blacks and Latinos were living together, blacks were more likely to say that immigrants were taking jobs from Americans, and also more likely to favor cutting America’s current immigration levels.

What’s behind the anger, as the Pew data hint, is the rapid change that legal and illegal Hispanic immigration is bringing to longtime black locales. Places like South Los Angeles and Compton, California, have transformed, virtually overnight, into majority-Latino communities. Huge numbers of new immigrants have also surged beyond newcomer magnets California and New York to reach fast-growing southern states like North Carolina and Georgia, bringing change to communities where blacks had gained economic and political power after years of struggle against Jim Crow laws. Since 1990, North Carolina’s Hispanic population has exploded from 76,726 people to nearly 600,000, the majority of them ethnically Mexican. In Georgia, the Hispanic population grew nearly sevenfold, to almost 700,000, from 1990 to 2006.

This Latino “tsunami,” as Los Angeles–based Hispanic-American writer Nicolás Vaca calls it, has intensified the well-founded feeling among blacks that they’re losing economic ground to immigrants. True, early research, conducted in the wake of the big immigration reforms of the 1960s, suggested that the arrival of newcomers had little adverse impact on blacks—one study found that every 10 percent increase in immigration cut black wages by only 0.3 percent. But as the immigrant population has in some places grown six or seven times larger over the last four decades, the downward pull has become a vortex. A recent study by Harvard economist George Borjas and colleagues from the University of Chicago and the University of California estimates that immigration accounted for a 7.4 percentage-point decline in the employment rate of unskilled black males between 1980 and 2000. Even for black males with high school diplomas, immigration shrank employment by nearly 3 percentage points. While immigration hurts black and white low-wage workers, the authors note, the effect is three times as large on blacks because immigrants are more likely to compete directly with them for jobs.

South African Casino Gang attacking casinos

In a daring strike during the early Sunday morning hours, armed robbers raided the Boardwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. While the casino was passing through a relatively slow time of both the day and week, a large group of between ten to fourteen men carrying pistols and rifles entered through the casino's main entrance.
The Casino Gang then overpowered security guards on the premises and made their way to the cashier's cage, which they ransacked, stealing an undisclosed amount of cash.
The Boardwalk Robbery Plan was followed by casino employees during the episode. This meant remaining calm and cooperating with the gang so as to avoid harm to gamblers and staff, while an alarm that silently notified police and security forces was activated.
Police arrived as the armed gang were fleeing the casino. Gunshots were fired, although there are conflicting reports as to whether the shots were fired by police or robbers. No injuries were inflicted, and the thieves escaped in a waiting vehicle.
There has been a pattern of armed gangs attacking casinos in South Africa over the last few months, and the similarities are too strong to not believe the acts are being committed by the same organization. In August, six men armed with AK-47s robbed the Newcastle Casino in Johannesburg on a Sunday evening. In early October, the Carnival City Casino was taken down by fifteen armed men on Sunday just past midnight. In late October, an attempt to rob Montecasino, also in Johanesburg, by ten men was thwarted as five were captured and the rest escaped emptyhanded.
Although Mervyn Naidoo, general manager of the Boardwalk, asserted the amount of money stolen was "relatively small" and no players or employees were hurt, the ongoing cycle leaves one wondering if South Africa can maintain the safety of its casinos. For now, at least, perhaps Sunday is a good day to find other entertainment than casino action.

Drug mule gangs

Jamaica Police are reporting that a significant dent has been made in the number of drug mule gangs smuggling narcotics out of the country.
Statistics from the Narcotics Division show that the number of drug mules arrested last year fell by 19 per cent when compared with the figure for 2006.
"Throughout 2007 we arrested a total of 5,496 persons for drugs, a significant reduction from the 6,793 persons arrested in 2006," Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Carlton Wilson disclosed.
The Acting ACP, who heads the Narcotics Division, pointed out that of the persons arrested, 5,257 were Jamaicans, with 4,927 being males and 330 females. Foreign males and females accounted for 174 and 65 arrests, respectively. Britons accounted for 119, Americans 51 and Canadians 22.
According to Wilson, of the 6,793 drug mules arrested in 2006, 6,039 were Jamaican males and 403 were females. Foreign males accounted for 257 and females 94.
Meanwhile, he explained that 171 persons were arrested at the Norman Manley International Airport and 220 persons at the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay last year. Of those arrests, 121 persons were destined for the United Kingdom, 17 for Canada, 21 for the USA and 17 for Curacao.
"Drug users are all across the social spectrum of the country and they use all sorts of means to smuggle the drugs. These include body packing, swallowing, storing in commercial goods, appliances and wood carvings, and in one instance last year, jacuzzis," Wilson pointed out.
He further noted that the drug mules ranged between the very young and the very old people, who are trying to deceive through their age. "[You find] people who are in wheelchairs, people over 70 years old, people who are blind, you find them packed with drugs going out of the country from time to time," he said.

