Entries in Gang Members (4)


Texas Judge Bans Gang Members from Houston Neighborhood

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Texas prosecutors say one Houston neighborhood that's been ravaged by drug dealing and violence will be a bit safer after a judge's ruling barred 16 members of the Bloods, Crips and Most Wanted gangs from entering the area.

Prosecutors in Houston's Harris County decided to take a civil approach to the criminal problem under Texas's public nuisance laws. They had to prove to a judge that the individuals were gang members, who had criminal records showing that they were nuisances, according to the Harris County Attorney's office.

The judge ruled in their favor Tuesday, granting an injunction against the 16 gang members.

"This enables us to get injunctions against gang members who are causing nuisances," said Laura Cahill, senior assistant county attorney, who handled the case.

"This is a way to clean up certain areas where there has been a lot of gang activity, particularly drug activity. It has gotten so bad the area was called no-man's land because of the drug dealers out there dealing all the time," Cahill said.

The county attorney's office presented testimony and evidence in a civil trial Tuesday, including testimony from five Houston police officers.

None of the 16 defendants showed up to court or were represented by attorneys. They have not actively participated in the suit, and four are currently in jail, Cahill said.

Filing civil actions against gang members proved difficult because they are often transient, she said.

"We had an original list of 28 (gang members), and there are probably more than that, but we had hard a time tracking them down to serve them with a lawsuit," she said.

The judge's ruling Wednesday means that the 16 individuals are prohibited from entering the "Safety Zone," created in the Brays Oaks neighborhood of Houston, about a mile-square area in the southwest part of the city. The neighborhood, which has two daycare centers and an elementary school, is heavily populated and has been inundated by gang violence, Cahill said.

The county also used public nuisance laws in order to sue two Brays Oaks convenience stores where gang members were hanging out during the day, Cahill said. The county then worked with the landowners of the properties to put in place more stringent security measures.

Cahill said that a civil injunction banning gang members has happened only once before in Harris County.

Lead county attorney Vince Ryan told ABC News station KTRK-TV in Houston that the injunction would help the community become a safer place for residents.

"These gangs are committing numerous criminal offenses in this area, close to a school, in residential areas and close to residential areas," Ryan told KTRK. "This is to create a safety zone so that people in the neighborhood can feel more comfortable and also give officers probable cause for stopping these gang members."

Following the judge's ruling, any of the 16 gang members found in the Brays Oaks Safety Zone could face one year of jail time and a $4,000 fine.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teen Girls Housed With Sex Offenders in Wichita Program

Ozanam(WICHITA, Kan.) -- A state-funded residential program in Kansas was investigated last week for housing foster girls as young as 16 with juvenile criminal offenders, including "gang members, sex offenders and drug dealers."

Since 2008, there have been 142 police incidents reported from the complex, operated by the Ozanam Pathways program, including three allegations of rape, according to Wichita police Deputy Cheif Tom Stolz.

Stolz said that authorities completed an investigation of Ozanam Pathways's apartment complex in Wichita July 22, but found no evidence of an "acute public safety matter," noting that "food was in the fridge," and "the premise was clean."

But the deputy chief was not convinced that housing young girls with male juvenile offenders, some as old as 21, made sense.

"That is a questionable policy that we would put those kids in same proximity in one another," Stolz told ABC News.

"They are put in contact with manipulators or predators who sell drugs or already had sexual assault on their records or run with gangs who are very savvy and sophisticated. As a police officer for 30 years, that doesn't make good policy sense to me, for whatever that's worth," he said.

At the Ozanam Pathways apartment in Wichita, five teenage girls, classified as "child in need of care," and the 10 males, some of whom are juvenile offenders, live in separate apartments in a complex on West University. They also share a common courtyard space in the middle of the complex.

Ozanam president Doug Zimmerman said the Pathways program has a similar arrangement for "child in need of care" teen girls and juvenile offenders, including sex offenders, in their supervised apartment in Kansas City.

The Kansas Justice Juvenile Authority, which retains custody of offenders and refers some of them to Ozanam's pathway program, said in a statement to ABC News they are working to reform the current system, but that change requires action from the state legislature, and "it cannot be solved overnight."

Stolz said conditions at Ozanam Pathways apartment in Wichita were brought to police attention by a former employee on July 18.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Middle Schooler Raped by Eight Teen Gang Members

ABC News(MORENO VALLEY, Calif.) -- A gang of teen boys are accused of savagely raping an 11-year-old girl they lured from a California shopping mall and brutalized in the dank men's room of a nearby park, police said.

The oldest of the alleged attackers is Michael Sykes, 19, who was arrested Monday following a two-week manhunt. He is charged with rape, sodomy and assault of a minor.

Sykes is the oldest and last charged member of a group of seven other teens who police say are all members of a local street gang known as the South Side Mafia.

The March 10 rape may have been part of a perverse gang initiation rite, according to police, who said the teens would be further prosecuted on gang-enhanced charges and could be charged as adults.

Police say the girl was lured to Victoriano Park in Moreno Valley, Calif., by an older girl, who she may have known and who may have been working for the gang. The older girl has also been charged for abetting the commission of rape.

The seven other gang members, aged 14 to 17, were arrested soon after the 11-year-old girl came forward to report the crime. Police say they did not initially make news of the crime public so as not to endanger the investigation.

On Monday, the Riverside County Sheriff announced they were looking for Sykes, believing he had fled to Los Angeles. He was arrested later that day.

Sykes and the other boys do not yet have attorneys, police said.

The police have not identified the girl or the accused minor assailants.

It is unknown whether the victim knew the young men, said Cpl. Courtney Donowho, spokeswoman for the Riverside County Sheriff.

Donowho said police do not believe the boys photographed the scene as has happened in other recent gang rape cases.

The incident follows several similar high-profile group sexual assaults.

In February, 13-year-old from Banning, Calif., reported being held down and assaulted by two boys also at a park.

Earlier this month the alleged rape of an 11-year-old girl from Cleveland, Texas, by 18 men and boys ranging in age from 14 to 26 sparked national outrage.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hundreds of Mexican Drug Gang Members Caught in Crackdown

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A sweeping federal takedown Tuesday confirms that Mexican drug cartels have penetrated the United States and have affiliated drug gangs on the streets of hundreds of American cities, federal officials said.

A total of 678 alleged gang members from 168 cities were arrested by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) task force targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations.

More than 46 percent of those arrested were affiliated with 13 different Mexican drug trafficking organizations, ICE officials said. Of the 678 arrested, 447 were charged with criminal offenses and 421 were foreign nationals.

The operation, Project Southern Tempest, was conducted from December 2010 through the end of February. In addition to the arrests, the operation also seized 86 firearms, large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, and more than $70,000 in cash, according to ICE officials.

"These transnational gangs are a direct threat to our safety," ICE Director John Morton said at an afternoon news conference Tuesday. "We have to go after them hammer and tong."

Morton said transnational gangs are not only working the drug trade, but are frequently working in human smuggling, weapons smuggling and other crimes with a nexus to the border.

Project Southern Tempest is the latest in a series of federal task force operations targeting drug gangs. The operations include local police in dozens of U.S. cities, including Atlanta.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio