53 gang arrests announced

Police say 2-year probe disrupted activities in Central, Western Md.

August 11, 2006|By NICK SHIELDS | NICK SHIELDS,SUN REPORTER

A two-year investigation has led to dozens of arrests and a disruption of a Crips gang's activities in Central and Western Maryland, authorities said yesterday.

A task force of state, county and municipal police departments conducted the investigation, which brought about the arrests of 53 gang members on more than 150 criminal charges, officials said. Among those arrested, police said, were leaders of a Crips' organization that was operating in Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties.

"We didn't take down the whole operation, but we took down the biggest part of the organized control of the organization," state police Superintendent Thomas E. "Tim" Hutchins said at a news conference yesterday in Frederick.

The arrests were announced about two months after about 300 law enforcement officers, political leaders and educators attended a summit in Columbia on rising gang violence statewide. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal money has been set aside to fight the problem.

In 2002 law enforcement agencies began noticing organized gang activity in Frederick, Westminster, Hagerstown and surrounding areas. Police say two gangs, the Money Making Gangster Crips and the Outlaw Gangster Crips, were recruiting members and committing crimes in Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties, officials said.

In 2004 the joint task force formed and has since arrested gang members ranging in age from 18 to 35. Those arrested, police said, include Lamar Cason Wilmore, 28, formerly of New York, described as the Outlaw Gangster Crips leader in Western Maryland. Wilmore is charged with selling drugs, police said.

Authorities said they continue to search for Martin Kenneth Williams, 33, who police think headed the Money Making Gangster Crips in the area. He has been indicted on numerous felony drug charges, police said.

Other gang members were arrested on charges that include attempted murder, assault with intent to murder, armed robbery, assault on police, use of a handgun in commission of a crime, importing drugs into the state and distribution of drugs.

Westminster Police Chief Jeff Spaulding said a 2002 assault by a Crips member on a plainclothes officer was an early sign of gang activity in Carroll County.

"I don't think at that time there was any recognition that there was any gang involvement beyond just the very local levels group of people who were known to us who were criminals," he said.

More than a year ago, the Police Department held a community meeting at a local church to address rumors about recent spates of crime and gang activity, he said. More than 100 community members packed the basement of an area church for a question-and-answer session.nicholas.shields@baltsun.com

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