Wilson appealed to drug mules and other persons involved in the drug trade to desist. "It is very damaging to your body and you need to look around and see what it has done to your colleagues and other people. You can pay visits to the rehabilitation centres, speak to people who are actually involved to get the stories first hand," he said.

"It is totally destructive. If you want to continue a normal, good life, desist from doing drugs," he warned.

The Narcotics Division has a mandate to report on the eradication, interdiction and demand reduction of drugs throughout the country.

new offences of directing or being involved in organised crime.

"For too long the gangsters of the criminal underworld have been able to direct their evil enterprises and operate with apparent impunity, profiting on the backs of decent hard-working Scots and their families.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is proposing new offences of directing or being involved in organised crime.
A consultation on the details of any new legislation is to seek the views of law enforcement organisations and other stakeholders involved in the fight against organised crime.
When introduced the legislation's main objective would be to make it easier to convict those organised criminals who direct criminal operations.
The proposals are expected to be endorsed today at the second meeting of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce. The Scottish Government will then develop proposals to be introduced to the Parliament at the earliest opportunity.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
"This Government has already made clear its determination to tackle serious organised crime in all its forms. That includes the criminal kingpins as well as their lieutenants and the foot soldiers who do their dirty work.
"Organised crime is a global issue and already Canada and Ireland are using the law to target the godfathers of serious organised crime. We want to learn from their experiences to help us tackle this menace to our society.
"These new offences will make it easier to convict the so called "untouchables". This Government wants to send a message to these gangsters in Scotland and further afield that there are no "untouchables" in our society.
"We will pursue these parasites with vigour and will be uncompromising in our pursuit of those who peddle drugs and indulge in other criminal activities. That is why we set up the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce which holds its second meeting today.
"We are working together with the police and other law enforcement agencies to put these criminal networks out of business."
The aim of the new offences would be to catch people either directing or being involved in organised crime and for the offence to be covered by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The Scottish Government will consider similar offences that are already in place in Canada and the Republic of Ireland when developing our proposals.
Canadian offence - For the purposes of the Canadian criminal code, a criminal organisation means a group, however organised that:
is composed of three or more persons in or outside Canada; and
has one of its main purposes or main activities the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offences that, if committed would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any of the persons who constitute the group.
Irish offence - The Irish model is along similar lines and is contained in the Criminal Justice Act 2006. Organised crime is defined as an element of criminal activity that is carried out by criminal organisations which have as their main purpose the commission of one or more serious offences in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit. The 2006 Act defines a 'criminal organisation' as a structured group composed of three or more persons acting in concert and one which is established over a period of time. A 'serious offence' means an offence for which a person may be punished by imprisonment for a term of four years or more.
Further work is required on the precise terms of the offence being proposed by the Justice Secretary and its penalties. For example, it could be framed as separate criminal offences or a statutory aggravation. It will be subject to a formal consultation process in the normal manner.
The Serious Organised Crime Taskforce was set up by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and brings together key organisations involved in the fight against organised crime including the Crown Office, ACPOS, SCDEA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the Scottish Prison Service amongst others

"Scissionisti" clan

"Scissionisti" clan Rome flying squad, working alongside those of Naples, Caserta, Perugia and Macerata, with activities coordinated by the central anti-crime headquarters of state police and the central anti-drugs headquarters, is in the process of arresting a large number of members of a vast criminal organization, made up of Italian and Nigerian citizens involved in international drug trafficking. Two hundred and fifty state police are working in several Italia cities, backed by helicopters and dog units. The operation, name "Black Shoes", led by the Naples anti-mafia district headquarters, has reconstructed the route of drug trafficking from South America to Europe, with traffickers attentive to ever single detail of drug imports. Receivers for the drugs were organizations with links to the Camorra, who then distributed the "goods" across the Italian peninsula. From Suriname and Guyana cocaine and heroin were brought into Italy with Nigerian runners who hid the drugs in false soles of their shoes or swallowed capsules filled with it. The leaders of the organization whose purpose was that of international drug trafficking and which has been dismantled by the Rome flying squad acted in Campania. The 2-year operation, which was collaborated in by the police of the following countries, made it possible to identify the operative cells in Guyana, Suriname, Holland, Romania, India, Pakistan, Uganda, and Ivory Coast. The role played by women whose relatives are involved in the Camorra played an essential role, making it possible to maintain contact between the bosses in prison and their accomplices by way of "pizzini" (small slips of paper) hidden in the seam of clothing and coded with elementary codes to decipher. At the end of lengthy investigations, the Rome flying squad managed to identify the connections between Nigerian traffickers and those at the head of organized crime in the Campania region. Some members of the "Scissionisti" clan supplied themselves with the drugs to then distribute it over the Campania market. Among the crimes with which those arrested are being charged is that of mafia-related criminal association.

