Metro Gang Strike Force

members of the Metro Gang Strike Force attended a six-day conference in Hawaii, using nearly $17,000 in forfeited money that had been seized by the Strike Force in the course of its work.That turned out to be the first of many exclusive stories that Furst reported this year examining questionable practices within the Gang Strike Force. His reporting ultimately contributed to the decision to shut the organization down.Furst reported, along with Lora Pabst, how officers seized $4,500 in cash from Dagoberto Rodriquez Cardona in 2008 when Cardona went to claim a car from an impound lot, without ever documenting that the money had been seized. Cardona later filed suit, illustrating that the cash was money he and three others had earned through work, not drugs.We learned, through Furst's reporting, that seizing cash, cars, TVs and other property without proper documentation had become common practice on the force, first to help fund the work during tough days, and occasionally to enhance the lifestyles of some police officers.Furst also broke the story, ahead of everyone else, that Strike Force commander Chris Omodt had closed the unit in late May after discovering that officers had been shredding documents prior to an investigation into Strike Force activities.Today, Furst and Paul McEnroe take you behind the scenes to explain the meltdown of this organization, one of the biggest failures of crime enforcement in recent Twin Cities history. Their exhaustive reporting shows how something that began as a successful, upstanding crime-fighting organization eventually went rogue.

“M62 Gang” - 4 females in their mid 30s to early 50s

criminal gang who stole over £300,000 of designer clothes, including £9,000 from Wigan stores are now behind bars, thanks to officers from the Wigan Business Crime Partnership. The “M62 Gang” - 4 females in their mid 30s to early 50s - have been operating across the North West shoplifting from high end designer womenswear stores, taking up to £5000 worth of clothes on each visit. A specialist officer, working with Wigan Council on behalf of Wigan’s Business Crime Partnership, was instrumental in securing the gang members’ arrests after undertaking surveillance in the town centre. That officer shared information about the gang’s activities in Wigan with colleagues across the region, which was crucial to the police arresting the four women in York last month. Cllr Kevin Anderson, the cabinet champion for safer communities, says: “This is an excellent result for the close teamwork of the Crime Partnership. Their work must remain confidential, but we can all be grateful that this gang has been stopped in its tracks, stealing from local shops who are working hard in the grip of a recession.” The specialist officer had been gathering evidence that the women had been coming to Wigan since August. Carol Ramsey, Lorraine Matthews and Collette and Debbie Ryan had been in town for six days a week, systematically targeting some of the top retail names in the town centre.
The four women were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court last week, with Carol Ramsey and Lorraine Matthews each receiving 14 months. Collette Ryan was jailed for 10 months and Debbie Ryan for 6 months. The Crime Partnership was set up in 2001 in Wigan. It works to co-ordinate intelligence about criminal activities between Wigan’s day time and evening economies, Robin Retail Park and Ashton town centre, linking in with the council’s CCTV network. Images of known offenders are circulated amongst members as part of the group’s intelligence gathering operations. Violent crime in Wigan town centre reduced by 31 per cent last year and the team have won a number of industry awards.Cllr Anderson adds that the partnership wasn’t created because of any increase in crime. “Wigan remains to be one of the safest places to live, work and visit in Greater Manchester,” he says. “By maintaining and improving the standards of crime reduction, we can ensure even better and safer environment for businesses, residents and visitors.”

Martin Hamilton attempt was made to gouge a man's eye out with a spoon and Hamilton also tried to cut a man's finger off with a knife.

Martin Hamilton is preparing for early release after nine years of a life sentence.

And a source told the Sunday Mail: "There will be a few people dreading the day he walks out of prison a free man."

Hamilton was flanked by two guards as he called on his mother for tea and biscuits on a home visit from Shotts Prison.

He watched l ive coverage of the UK Snooker Championship at the old lady's Glasgow flat on Thursday before emerging at 3.15pm.

He was then driven back to Kerr House, a low-supervision wing at Shotts.

Ultra-violent Hamilton was jailed for life in 2000 for a catalogue of offences , including abduction, torture and drug-dealing.

He was ordered to serve at least nine years before he could apply for parole.

