BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Battling back against gang violence. A grand jury has handed down indictments against dozens of suspects that investigators say are part of three crime organizations that have terrorized the Cherry Hill neighborhood.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the gang crackdown.
Those 26 people are now facing federal charges including murder, racketeering, conspiracy and dealing drugs.
The murder of a 1-year-old child brought the community of Cherry Hill to its knees. Now city officials are trying to push violence out of the neighborhood.
“The citizens of Cherry Hill deserve better,” said Special Agent Steven Gerido, ATF.
More than two dozen alleged gang members were indicted for a string of violent crimes and drug dealers. Investigators call them the worst of the worst.
“We will not allow gangs to terrorize our neighborhoods,” said City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.
Prosecutors say a gang known as “Up Da Hill” has been waging war with two other crews, “Coppin Court” and “Little Spelman.” Investigators believe the turf wars are responsible for much of the violence in the Cherry Hill neighborhood.
Police have linked five murders to the gang disputes, including the killing of youth football coach Harry Hicks in January 2011.
Much of the violence occurs near four schools in the area, which concerns Councilman Nick Mosby.
“When you grow up in an environment like that, certain things become normalized and it’s critically important that we route these evils out of our community,” he said.
But according to the indictment, one defendant wrote on Facebook, “They say ur nobody until somebody kills u but where Im from ur nobody until u kill somebody.”
“We cannot allow that to be the motto for Cherry Hill. Killing and being killed is not what it is to be somebody,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.
Prosecutors promise these indictments are just the start. Twenty of the 26 people indicted have been taken into custody. Police are still trying to track down the final six.
All 26 defendants face a maximum of life in prison.
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