John Deere International tractor Gang

British authorities have linked recent thefts of John Deere tractors in rural England to the criminal gang responsible for similar thefts across Europe over the past four years. The National Plant Equipment Register (TER) fears that this gang has set up a base in southwestern England and intends to target dealerships there. According to the TER, this gang changes the identities of the stolen tractors and then sells them as far afield as Australia.

Monya Elson,Semyon Mogilevich

50 police commandos in Moscow captured Semyon Mogilevich, one of the world’s most feared mafia bosses accused of arms dealing, drug running, uranium trafficking and multiple murders. Authorities estimate his worth to be around $100 million. The FBI, Interpol and the UK police have sought Mogilevich for numerous international crimes including fraud, racketeering and money laundering. Monya Elson, a known associate of Mr Mogilevich, claimed in an interview given ten years ago that Mogilevich was “the most powerful mobster in the world”. During a 2005 speech in Hungary Robert Mueller, then FBI director said: “Right here in Budapest, Ukrainian-born Semion Mogilevich established the headquarters of his powerful organized crime enterprise.”

Sunday, 27 January 2008

White slaves in Italy

A joint international investigation of “24 hours” daily and “168 hours” weekly revealed the scheme for transforming Bulgarian girls into white slaves in Italy. The investigation includes their narratives, taped in Rome, Rimini, Padua, Venice, Pescara and other places as well as opinions of ecclesiastics working with the support of Vatican and trying to save the girls. About this topic Italian and Bulgarian policemen are also talking, the Bulgarian ambassador in Rome as well and many others.
Two of the girls did not hide their names and faces, others whished to remain anonymous. Most authoritative Italian foundations have helped them to be saved and to begin a new life. They are supported also by the Italian police after they accepted to collaborate to the state. The editorial office has at its disposal audio and video tapes of our sources involved in the investigation.
This is the story of Iliana Dimitrova from Vratza town, forced by his boyfriend to become a prostitute