But the 49-year-old heroin baron and bank robber is now confident he'll be out soon after he was granted the right to enjoy two-hour home visits.Our source told us: "Hammy can't wait to get out of prison."He's been inside for a long time now and knows each day is a day closer to freedom."All he has to do is keep his nose clean and stay out of trouble."The home visits are the start of the process for Hammy and he chooses to go and visit his mum."She's getting on, and Hammy going to visit her is easier than her having to make the journey to Shotts."Hamilton was the most notorious gangland figure in Scotland during a reign of terror which lasted almost 20 years.Before justice finally caught up with him, he walked free from TWELVE High Court indictments for crimes, including possession of firearms, a shooting, serious assault and robbery.Cases against him fell apart after witnesses were too afraid to give evidence against him, and preferred to be jailed for contempt of court instead.
But Hamilton was finally sent down at the High Court in Inverness - as armed police guarded every exit in the court building.Terrified witnesses were put in pol ice protection schemes and a news blackout on the trial was imposed.
Hamilton, of Anderston, Glasgow, was convicted of ordering the kidnap and torture of victims from the Edinburgh drug scene.Detectives say he was trying to take control of the capital's drug trade. Local dealers d ived for cover when he based himself in the capital 's Broomhouse area.Hamilton was found guilty of 14 charges, including several torture offences. Victims were set on fire, scalded with boiling water or stabbed in the face.In one horrific incident, a young couple were ordered to be stabbed in a bath so they wouldn't bleed all over the carpet of the flat where they were being held hostage.An attempt was made to gouge a man's eye out with a spoon and Hamilton also tried to cut a man's finger offwith a knife.Hamilton was also convicted of being concerned in the supply of heroin and diazepam, threatening a man with violence and holding a knife to another man's throat and threatening to kill him.He was acquitted over the abduction of two men and offering them money for sex.Passing sentence, Lord Kingarth said: "You showed yourself capable of taking sadistic pleasure in the infliction of pain and the inspiration of real terror over long periods.
"You pose a substantial danger to the public."Hamilton's co-accused, David Henderson, was jailed for six years.A third accused, Martin Byrne, 28, who gave evidence against Hamilton, admitted stabbing the teenage girl and boy in the face and was jailed for just three years.Hamilton had already served a nine -year sentence for trying to rob the Dunferml ine Bui lding Society in Anniesland, Glasgow in 1992.And in 1990, he abducted notorious gangster Paul Ferris off the street.
He bundled Ferris into a car on the orders of crime lord Arthur Thompson Snr, but released him when Thompson had a change of heart.Our source said: "Police were popping champagne when Hammy was sent down. They'd waited years to see him put away.
"Now they'll be wondering if they'll have to do it all over again when he gets out."

sentenced Jamal Shakir of the Rollin' 90s Crips for his role in arranging drug deals and killings

sentenced Jamal Shakir of the Rollin' 90s Crips for his role in arranging drug deals and killings, and executing power over a gang enterprise authorities say stretched from Los Angeles to Nashville.On Monday, the 34-year-old Shakir wore a yellow prison jump suit and was shackled at the wrists and ankles. Several U.S. Marshals guarded him in the courtroom.Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunny A.M. Koshy told the judge that officials found a handwritten note in Shakir's cell Monday morning with instructions on how to get out of handcuffs. Koshy said authorities have found letters Shakir wrote in the past few months calling for people to be killed and urging fire bombings.Several family members of the victims testified Monday about losing their loved ones. Thea Gibson said her daughter, Shannon, who was killed in 1996, will never know the joy of raising her two children — now 17 and 21.
"You left my grandchildren without a mother," Gibson said. "You are the punk that you are. I want the maximum for what my family has gone through and others because of his manipulative enterprise."Shakir then interrupted the witness to tell the judge he didn't want to be there."Excuse me your honor, but I shouldn't have to hear this again," Shakir said of the testimony, which was also given at his trial earlier this year. "I've heard it hundreds of times."When Nixon told Shakir he needed to listen, Shakir threatened to keep interrupting, but made only one more comment, saying, "You don't know me."Loretta Johnson spoke somberly of losing her youngest daughter, Regina, also in 1996. According to trial testimony, Regina was shot to death in her bed and her decomposed body was discovered about 10 days later. Her 3-year-old daughter was shot in both elbows and survived by drinking toilet water, prosecutors said.Johnson said that little girl, now 16, still has occasional nightmares but has managed to get on with her life."She's the miracle in our family," Johnson said.James Pilcher, the father of a Crip gang member whose killing was ordered in 1997, said he's become an ordained minister since the death of his son, Woody. Pilcher said he's asked God to forgive Shakir's sins, but he often reflects on the life his son could have had.
"Woody got the death penalty, and I got the possibility of life without parole," Pilcher said. "I have to go through this every day of my life."
Before the sentencing, Nixon gave Shakir an opportunity to speak, and he painted himself as the victim of "political aspirations" by Koshy, the lead prosecutor.
"If everybody say they're looking for justice, I say they're looking in the wrong place," Shakir said.Koshy responded that Shakir was once again being manipulative and that "nothing the defendant says can take ... away from what he did."

