Powered by Blogger.


Monday, 18 January 2010

Da Fam is just one of approximately 200 gangs currently operating in DeKalb

“I’ve had gang members from rich families, grew up in a $400,000 home and both parents were at home,” he says, noting that many parents are shocked to learn that their children are heavily involved with criminal gangs. “It comes down to parents being parents … and that’s not just with gangs. It can be with any dangerous behavior.”

It was around 10 o’clock on a Sunday night when shots rang out from somewhere beyond the garage of the Lithonia home. Bullets and shotgun shells rained into the two-story house on Browns Mill Ferry Road. There was shouting, confusion, and then it was over. No one was harmed, but investigators quickly determined that a local gang was responsible for the mayhem. Five teenagers would eventually be arrested on aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and gun charges. The next day, the nearby Supreme Fish Delight and American Deli restaurants were robbed at gunpoint. The perpetrators were two of the same teenagers arrested for the Browns Mill home shooting, along with two other accomplices.Two months later, on nearby Shellbark Road, a pedestrian was beaten by a gang of five young males, who pummeled him to the ground with their fists and an assault rifle. DeKalb County prosecutors now believe these crimes, as well as a number of other incidents dating back to 2006, are the work of a violent street gang known as Da Fam. Over the past year, amid calls for better policing by Atlanta mayoral candidates, high profile murders, and the roundup of members of a Mechanicsville-based street gang called 30 Deep—believed to be involved in the murder of Grant Park bartender John Henderson—Atlantans have become much more familiar with the concept of gang crime, despite a confusing insistence by some leaders that the city is safer than ever. One thing, however, is clear to all sides of the crime discussion: Atlanta’s gangs are very real, very dangerous and not bound by city limits or the Perimeter. For years, Atlanta’s suburban neighbors have struggled to deal with young people practicing violent habits with no respect for the law. Sgt. Danny Jordan, a supervisor with the DeKalb County Police Department's 13-member gang unit, says Da Fam is just one of approximately 200 gangs currently operating in DeKalb . The number includes sets as small as three people operating independently or under the banner of larger street gangs. Jordan says cooperation between metro law enforcement agencies is integral to prosecuting gangs that operate across jurisdictional lines. “We share a lot of information through intelligence bulletins that we send out over e-mail, routinely updating each other on trends,” he says.
Jordan’s unit chalked up some success last month, when DeKalb County issued a 95-count indictment of 14 gang members (pictured with this article), all in their late teens to early 20s. The young males are accused of crimes committed between 2006 and 2009, most of which occurred east of the Perimeter between I-20 and Stone Mountain Freeway. According to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office, each of the accused has ties to alleged gang Da Fam, an association that binds them together under charges of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. If they are convicted, the gang law could tack on additional prison time and a fine of as much as $15,000 apiece.Investigator Jose Diaz, with the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, is the Northern Region Vice President of the Georgia Gang Investigators Association (GGIA). He says the Gang Act under which DeKalb has indicted the alleged Da Fam members has become an invaluable tool for law enforcement in Georgia and represents a necessary change to the legislation prosecutors had to rely on before 2006. He says older Georgia laws aimed at street gangs were almost all modeled after legislation intended to break down La Cosa Nostra-like organizations with well-defined hierarchical structures and what could be described as effective criminal business models. Under the old rules, Diaz says, the prosecution would have to prove that any crime attributed to a gang was perpetrated with the specific intent of furthering the goals of the criminal enterprise.

“They’d pretty much have to confess that ‘Yeah, I was doing this armed robbery to get money for our gang to buy guns,’ or to buy cars or to buy houses,” he says.
The Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act makes it easier for prosecutors to establish a criminal link between members of gangs and to present their various criminal acts together in court. Although the act was unanimously upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court last year, it is not without its critics. DeKalb County Assistant Public Defender Corinne Mull calls the law “extremely vague.”Mull represented a minor charged with murder, aggravated assault and gang violations stemming from his alleged ties to the national 18th Street Gang. She helped take his case to the Georgia Supreme Court, arguing that the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act is unconstitutional.
“It could, and still does, permit any grouping of people to be treated as a gang, and leaves it at the discretion of the prosecutor,” says Mull. In addition to being too vague, Mull sees the Gang Act as a public relations tool for Georgia law enforcement, giving citizens a sense that the government is doing something about the state’s gang problem, without generating any real effect. “We frighten people enough, we’ve generated more money, more people are getting paid,” she says. “The DA’s office gets more money, prisons get more money. Bottom line, those people are still going to jail, they’re going to jail for the same amount of time. Nothing new is happening. “In reality,” she continues, “it’s meaningless.”Meanwhile, Mull says adding additional time for criminals who could be locked up indefinitely without the help of a gang charge is another fruitless practice encouraged by the gang act.
“They’re sort of punishing people in the grave,” she says. “[A gang could] go out and armed rob a night club. You can give them a life sentence for that and keep them there for life. What else is going to be achieved by saying ‘They’re a gang?’ Life plus 15?”

Mike Carlson, chief assistant district attorney for the DeKalb DA’s office, sees the Gang Act as anything but frivolous. Carlson has become well known in Georgia’s law enforcement community as the founding head of the DeKalb DA’s Gang Unit, established in 2007. He appeared on the History Channel program “Gangland” to discuss the activities of national gang SUR 13 in DeKalb County. His gang prosecution unit was presented with the 2009 President’s Award by the Georgia Gang Investigators Association for its success in prosecuting gang-related crime as well as for Carlson’s role in defending the Gang Act before the Georgia Supreme Court.

The Gang Act, he says, allows prosecutors to present a jury with a broad pattern of criminal behavior displayed through the defendant’s ties to a criminal enterprise such as a youth street gang.