My name is Iliana – I was 21 years old, when they made me a prostitute. In Vratza I met one boy, an Albanian – Dragan Leskei, his friend had a Bulgarian girlfriend. For about a month they used to come to the restaurant owned by Valter Papazki and his brother Georgi – The culturist guy, where I’ve worked as a waitress. I had no problems with the brothers.
With the Albanian – talks, jokes, drinks, tips – little by little we’ve get to know each other, we become close and they started to talk over with me: come to Italy, people there are making good money. I’ve hesitated for whole one month. Then I made an international passport and get a French visa – it was easier to get visa for France. We’ve tried to enter through Slovenia – they did not permit us. But we’ve succeed through Austria though.
Dragan had told me he has a house in Rome, where I will live, till I find a work. He used to urge me to learn the language, he used to explain to me that I will take care for children or for elderly people – this will be my job. He had promised to earn up to 1000 lv per month. This is a lot of money, because I will live to his place without to pay a rent. I tempted and I left. I did not know anybody in Italy except him.
There were people in Bulgaria occupied with
the organization of the traveling
The name of the driver is Valerian. He had a Mercedes and had transported up to 3-4 persons, and charged them 450 lv each. Most recently he used to drive people towards Kolefero. To this place he had driven half of the gypsies from Liliache village, Vratza region.
Valerian had known many Bulgarians who had leaved for 5-6 years in Chikane village near Rome. They were from a village near Vratza town. I stayed to their place 2-3 hours till the Albanian came to pick me up.
I had lived with him and 3 more Albanian in his digs for a month. He had not force me to become a prostitute, he used to help me to get used with the life in Rome. But he started to become more and more jealous, he did not allow me to talk to anybody – neither to girls not to boys, he started to meddle into my life. That is why I left him and went to the Bulgarian family in Chikane.
But there were no work at all. The time has passed and they told me: we will go to one acquaintance of our – Tzvetomir, he is born in 1969, he works as a life-guard at the seaside in Tor san Lorenso.
They introduced us to each other, he was from Sofronievo village. I explained to him that I am looking for a job and asked him if he hear something that might be appropriate for me to give me a call.
After a week he called me and told me to come immediately to his place. I packed my luggage and left. Together we started to ask for a job, but all over the place we’ve received only negative responses. This lasts for three months. But he used to tell me – don’t worry, you may take whatever you want to eat and drink, you will give me back the money when you start to work. This way I lived from June to the beginning of August. We had lived in a garage near the beach; there was no warm water, nothing at all. We used to have a bath into a wash basin with a cold water admixed with a sand. After two months Tzvetomir flied into a rage: you owe me money, we have to settle the accounts with you.
Either you go to work on the street,
or I will sell you!
“How you will sell me!?”, I am telling him. “I will give you back the money, but you see what the situation is”. “I do not care”, he replies. “Either you go to work on the street, or I will sell you!” We quarreled for two days. Then he came together with Kiril, a friend of him. I knew he is dealing with prostitutes. He used to speak with a soft accent; he was not from Vratza region. They told me: “Get dressed, we are going out”.
They picked up my stuffs and we left with Kiril’s BMW. They emptied my handbag; they took my passport, everything. Yet I had no choice and they took me out on the street to work. I used to work on three places. For the first one Kilir told me that it is his region. It was located at the industrial zone of the town. They put condoms into my handbag and explained to me how much to take for an oral sex, how much for a standard one and how much for the rest of the services I would offer. The first day was very poor. The clients are clear about everything and are telling you by their own how to act. They explain to you – the other girls are doing this, the other that. This way passed my appointment with the first client.
I used to try to tell Tzvetomir that I am a human being and I am not a good for sell and that he can not be a master of me. He replied that he does not care and that he wants back his money. He told he has plans to come back to Bulgaria to open a gas station in his village and that he needs money. He used to want to earn at least 300 EURO per night and if I had not the money the problems begun.
In the beginning he used to behave comparatively well with me. Afterwards he started to make scandals each and every night and to repeat: I do not like this, we have to do this thing this way, I want to show me how you used to do it with this client, with the other client and so on. Then he started to make rows for the money, why I earned so little.