"This defendant is evil," Koshy said.

Koshy said the Federal Bureau of Prisons will decide where Shakir will be housed.
In October, a federal grand jury indicted two people on charges they plotted to steal a helicopter to help Shakir escape.Prosecutors claim the two conspired between June and September to find a helicopter, direct street gang members to restrain the aircraft's owner and then take it

Bloods street gang accused of a gang-hit slaying

One of three alleged members of the Bloods street gang accused of a gang-hit slaying was brought to Lackawanna County Court on Monday under heavy security to enter a guilty plea to first-degree murder.The deal fell apart after Jeffery Future asked for more time to review hundreds of pages of documents investigators had compiled against him.Though Mr. Future had agreed to plead guilty, he told Judge Carmen Minora, through his attorney, he first wants to review the 600 to 700 pages of documents police have assembled in their investigation into the death of Allen Fernandez, another Bloods member, whose body was found July 30, shot 12 times with several different weapons on Snake Road in Ransom Twp.First Assistant District Attorney Gene Talerico said after the aborted court hearing that Mr. Future "indicated he wanted additional time to contemplate his decision to enter a plea to first-degree murder, to honor the agreement he made with the commonwealth."
Beside asking for more time, Mr. Future's attorney, James Elliott, said he wants investigators to stop reading Mr. Future's mail. Mr. Talerico said the court has already ruled on the issue."We filed a motion with the court and the motion was granted," Mr. Talerico said.Judge Carmen Minora said he would allow Mr. Future and Mr. Elliott "six or seven weeks" to review the documents.Outside the courtroom, Mr. Elliott said he only received the documents last week through a process called "discovery." He also said Judge Minora said he would rule on the request about the mail after Mr. Elliott files a motion.Mr. Future, 25, was arrested along with Christian Kenyon, 17, and Tonie Future, 18, who were students at West Scranton High School. According to court documents, the Future brothers said they were ordered to kill Mr. Fernandez because he was disloyal within subsets of the Bloods street gang. Police say all three suspects allegedly shot Mr. Fernandez. The gang member who allegedly ordered the execution-style murder has not been identified.Before sending Mr. Future back to prison, Judge Minora gave him a warning about any possible future delays in courtroom proceedings.
"I won't let you run the show here," Judge Minora said. "I will be reasonable, to a point."If Mr. Future still has not decided whether he wants to enter a guilty plea, Judge Minora said, "Then I will set a trial date."By pleading guilty to first-degree murder and not going to trial, Mr. Future would escape a possible death sentence, which a jury could impose if it found him guilty of first-degree murder, Mr. Talerico said.

Anh-Tuan Dao Pham, 19,has been sentenced to prison for 39 years to the rest of his life for shooting and killing a 17-year-old youth

Sacramento gang member has been sentenced to prison for 39 years to the rest of his life for shooting and killing a 17-year-old youth who was walking along the street near the Wildhawk Golf Club almost three years ago.Anh-Tuan Dao Pham, 19, received the term Thursday from Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy W. Frawley for the Feb. 22, 2007, shooting murder of Dominique Hickman, 17.Pham's term also includes time on an additional attempted murder conviction for shooting and wounding two people in the unincorporated south area less than an hour after he killed Hickman.

