Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"We are going to do what is necessary to keep this community safe."

17 Arrests, 41 Guns And 1300 Grams of Crack Rounded Up
Re-printed from an article at WCPO Channel 9 from Tuesday June 20th 2010
Cecil Thomas, Mayor Mark Mallory, an unidentified member of CIRV and Captain James Whalen announce the arrests of a gang of violent crack dealers.

Cecil Thomas, Mayor Mark Mallory, an unidentified member of CIRV and Capt. James Whalen announce the arrests of a gang of violent crack dealers.

CINCINNATI - An 18-month investigation has resulted in 27 people being charged in connection with a gang of violent crack cocaine dealers. The gang operated in Cincinnati's West End neighborhood and was known as the "Tot Lot Posse". 17 of those members were arrested today.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials announced the indictment of over two dozen people for drug and weapons offenses.

Authorities have spent Tuesday taking those individuals who were taken into custody.

Officials say a rise in violent crime in the West End since the fall of 2008, including 125 felonious assaults involving firearms and homicides showed that 20 percent of the offenses involved the "Tot Lot Posse" a gang named after a portion of a West End park usually occupied by toddlers and small children.

"The group that has been brought down has been terrorizing...the city for far too long," said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.

Cincinnati police worked together with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Ohio Adult Parole Authority and the Hamilton County Probation Department to identify about 70 members of the gang.

During the investigation, ATF agents and Cincinnati police officers purchased or recovered 41 firearms and more than 1,300 grams of crack cocaine.

The investigation, which began in November 2008, has become the largest criminal conspiracy prosecution case in the history of the Cincinnati Police Department.

“Today’s arrests continue to show that the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence is working,” Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory said. “We are going to do what is necessary to keep this community safe.”

“Today the entire law enforcement community stands united in fulfilling our CIRV promise with the members of the Tot Lot Posse. It is our hope that the West End community will see this as an opportunity to reclaim their neighborhood,” said Assistant Police Chief James L. Whalen.

“This is a great example of ATF and CPD working together and removing violent criminals from the streets of Cincinnati. ATF is committed to continuing our support of CIRV, said Brandt Schenken, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, ATF Columbus Field Division.

Three others linked to the Tot Lot gang have already pled guilty to conspiracy charges in the past month. The three men - Antwynne Beavers, 30; Eric Johnson, 27; and Raymone Johnson, 24 - each faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

References:
CIRV, Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence
WLWT Channel 12, Police Round Up 'Tot Lot Posse'
WCPO Channel 9, Gang roundup yields 17 arrests