He forced me to write down the registration numbers of the clients, how old they are, what exactly they’ve told me. He used to order me before to enter into the client’s car to put on my mobile phone and to come to save me if something happens.
What he possible could do! I am all alone, but he is 30 km away. The first month I used to go to work from 2 p.m. till 6 p.m. After we’ve changed the place – we went towards Ostia. There I worked during the nights, because during the daytime
The black prostitutes were on the streets
And they’ve wanted to beat us
But they are real savages! Tzvetomir found some Romanian friends, one Romanian girls used to work for them, she do it because she wanted to, she was a little bit crazy.
They robbed me on the first week, The Italian guys were doped. One of them was like a skeleton, he pretended as if he wanted to hire me. He took me to some place with the car and there another man appeared and pulled out a knife. The one on one of my side another on the other side and both started to shout at me: Give us the hand bag! I shout: No! Then he stabs me in the leg. He cut the handle of the bag and kicked me.
I had all kinds of clients, among them there were perverts as well. One wanted to make a pee into his mouth. Other had bold heads, all covered with tattoos. Once I went with one of these and in the beginning he seemed normal to me. Then he started to speak, to explain how it was in the prison, how he has killed people – it was terrible!
The Romanians carried us out with the car. In Ostia on the street have worked Romanian girls, girls from Spain, black women – it was very hard to find a place, they chase us away all the time. We’ve managed to get along with the other prostitutes, despite they’ve fall upon to beat us. We used to tell them – however we will be beaten either by you or by the pimps, we make no difference. So, please leave us in peace.
Tzvetomir and the Romanian have passed constantly and if we were not at the specific place – they beat the life out of us. We used to work near Ostia – right in front of the sea there is a big pine wood,
the place is called
Kastel Fusano
It was terrible! Toped and drug addicted used to come, they made a lot of problems, because they could not finish fast.
They used to stay in the car longer and I had to concoct something to tell Tzvetomir. For not beat me I used to lie him – I used to tell him that I’ve forgot to dial him or the line has broken down, but everything was useless.
Even though he personally forced me to become a prostitute he treated me as we were boyfriends, he used to introduce me to his friends. He started to get drunk and started to attack me with questions: Why you passed with this guy 30 seconds more and something like this. Do you know that if you’ve been back to your place earlier you could get at least one more client.
I was a prostitute for several months and then I met one Italian, a client of mine. He asked for my telephone number and he wanted to go out together for a pizza, to a hotel. After I used to go out with him I did not want to be with other clients. And I used to lie Tzvetomir, that the day has been poor. The Italian used to give me more money, but I used to refuse them, because I had not any way to justify this money. When Tzmetomir found the money he started to beat me. This was the reason why the Italian used to bring me coca-cola, cigarettes, something to eat – 2-3 times a week. I used to hide them into a safety place in the wood.
The break of the camel’s back came
On New Year’s Day
We used to celebrate at Tzvetomir’s friend. There were other prostitutes as well. The men get drunk and ordered us to make them strip-tease. They used to applaud us and to put money into our underwear. At down together with Tzvetomir we came back to the garage where we used to live. I poured cold water into the wash basin and started to take a bath. All of a sudden Tzvetomir rushed and roared: “Why you take off your clothes?” I shrink back into the corner of the garage. He started to jostle me with fists on my head; he used to kick me in the stomach. It lasted about an hour, but finally I managed to pluck out of him. I grab a glass and throw it into the wall. With a peace of glass I cut my veins and blood spilled all over the place. Tzvetomir step back and suddenly he became gentler. On the other day he gave me as a present a gold bracelet. This was the first time he called me “lady”. But later he added the price of the bracelet to my debt to him. And soon after this everything started from the very beginning.
Iliana’s saving
Tzvetomir stated to Iliana she owes him 1000 lv. and will work for him till she pays her debt.
He takes her all the money. They go our together for shopping – they buy everything they need for the house, drinks, cigarettes and everything he wants. This expenses though he adds to Iliana’s debt.
(Cvetomir is in the center, on the left of Iliana)