Deondre Byrd was acquitted on a murder charge

Deondre Byrd was acquitted on a murder charge today, 14 years after he was first accused in a shootout between rival gangs that killed an Ann Arbor teenager.A Washtenaw County jury deliberated most of the day today before returning the not-guilty verdict just before 5 p.m.And although Byrd, 34, wasn't convicted, he won't be set free. Instead, he will be transferred back to federal custody to await trial in an unrelated triple homicide that occurred in Ypsilanti Township in 2001.
Byrd was accused in the shooting death of Tamara Stewart, 16, who was attending a barbecue on Ann Arbor's south side in July 1995 when she was killed by a stray bullet.Washtenaw County Chief Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller, who tried the case, declined to comment on the verdict or speculate on how jurors came to their decision. He said he did not speak to them after they reached the verdict.
Byrd's attorney, Anthony Chambers, could not immediately be reached for comment.
During the weeklong trial, witnesses included retired investigators, informants and people who were there the night of the shooting.Police have said it was fueled by a feud involving Byrd and William "Chuck" Taylor. Both men were charged in 1995, but the cases were dismissed when witnesses refused to testify, saying they were too scared. Taylor was shot to death in an unrelated case at an Ann Arbor hotel in 2002.
Three other men also were charged in the Stewart shooting; two were convicted, and one was acquitted.The case was revived last year after one of the men who was convicted - 33-year-old Emilio Vasquez - won the right to a new trial on appeal.Before his second trial got under way, Vasquez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and admitted he fired a handgun in Stewart's direction that night. Vasquez, who was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, also agreed to testify in any cases that arose from Stewart's death.Vasquez testified during the case this week. Byrd did not take the stand in his own defense.An informant in the Washtenaw County Jail also testified, and a tape was played of a conversation he had with Byrd while both were in jail. Retired Washtenaw County Sheriff's Detective Gordon Ralph said Byrd can be heard on the tape telling the man he shot a .357 that night and had a "pocket full of bullets.""It's just unfortunate," Ralph said of the verdict.
It's unclear when Byrd will go on trial in the federal case.

Hedric "Edrik" Velez supplied groups of Latin King drug dealers who distributed cocaine in the areas of Brownell Avenue and Broad, Arnold and Willard

Hedric "Edrik" Velez, 35, of Vernon, received about 44 pounds of cocaine by mail from Puerto Rico between March 2008 and April 2009 and made about $40,000 in profit selling to gang members.Velez, who was arrested in April, is one of 55 people charged by Hartford police, state police and the FBI following a yearlong investigation of drug sales and violence in the Hartford area. He pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to distribute and distribution of 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
In addition to the prison sentence, Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey ordered Velez to submit to five years of supervision by the federal probation department upon his release from prison.Federal prosecutors said that Velez received kilogram packages of cocaine from Puerto Rico by U.S. mail. After learning about the deliveries through telephone wiretaps and from informants, federal agents intercepted the last delivery at Velez's home and arrested him on April 27. He has been in jail since.
Velez supplied groups of Latin King drug dealers who distributed cocaine in the areas of Brownell Avenue and Broad, Arnold and Willard streets in Hartford.
The sentencing of Velez, charged with supplying people who investigators say are affiliated with the Latin Kings gang, comes at a time when city officials in Hartford are downplaying reports that drug gangs might be re-establishing a foothold in the city. A fight between the Latin Kings and Los Solidos over drug sales in the 1990s created a wave of violence.Authorities, while building the case against Velez and the others, identified at least a dozen men who are described as members of the Latin Kings or Los Solidos.
In memos filed in court, prosecutors said the Latin Kings were "a mostly fractured and disorganized entity with no clear and established leadership." However, the memos said that some of those arrested used their reputations as "established Latin King members" to control the drug supply in parts of the city.

