Gang crackdown aimed at making Roxbury development safe for residents

Alleged gang members hanging out in Orchard Park during chat with BPD.

A dozen men and one teen who police say had turned Orchard Park development near Dudley Square into a violent open-air drug bazaar were charged with federal drug offenses yesterday following a two-year investigation, Boston Police and the US Attorney's office report.

It was the second large-scale set of gang-related arrests in two days - the day before, BPD and the feds arrested 17 members of warring Dorchester gangs.

Officials hope the charges against 12 men and one teenager in the Orchard Park case - plus an earlier arrest and conviction of a man on crack and gun charges - lead to a safer Orchard Park by removing the most dangerous and active gang members. Officials hope that as members plead or are found guilty, they can not only send them away but include conditions for post-prison releases that will bar them from the Orchard Park area for several years. Two of the men remain fugitives.

But an affidavit filed with the case states several dozen other gang associates remain on the streets. In the past, large-scale crackdowns have led to remaining members or other gangs trying to fill the vacuum. In this case ATF agents joined BPD detectives in the investigation in part to help figure out if the Orchard Park Trailblazers were trying to expand after another crackdown led to the arrests of more than 50 alleged members of the rival Columbia Point Dawgs in 2015.

The 13 alleged members of the Orchard Park Trailblazers and the Vine/Forest Gang, and one man with no prior known gang connections, swept up in the investigation collectively had criminal records that included hundreds of arrests, according to an affidavit by a BPD detective who worked on the two-year investigation. Several were already awaiting trial on other drug charges. One has already served time in a federal prison for drug dealing. Another was only recently released after serving a 10-year sentence for manslaughter; another has a record that includes several convictions for assault and battery.

In the middle of the investigation, police arrested one alleged Orchard Park member, Diamond Brito, after informants working with police bought 12 guns and 35 grams of crack from him. He pleaded guilty last fall and is currently serving an eight-year federal sentence.

The members were surrounded by violence, Det. Gregory Brown wrote. Ten of the arrested men had themselves been shot or stabbed - one three times. One allegedly sold crack out of the wheelchair to which he'd been confined since being shot in 2001. One won't be tried with the others - he's been deported to his native Dominican Republic. A fourteenth person targeted by the investigation won't come to trial because he fatally overdosed before he could be arrested.

According to Brown, the gangs had such easy run of the Orchard Park and the older Orchard Gardens area that informants who had never been there before were able to buy drugs just by going up to guys and asking if they were dealing. And because of them, the development remained a high-crime area in a city where rates of crime have dropped over the past decade.

Between January of 2015, the development has seen 11 shootings - one fatal - 18 firearms arrests, 80 drug arrests and 51 robberies. But these numbers may underestimate the problem in the development, Brown wrote.

Brown wrote that part of the problem is the development's layout - a dense area of buildings clustered around numerous short dead ends, making surveillance difficult. And part of the problem, he wrote, was that once the gangs had established themselves on its streets, many residents grew fearful of contacting police because they knew they couldn't avoid the gang members.

Those charged:

  • Daiquan Lucas, a/k/a "Sav Montana," 24, alleged member of Vine/Forest Street;
  • Jeremiah Mines, a/k/a "Germ Gee," "Jerm," 24, alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers;
  • Andre Parham-Rankin, a/k/a "Chuck," 21, alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers;
  • Lyndon Scott, a/k/a "L-Dot," "L-Scott," "Skizzy," 27, of Brockton, alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers;
  • Keon Smith, 38, alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers;
  • Kevin Woods, 26, alleged member of Vine/Forest Street.
  • Raymond Gaines, a/k/a "Hops," 38, of Brockton, alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers;
  • Jaylin Hawkins, a/k/a "Rocko," "Jay-Roc," "Lil Bro," 23, alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers.
  • Raul Williams, a/k/a "Boobie," 26, of Boston, an alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers, was previously charged by the state.
  • Jose Quinones, a/k/a "Julio," 24, also an alleged member of Orchard Park Trailblazers, was previously charged with being an alien in possession of a firearm and distribution of cocaine base and has been deported to the Dominican Republic.

Diamond Brito pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges last fall; is currently in federal custody.