This way she gives him back the money but at the same time her debt enrages.
“In a certain moment it made no difference for me. No matter how much money I used to earn my debt used to become bigger and he used to beat me each and every night.”, the girls recalls. Then the Italian client who is in love with her decides to help her. After the end of one of their meetings, with a SMS he invites her to go out together for a pizza. She hides the messaged from Tzvetomir, because he is drunk again and he will beat her. But she forgets to delete the message – in the morning he founds it and make a big scandal. The day after he expects her to come back from work and again is very drunk. She goes to bed and at one time
he wakes her up
with a fists in her head.
He cracks her ear-drum.
“You will not go to emergency aid; you will not go to work.” He shouts. He keeps her cooped up for two days and on the third day he sends her at the street. “How to go out, it is so cold out there, it is February; the ear hurts me a lot?”, Iliana cries. “I do not care”, Tzvetomir shouts. At the street she gets a client and asks him to give her a ride to the hospital. She calls Tzvetomir from the hospital to tell him she does not give him away. She lies to the doctors she had some fight with a gipsy woman.
She comes back and Tzvetomir does not strike at her for a week. Then he starts to beat her again. Bulgarians from Chikane village call and just because she has spoke with them Tzvetomir slaps her twice very hard.
“I am leaving!”, she decides firmly.
“You can’t”, he shouts. When he understands that she is unflagging he throws her away without a phone, without anything. She calls the police from a telephone booth. They come and she explains to them that she had broken with her boyfriend and she does not want to come back to him but he does not give her back her cloths. She
still does not want to
make a complaint
against Tzvetomir after he forced her to be a prostitute.
The police take his data and worn him to leave her in peace.
They tell him that if she does not call them by 24 hours, they will arrest him. Iliana explains them that she has a daughter in Bulgaria and that he threatens her using this fact. Tzvetomir used to tell her that if she gives him away to the police, he will send people to kidnap her daughter and to sell or kill her. The child by that time is 6 years old.
“I did not gave him away, but said that we’ve quarreled and I want to leave him”, Iliana tells.
She takes the bus to Rome. She calls her Italian friend. He accommodates her into a boarding-house, he gives her money, and they together are looking for a job. Later
He rents a house near by Rome
and they start to live together
He is about 40-years old, married man. A month later he gives her money and helped her to obtain a permit to enter her native country Bulgaria. Iliana goes back to Vratza, she issues a passport of her daughter and takes her to Rome.
She lives with the Italian about one month more, and then he goes back to his wife. Meanwhile he has arranged with the assistance of his friends from the police Iliana to make a complaint against Tzvetomir. She brings the policemen to the places where she has worked as a prostitute. But Tzvetomir has changed his lodging and has found Iliana’s new telephone number. He calls her and convinces her to come back to him. Iliana pretends she is prone to do this and pumps information out of him about the place where she can find him. She determines his new address and informs the police.
After her departure Tzvetomir
has taken three new
girls to work for him.
They live in a rented house in Tor san Lorentzo. He is arrested at the same place. One of the girls reconfirms Iliana’s testimonies that Tzvetomir has threatened her in the same way as Ilaia. He is detained for 6 months. “After he is out on bail after one Bulgarian guy pays for him. This is the same Violin who regularly drives a bus from Bulgaria to Rome”, Iliana says.
For six months period she is put in an asylum with nuns, but she had a row with the supervisor. She wants to take her away her child on the ground of she does not cares for her daughter. They expel her and call to other asylums not to accept her, because she provokes problems. But sister Ester from “Karitas” takes her and 6 months Iliana lives in her asylum. They become friends. Afterwards Iliana succeeds to rent a municipality home.
She works at two places as a cleaning lady and an ironer
at the first one till 2 p.m. but the second from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. She walks around the congested Roma streets with her motor bike, a present from her Italian friend. She already leaves together with her daughter, mother and her little brother. She thinks Tzvetomir lives in piece in Tor San Torino, he has changed the lodgings and drives VW Golf. She has seen him once at the square in front of Termini station; she passed by him on her motor bike.
“I am afraid of him, but not during the day – he could not dare to teach me. The six months in prison are not enough for him, he has to pass through all this that I was forced to do”, the girl says with tear drops in her eyes.
The Italian madam
“Tzvetomir and Kiril used to know one Italian woman, that had brothels in Tor san Lorentzo. Her name is Marina D.”, Iliana tells.
Marina had had connections with policemen and if some verification starts she always been warned. Then only one girl used to go out of the brothel together with her and she has presented her as a maid. Marina has owned 3 houses with at least 3 girls in each one of the houses. Kiril had two of them – Sylvia and Ivka, the third one has worked for the Italian woman.