Somali pirates seized Maran Centaurus

Somali pirates seized an oil tanker on its way from Saudi Arabia to the US in the latest in a series of attacks hundreds of miles off the coast of Africa. A gang of nine pirates hijacked the Greek-flagged 300,000 tonne supertanker on Sunday 800 miles (1,287km) close to the Seychelles. It is one of the largest vessels seized by Somali pirates, who regularly mount attacks on some of the 20,000 ships that pass through the Suez Canal between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean each year. It prompted warnings that the seas from the Suez canal to the Seychelles would soon be too dangerous for insurers to underwrite cargos passing through the area. The hijacking of the Maran Centaurus underlines the ease with which pirates can prey on ships far out to sea despite dozens of European Union, Nato and other warships.
The 28 crewmen are safe and well according to a spokesman from the Greek managing company, Maran Tankers Management, which has received a telephone call from the bridge of the Maran Centaurus. The crew of the vessel, which is classified as a VLCC (very large crude carrier) is made up of 16 Filipinos, nine Greeks, two Ukrainians and a Romanian. The company said that the tanker was carrying about 275,000 metric tonnes of crude. At an average price of about $75 (£46) a barrel, the cargo is worth more than $20 million.

Notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, serving time in a Kathmandu prison for the murder of two western holidaymakers, could be out of jail

Notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, serving time in a Kathmandu prison for the murder of two western holidaymakers, could be out of jail in February, his lawyer said.Sobhraj was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of two backpackers — Canadian Laurent Ormond Carriere, 26, and Connie Bronzich, 29, of California, United States — in the Himalayan state in 1975.“Prosecutors don’t have a single (piece of) evidence against Charles to show that he entered Nepal to kill. For the past 30 years, they are trying to establish evidence. Now his only charge is about false passport.“We have a very strong case and, sure, he will be freed by February next year,” Shakuntala Thapa, one of Sobhraj’s lawyers, told Bernama in a telephone interview from Kathmandu.

Nicknamed the “bikini killer”, the flamboyant globe-trotting Frenchman, who often preyed on young western tourists touring Southeast Asian capitals, allegedly committed at least 12 murders between 1972 and 1976.
But investigators across the world believe numerous other murders have gone unreported.
After a string of arrests and escapes from high-security prisons from Bangkok to Kabul for alleged crimes — from possessing fake passports, drug dealings, gemstones smuggling to murders — Sobhraj was finally arrested in New Delhi in July 1976 for drugging French tourists and robbing jewellery from a hotel.In 1986, he escaped from India’s Tihar prison by drugging the prison guards but was rearrested by Indian police months later, and he stayed behind bars until 1997.
After his release, Sobhraj returned to France and suddenly emerged in Kathmandu in 2004, where he was arrested while holidaying.The 65-year-old Sobhraj was born Gurmukh Sobhraj to an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother and became a French citizen after his mother remarried, to a French national.Last year, while in prison, he married 20-year-old Nihita Biswas, his interpreter and the daughter of his lawyer Shakuntala, in a simple Nepali ceremony.Sobhraj has also earned another nickname, “the serpent”, for his tact in deceiving authorities and staging daring prison breakouts.

Mike Tyson allegedly hit a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport

Mike Tyson allegedly hit a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport and was detained on suspicion of battery Wednesday, police said.The paparazzo told police that the former heavyweight boxing champion struck him once, airport police spokesman Sgt. Jim Holcomb said. The photographer fell to the ground and was treated for a cut to his forehead at a hospital.Tyson's spokeswoman Tammy Brook said the boxer was traveling with his wife and 10-month-old child Wednesday afternoon when he was attacked by an overly aggressive paparazzo. He acted in self-defense to protect his child, she said.Tyson and the unnamed photographer both want to press charges for misdemeanor battery, police said."There's a lot of different versions to this story and that's all going to come out later," Holcomb said. "Some witness statements support Tyson's version, others support the photographer's."Paparazzi often camp out at Los Angeles' largest airport to get shots of celebrities in transit.Tyson was cooperative as he waited in a holding cell at the airport police station, Holcomb said. He will be booked and released later. The photographer will also be booked once he is released from the hospital, police said.Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion ever in 1986 when he won his title as a 20-year-old. But his life since then has been marred by accusations of domestic violence, rape and cocaine use.Tyson was convicted of rape in Indiana in 1992, serving three years in prison. He was disqualified from a 1997 heavyweight title fight when he bit off part of Evander Holyfield's right ear, and in 1999 he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges in Maryland.In 2003, Tyson filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He served 24 hours in an Arizona jail in 2007 after pleading guilty to cocaine possession and driving under the influence.


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