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Crime: Police take steps to lower hammer on gangs

St. Petersburg

Police taking steps to lower hammer on gangs

Recently, some teens were socializing in a local park when a group claiming to be members of the Haines Road Crue showed up and started a fight.

A boy and a girl were stabbed, but their injuries were not life-threatening.

Several members of the Haines Road Crue were arrested in April in connection with a series of armed robberies at local pharmacies. Velislav Matzov, 19, also was charged with attempted murder in connection with a shootout with an undercover detective in April that occurred during a robbery at a Blockbuster Video Store. The detective is recovering.

The Gang Intelligence Team investigated the stabbing. Two detectives went to a suspect's home one night, and a young woman let officers inside. They smelled marijuana.

They interviewed the woman and a man inside the home when they saw marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Detectives and undercover narcotics officers got a search warrant.

The search produced more than 25 pounds of marijuana, several thousand dollars in cash, an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun.

The man and his roommate were charged with armed trafficking of marijuana, and the young woman was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Detectives are working with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office to have the Haines Road Crue certified as a gang as defined by Florida law, so any member charged with a crime will face enhanced charges.

William Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman

Crime: Police take steps to lower hammer on gangs 09/27/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 29, 2008 3:13pm]
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