“Unexpectedly the one of the Kiril’s girl disappeared – she went out on the evening and we never saw her again. Kiril tried to find her, but without a success.”, Iliana Says. The other girls had been Kiril’s mistress as well. He had connection with the Bulgarian force groups – they’ve constantly came to his place. They’ve bring him some little machines thanks to which he could earn money out of the poker automated machines. All day long Kiril was occupied with this – he used to go from one hall to another.
“I was against to work into the house, although it was an oasis of vegetation. There were rumors that clients with sexual perversion are tying the girls to the chairs, gag their mouths and start to mock at them. Even Madam Marina was tortured and
humiliated this way.”, Iliana says.
The houses were under the control of another Italian woman, Adriana, she is approximately 50 years old. She had drove Hyundai with leather damask. “As you see her you could never imagine she is dealing with prostitutes. She had a lot of money. They were very close with Kiril’s girlfriend, they used to go for shopping and bars together.”, Iliana recalls. Afterwards Kilir’s girlfriend also became Madam and other girls started to work for her and used to compete Adriana’s business. Soon after they quarreled and started a war for clients.
Sister Ester:
They kill the girls
and cut them with knives
Sister Ester since 8 years is a chief of International department of “Caritas”, an organization that supports the victims of traffic with people.

The asylum that she is in charge of have been opened 4 years ago. Sister Ester arranged the visit with Iliana whom they’ve helped to come back to the normal life.
- Sister Ester, which one of the girls you are taking care of is the most affected by the pimps?
- One was coop up in one apartment for 7 long months. The apartment was with shutters, she has lived in artificial light – this has been the place where she has served her clients. They locked her during the night and they have carried her products to cook herself. For this 7 month period she has leaved the apartment only twice.
- How she was saved?
- She has become pregnant, the pimp has not locked her one night and she managed to escape. She has read a tall free number in the metro station for assistance of the victims of trafficking with people. She was ruined – physically and mentally, she has been convinced that her life will be over in that apartment.
- Was she beaten black and blue?
- No, she was not, but one of the girls was covered all over her body with razors as a punishment. Another one was with dislocated shoulder, third one was lost three teeth and her palm was cut very bad.
- Is always the violence the reason why the girls are running away?
- One girl was escaped because the pimps have given her too little money in comparison with what she has earned.
- How much?
- They have given her 2000 EURO monthly, but she has earned 300-400 EURO per day. She lives with us at the moment.
- What is the situation after the changes adopted in the Italian legislation?
- The last change in the law imposed shifting of the girls from the streets to apartments. This is even more dangerous for them, because diminishes their chances to communicate with other people and to be saved.
- Where in Rome are located these apartments?
- At almost every cross-street at the ring road.
- Are there cases girls to refuse to be prostitutes any more because they’ve fallen in love and had had an affair?
- Yes, an Italian came once in “Caritas” and he wanted to help him to save one girl. She has refused to testify against her pimps, because among them there were members of her family. Later the girl and the Italian man get married and now they have two wonderful children and I am their godmother.
- Did some of the girls try to kill themselves?
- Yes, one Ukrainian girl was lost all her humanity. She was into a deep depression, she used to refuse to rise from the bed, we hardly have convinced her to eat something. She passed in this condition about 20 days, afterwards little by little she started to recover herself.
- How the pimps control the girls?
- They raped them at their arrival, afterwards they threaten and beat them. In addition they tell them that they will force their sisters to become prostitutes also, that members of their families will be beaten or directly liquidated.
- Are the pimps dangerous?
- It happens to kill the prostitutes who have testified against them, or to sell their children.
- Who are the cruelest?
- The Albanians, but recently the Romanian as well. But nobody is as cruel as the Albanians. But we have to remind – they are supported by the Italians.
- Are the pimps participants of the organized criminality?
- All this is part of a huge organization. Some are responsible for the deliveries of fresh bodies, others forced them to work here. There are many different chains, this business is not under the supervision of one and the same people, and there are many people of different nationalities involved in this. There are Bulgarians, Italians also. The route of the traffic is changing all the time – once it may pass through Bulgaria, other time through some other place.
- Does the policemen help the pimps sometimes?
- No, but there is one policeman who has taken advantage of the services the girls for free of course.
In Sofronievo village they know
That Tzvetomir have been arrested
“Yes. There were such rumors in the village about Tzvetomir – that he has been put in Italian jail and they’ve detained him because he forced girls to become prostitutes”, Anatoli Angelov mayor of Sofronievo village says.
He also states Tzvetomir’s parents are divorced and his mother has married for second time. His father all day walks around the village with his horse and his cart and is looking for some work. Tzvetomir’s brother Hrisim is doing the same before to go off somewhere in Sofia.
The father has earned some money, he has been ready to do the work for a bottle of wine or brandy. “Hard-working people, they use to drink, but they are quiet and do not make problems.”, the mayor claims.
70-80 people have left Sofronievo and now are in Italy. The mayor had not heart among the women from his village to have prostitutes. Most of the people who have left were over 45-years old, and they left to Italy to look after elderly people.
Before to leave, Tzvetomir had had several long lasting relationships in the village. For a long time he has lived in his father’s house with the legal adviser of the Kozlodui Atomical Electric plant. He has been very close also with a woman from the village – Marieta. He is still in contact with her and they are friends.
She is married to an Italian
and most of her time she spends in Italy.
After Tzvetomir’s arrest she has driven his father to visit him after he was release from jail. Marieta’s house is close to the gas station on the main road to Vratza, the neighbors say.