“Without [the Gang Act],” Carlson says, “that additional evidence as to the context might not be admissible.”

Carlson adds in an e-mail follow-up, “By taking advantage of the flexibility afforded by the Gang Act, the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office has had considerable success in fighting criminal street gangs and for all intents and purposes shutting down Black Mobb.”

Black Mobb, an Eastside rival of Da Fam, saw the imprisonment this year of Darrel “Squirt” Curney, the 21-year-old whom the DeKalb DA’s office believes to be the gang’s leader. Curney pleaded guilty to nine counts of participation in criminal street gang activity and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and another 15 on probation.The Gang Act says “the State of Georgia is in a state of crisis which has been caused by violent street gangs whose members threaten, terrorize, and commit a multitude of crimes against the peaceful citizens of their neighborhoods.”
Georgia is not alone. The National Gang Threat Summary, released in 2009 by the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC), states that “Approximately 1 million gang members belonging to more than 20,000 gangs were criminally active within all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of September 2008.”The assessment goes on to note that between 2004 and 2008, areas that were previously unaffected by criminal street gangs have increasingly played host to gang activity as gangs have migrated into suburban and rural communities. The NGIC estimates that nearly 10,000 gangs with more than 172,000 members are currently operating in the Southeast, and predicts the region will see an increase in influence of traditional national Hispanic gangs in the near future. National gangs like SUR 13 and MS 13 have already established a presence in metro Atlanta.
Investigator Diaz, fresh from the GGIA’s monthly gang intelligence meeting, says although warnings of an increased presence of national gangs in Atlanta are troubling, the loosely organized hybrid gangs permeating Atlanta itself already pose unique difficulties to law enforcement.

“The boundaries of turf are not as defined as in other areas,” says Diaz. “It’s a good thing and a bad thing.”

It’s good because individual gangs, for the most part, have not been able to establish themselves as an indelible part of most local communities. However, it can be problematic for investigators when they’re looking for members of a specific gang.
“If I want to talk to them, it would be much easier [to have them within specific boundaries],” says Diaz, “because I’d already know where most of them hang out and where they live.” Metro Atlanta’s rising position as an East Coast drug hub has only helped fuel local gangs’ propensity for committing criminal acts. Members of local gangs, says Diaz, are perfectly suited to enter the ground-level drug trade as transporters and distributors once a large supply of illicit drugs becomes readily available.
“Gangs already have some type of organization,” he says. “It’s a group of kids that are not really scared of going out and committing crimes, they’re not scared to use violence. A lot of them are under the age of 17.”Diaz stresses that arrests alone won’t solve the region’s gang problem. Without strong efforts within the community to educate citizens and deter youth from going astray, the best law enforcement can hope to do is temporarily disrupt the activities of criminal street gangs. He uses 2000 to 2001 as an example. During that period, roughly 50 Georgia members of La Famila, many of them high ranking and influential, were federally indicted. “It created a void for a while, but unfortunately a lot of these groups see that [power vacuum] as an opportunity rather than a deterrent.” Diaz is quick to note that more than any economic or environmental issues, strong parental supervision is the biggest factor in keeping Georgia’s youth out of trouble.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Pageviews from the past week


Drug Enforcement automatically monitors news articles and blog posts tracking breaking news of arrests and drug incidents as they happen worldwide .These inter-active News Reports are followed as they develop. Giving you the chance to comment on breaking stories as they happen. Drug Enforcement alerts you to topics that are frequently linked to and commented upon in the world press. Someone is arrested every 20 seconds for a drug related offense !Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments are subject to the Blogspots terms and conditions of use and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of the Drug Enforcement site. Readers whose comments violate the terms of use may have their comments removed or all of their content blocked from viewing by other users without notification.

Popular Posts

Latest Templates

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map

Friend's Link

Blog Archive


Privacy Policy (site specific)

Privacy Policy (site specific)
Privacy Policy :This blog may from time to time collect names and/or details of website visitors. This may include the mailing list, blog comments sections and in various sections of the Connected Internet site.These details will not be passed onto any other third party or other organisation unless we are required to by government or other law enforcement authority.If you contribute content, such as discussion comments, to the site, your contribution may be publicly displayed including personally identifiable information.Subscribers to the mailing list can unsubscribe at any time by writing to info (at) copsandbloggers@googlemail.com. This site links to independently run web sites outside of this domain. We take no responsibility for the privacy practices or content of such web sites.This site uses cookies to save login details and to collect statistical information about the numbers of visitors to the site.We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and would like to know your options in relation to·not having this information used by these companies, click hereThis site is suitable for all ages, but not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13 years old.This policy will be updated from time to time. If we make significant changes to this policy after that time a notice will be posted on the main pages of the website.

Latest News

Add to Technorati Favorites
Site Specific Privacy Policy run in accordance with http://www.google.com/privacy.html
We can be reached via e-mail at
For each visitor to our Web page, our Web server automatically recognizes information of your browser, IP address, City/State/Country.
We collect only the domain name, but not the e-mail address of visitors to our Web page, the e-mail addresses of those who communicate with us via e-mail.
The information we collect is used for internal review and is then discarded, used to improve the content of our Web page, used to customize the content and/or layout of our page for each individual visitor.
With respect to cookies: We use cookies to store visitors preferences, record user-specific information on what pages users access or visit, customize Web page content based on visitors' browser type or other information that the visitor sends.
With respect to Ad Servers: To try and bring you offers that are of interest to you, we have relationships with other companies like Google (www.google.com/adsense) that we allow to place ads on our Web pages. As a result of your visit to our site, ad server companies may collect information such as your domain type, your IP address and clickstream information. For further information, consult the privacy policy of:
If you feel that this site is not following its stated information policy, you may contact us at the above email address.