Innocent, etc.

Affidavit in the case (1.6M PDF).
Map showing crime concentration focused on Orchard Park (1.7M PDF).
Surveillance photos (3M PDF).

Man charged with downtown bank robbery; may have held up other banks

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 15:15

Thomas W. Nee, 46, was arrested this week on charges he held up a bank on School Street downtown in May - and may be responsible for additional bank robberies in the area, federal officials allege. Read more.

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Gang member named in investigation has already pleaded guilty and agreed to stay out of Grove Hall and Uphams Corner

One of the 17 people charged in connection with a crackdown on two Dorchester gangs was actually arrested last November, pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in February and was sentenced in May to 30 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release, during which he agreed to stay out of Grove Hall and Uphams Corner.

Takari "Paper" Elliott, 25, an alleged member of the Cameron Street Killas who has been arrested before, was nabbed during a yearlong investigation by Boston Police and the federal ATF into its feud with the Wendover Street gang, for an incident in which he twice sold crack to an informant wired for sound on Howe Street in July of last year.

In an affidavit, an ATF agent involved in the investigation, described the second sale, which took place around 3:25 p.m. on July 8 after Elliott drove up in a white Infiniti belonging to Maria Barbosa, his alleged ex-girlfriend who was charged yesterday with distributing cocaine and distributing fentanyl.

Elliott parked near Hancock Street and one of the two "cooperating witnesses," who had driven in a car supplied by investigators, walked up, got in, and gave Elliott $200 in BPD "buy" money in exchange for two grams of crack.

CW-2 entered the front passenger door at approximately 3:25 p.m. and immediately wanted to know why Elliott was charging CW-2 $200 today. In response, Elliott told the CW that "the dude" (presumably Elliott's supplier) "chrged more for the work yesterday," but assured CW-2 that the price would not go higher than $200 and would be between $175 and $200. Elliott also said that he would give CW-2 a better deal if he/she bought 2 eight balls of crack instead, telling him/her, "No bullshit, the more the better, you be help me out." ...

As CW-2 got out of the white Infiniti, she/he asked Elliott "what happened over there" (apparently referencing a recent nearby shooting scene). Elliott responded by telling CW-2 "Someone got killed ... it's summertime, you know." CW-2 then remarked on the number of guns on the street and asked Elliott if he could get CW- one. CW-2 explained that he/she wanted a .22 caliber handgun and would be willing to pay $400 for it. Elliott said, "If I find one, I'll let you know." CW then walked back down Howe Street, met back up with CW-1 and together they drove back to meet with me and the other investigators.

In a memo to the judge in the case, Indira Talwani, Assistant US Attorney John Wortman wrote that barring Elliott from the two neighborhoods where he'd had most of his interactions with police would help him build a more productive life:

Because both the literature and common sense show that opportunities for crime will be presented whenever a Defendant returns to a high crime area in which his offending began and grew (and in which his street credentials and sense of self may have been based on that very criminality), removing him from that area can reduce both the opportunities for further crime and the expectation from those around him that he will re-offend.

Wortman added that, in any case, Elliott now plans to move out of the Boston area altogether once he is released from prison.

Elliott's lawyer, Timothy Watkins, wrote Talwani that he would normally oppose any geographical restrictions, but not in this case:

[T]he narrowly tailored geographical exclusion zone and the specific associational prohibitions promote Elliott's already demonstrated desire to put his past behind him, and to physically and mentally remove himself from the milieu that has culminated in dangerous chaos. It is testimony to Elliott's resolve that he has agreed to join in the exclusion and prohibition conditions proffered by the government.

Affidavit by ATF agent (1.2M PDF).
Government explanation for sentence (43k PDF).
Response by Elliott's attorney (52k PDF).

Firefighters battle brush fires in Stony Brook Reservation

Boston firefighters are in Stony Brook Reservation, battling three separate brush fires, near the Washington Street side, roughly across from Heron Street.

UPDATE: Fire went to second alarm around 3:50 p.m. as BFD brought in more firefighters to connect distant hydrants to the crews in the woods. Firefighters were also warned to be careful due to a large bee colony discovered near one engine and to watch for trees that might fall.

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 15:00

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