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Western Maryland gang bust

More than 50 Crips members arrested or indicted

More than 50 Crips members arrested or indicted

August 11, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

FREDERICK, MD. - Two men who lived between Hagerstown and Frederick and directed gangs to commit violent crimes and make drug sales in three counties have been indicted, state police said Thursday.

Lamar Cason Wilmore, 28, and Martin Kenneth Williams, 33, are among more than 50 Crips gang members who have been arrested or indicted as part of a nearly two-year investigation in Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties, Maryland State Police Secretary Col. Thomas E. Hutchins said Thursday.

Two gangs - the Outlaw Gangster Crips and the Money Making Gangster Crips - "are dismantled as far as their organizational structure," Hutchins said.

Washington County State's Attorney Charles Strong said a Washington County grand jury has handed up four indictments - two for high-ranking members - in connection with the investigation.

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"It's important to recognize that there continues to be gangs and gang members out there. They are active and ready to fill any vacancies created by these indictments," Strong said.

Wilmore has been indicted on charges of drug distribution, possession with the intent to distribute drugs and drug possession.

Williams is wanted on charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs, drug distribution, importing drugs into the state and possession with the intent to distribute drugs. Hutchins said an arrest warrant for Williams has been out for the past three weeks.

Strong said Wilmore and Williams were operating from a residential community in the south end of Hagerstown, but he would not say where, pending the service of indictments.

Police started seeing Crips activity in 2002 in the counties' three major cities and determined that the Westside Crips, with origins on the West Coast, were recruiting members in Westminster and using them to commit violent crimes in Carroll and Frederick counties on behalf of the gangs, he said.

The Westside Crips are the two separate but intertwined gangs that Wilmore and Williams led, Hutchins said.

In May 2002, a Westminster police officer was assaulted by a Crips member, Hutchins said. In October 2004, a Crips leader was shot in Hagerstown, the same month that a Crips member fired shots at several people in Westminster, police said. Hutchins listed 12 other criminal acts, mostly robberies and shootings, allegedly committed by Crips in the counties from May 2002 to December 2005.

Since "targeted" investigations began in 2004, police have made 53 arrests, executed 37 search warrants, issued more than 150 charges, and seized $45,848, several kilos of drugs and nine semi-automatic guns, "most of which were carried by the gang members," Hutchins said.

Strong said police pressure in Carroll and Frederick counties pushed the leaders to Washington County. The investigation centered in Frederick County, he said.

Hutchins said before the leaders and some of their "lieutenants" arrived, they lived in New York.

Washington County Sheriff's Department Investigator Ryan Shifflet, a member of the county's Gang Task Force, said Crips have always been a dominant gang in the county, but Bloods are the most dominant.

He said getting rid of some Crips, eliminates "only a fraction" of gang members in the county.

Police are "trying to stay ahead of the curve" and ask the public to take notice of gang activity in their communities.

Shifflet said parents who are concerned that their children have been recruited for a gang should ask themselves, "Does your child have extra money and you don't know where it's coming from? Do they use different slang and are they dressing in one particular type of clothing, not just a red shirt, but red shoestrings?"

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