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Large Crackdown Targets 52 Alleged Gang Members Across Cuyahoga County

Photo by Flickr.com's Roland Tanglao.
Photo by Flickr.com's Roland Tanglao.

By ideastream's Brian Bull

Law enforcement personnel arrested more than two dozen alleged gang members across Cuyahoga County today, with warrants out on 20 others.  Prosecutors say they’ve been involved in a string of crimes across Cleveland’s West Side, including Parma, Avon Lake, Middleburg Heights, Olmsted Township, Lakewood, and Strongsville.

First Assistant County Prosecutor Duane Deskins says 52 people tied to five gangs face a number of charges….36 of them juveniles between 13 and 17 years of age.

“These gang members we have targeted are not newcomers to the juvenile justice system," says Deskins. "Not counting the current charges in the new complaint, they’ve accumulated 45 prior delinquencies or cases on their records.  Including violent crimes such as attempted murder, kidnapping, and felonious assault.”

The juvenile charges stem from a rash of thefts, break-ins, and robberies that occurred between August and October of 2014.  Deskins says membership in a gang itself is a second-degree felony. 

Altogether, there are nearly 200 charges filed so far, with more arrests and charges possible. 

Investigators say there could be more arrests and charges as they learn more about the gangs’ activities…which have included social media posts by the gang members themselves.  

“52 people is a significant chunk in any regard," says Deskins. "It’s one of the largest cases our office has ever brought.  I’m not going to stand here and tell everyone that the effort to fight gang violence is at an end.   But I think the important thing you should take away is that we are resilient, prepared to go the long haul, to make sure that gang violence, where ever it may be found, and how many jurisdictions it may be found in, will be dealt with, swiftly.” 

Gangs targeted include BBE, DTO, 1300 SPE, and 30 Low.