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Friday, 19 December 2008

Arous J. Phillips identified by police as a leader of a Bounty Hunters Bloods gang was found guilty

20-year-old man identified by police as a leader of a Bounty Hunters Bloods gang was found guilty Thursday of recruiting youths and participating in criminal activity to benefit the gang.Arous J. Phillips was arrested Aug. 4 after police raided five Cradock-area homes looking for evidence of gangs, criminal activity, weapons and stolen items.Several police officers testified during the bench trial that they had observed Phillips and others wearing the red and black beads, bandannas or clothes that denote Bloods gang members.A witness, Anthony Graham, testified that Phillips was a "superior" in the gang. Graham said he had discussed the gang with Phillips for about a week before he was initiated in the summer of 2006. Graham was 15 at the time.Prosecutor Amy Miller asked Grahamwhat gang members do, and he answered: "Try to get rank." He said that was done by committing "missions" such as burglaries and robberies.Graham said Phillips sent him on two of those missions and went with him when he robbed four people in the Camelot neighborhood of Chesapeake. He said Phillips handed him and another gang member a sawed-off shotgun and a rifle to use.Graham and at least one other juvenile were also arrested on charges that included burglary and grand larceny after the August raid. He said he agreed to testify against Phillips as part of a plea agreement.On the stand, Graham explained gang signs that Phillips was flashing in photos that police confiscated.In one photo, introduced into evidence, Phillips was wearing a red bandanna, outlaw-style on his face.Detective K.L. Gavin, who heads the city's gang task force, testified that police are monitoring 36 gangs in the city. Gavin said that he and others in the Police Department have been aware of Phillips' involvement since 2005.He will be sentenced on Feb. 18 and faces a maximum of 15 years.


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