We are welcomed by a teenager over there, who introduces himself as a big friend of Tzvetomir and obviously he is ready to tell us good things about him.
In that moment Marieta proper comes, she appears to be his mother. She comes with a car, accompanied by her husband with a thick gold chain on his neck.
The woman is also ready to talk about Tzvetomir, as well as to have photos, but her husband warns her not to do this. But yet she states Tzvetomir is a very good boy and he has never been occupied with bending someone to be a prostitute. She is convinced that he has been get into a hot water by Iliana, who was jealous and was mad about the fact he do not want to be with her.
According to Marieta and the man who refuses to introduce himself, Iliana has prostituted in secret and when Tzvetomir has known about this he has driven her away. “Iliana was a true prostitute yet in Bulgaria before to leave to Italy”, the man declares. He claims she first has worked for the Albanians and after they’ve driven her away she has been in a very hard situation. Tzvetomir has taken pity on her and has taken her from the street, but she has made him this dirty trick, he claims. The man though rejects to declare this officially.
According to him many other girls have lived at Tzvetomir’s place in Italy, but none one of them was forced to become a prostitute.
Tzvetomir’s father, who appears with his cart and starts to work at Marieta’s yard – they are really close. The man does not like to talk a lot – he hardy manages to say that he has been in Italy and has seen his sons, who “used to go to some people to sign some papers”. Marieta and the man explain that Tzvetomir is obliged to go every day to the police to sign. They do not think he will be putted into prison. They are accepting to resent our number to him and to call us in the editorial office in order to write his opinion.
Tzvetomir did not want to call.
According to non-official information he is sentenced by a court of the first instance and now he appeals. According to the Italian law for inclining to a prostitution and violence the punishment is between 6 and 10 years.
Russians and Albanians
are controlling the business
The body business in Italy is under the control of the Russian and the Albanian mafia. The Albanians are even more powerful after they’ve taken the place of the Turkish groups in the drug market. They are working together with the Italian organized criminality. The Bulgarian criminal groups have some misunderstanding with the Albanians.
These disputes are founding expression in trashes of Bulgarian pimps and prostitutes. It is a common practice the Albanian pimps pull Bulgarian girls and they force them to work for the Albanians. This is the reason why the Bulgarian pimps pay them some kind of tax voluntary.
The Romanian mafia also manages their prostitutes and is in a dispute for the leading role with the Albanians. The Bulgarians often come into unions with Albanian and Romanians in the traffic of prostitutes also through Kosovo, Tirana and Bucharest.
Italy is the headquarters of the Nigerian groups that also have serious interests in the trade with fresh bodies. Apart of the street business with fake branded glasses, hand bags, watches and accessories they are controlling also the black skin seductresses at the street that offer the lowest prices of sex services. Tangible presences in this business have also the Russians, Ukrainians and Moldavians mafia guys. The Russian mafia in Italy is in charge of more serious deeds as money laundry.
They brush the girls
like a street rubbish
In January 2002 Silvio Berluskoni proposes brothels to be opened, banned with a law since 1958 under pressure of Vatican. The public indignation explodes the campaign “Clean hands” starts against the prostitutes who sweep over the streets. The police make dozens of arrests of pimps and trafficants.
Rimini resort,
The native town of Frederico Felini,
is the hottest spot of the prostitution in Italy at that time. Over 4000 hotels are full of tourists. It swarms with East-European bands. “The first mass actions against prostitutes start in Rimini and Bolognia”, the deputy police chief in Rimini,
Richo Sabato recalls.

“We detained 800 prostitute from Nigeria, Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Russia. We arrested and put in jail 650 pimps”.
During these actions hundreds of girls start to talk. Over 30 organizations are taking care for their saving. “We used to hide them in communes”, Djanpietro from “Papa Ioan XXIII” tells. That organization has saved more than 4000 girls. Many other new girls start to come some of them used to pretend to repent. “We’ve disclosed that parts of them are spying for the pimps”, he recalls.
The police start to chase Bulgarian pimps
In 2001 the police in Modena arrests 36 Albanians accuse of exploitation of girls from Eastern Europe. The net is active in Torino, Bolognia, Ferara and Mantua. Among the victims there are also Bulgarians, driven by Bulgarian trafficants. In Torino a band of four Bulgarians is revealed. They’ve attracted girls from Sofia, Sandanski and other towns by promising them legal work. In March 2002 39-years old Bulgarian girl complains to the police that she has been kidnapped and has been forced to prostitute by another Bulgarian girl and two Albanians. During the investigation it becomes clear that the channel is ruled by VIS force group from Plovdiv.
In May 2003 the cops arrest at the street in the exotic sea resort Peskara a Bulgarian prostitute without documents.
The police “release” the girl under observation. Soon they reveal that Plovdiv group of pimps and trafficants regularly are replenishing the streets with new prostitutes. After one-year work the police arrest 5 Bulgarian pimps and 15 girls, offering their bodies at “Ponte Lingo’s” sea side street. After the operation they start to track out 13 more Bulgarian, tangled into the pimp’s devil-fish. Part of them is unapproachable.

One more girl
is ready to leave
For just 5 minutes not far away from Vratza “24 hours” daily representative almost persuaded a street girl to be driven to work in Italy and taped the incident with a hidden camera.

The prostitute explained that she blows for 15 levas but the standard sex is 20 levas. Prior she has worked for bigger amounts abroad. There she has earned 70 levas for blowing and 100 EURO for full service.
She has come back because her pimp did not pay her. The girl ponders over our proposition to drive her to work in Italy. She was ready to give her answer on the next day. The editorial office has a videotape.
The investigation is realized with the assistance of the Danish Organization of the Investigational Journalists. Read in the next issues the stories of other Bulgarian girls, forced to be prostitutes, as well as details about mafia nets in Bulgaria and Italy.

Bulgarian Investigative Journalism Center (BIJC) is an nongovernmental and uncommercial foundation, whose main goal is to organize and produce journalistic inquiries against the corruption and the organised crime. BIJC popularize the investigative journalism in Bulgaria and in the European Union.The foundation unites bulgarian journalists with experience in the area of the investigative journalism.
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