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Alleged members of Youngstown street gang indicted on drugs and weapon charges

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A year-long investigation has produced secret indictments against members of another Youngstown street gang.

The action was announced on Monday by city, county and federal authorities.

Police officials say that 16 people, including 13 adults and three juveniles, all face charges of participation in a criminal gang, drug trafficking and possession of weapons for their involvement with the street gang.

The indictments come after a collaborative investigation between the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office, the FBI and the Violent Crimes Task Force.

At a city hall news conference on Monday, those indicted were identified as being associated with the "Vic Boys," a street gang that operates primarily in the Victory Estates housing area.

"This group was targeted based upon information developed by the task force and input from the community which indicted. This group was causing significant disruption in the community by committing violent crimes on a routine basis," says Todd Wickerham of the FBI Cleveland office.

All of the suspects are facing felony charges; some of the charges range from trafficking in cocaine and marijuana, to engaging in a pattern of gang activities and possessing weapons while under disability.

The news conference also included a message to young people that they don't have to end up in prison, or worse.

"I'm making a plea. If you want help, if you want change in your life, there are people, we are here to help you," says Guy Burney of the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence.

There was a warning for those who choose gang activity and violence.

"We're not going to tolerate the violence, we're not going to tolerate the drug sales and we're going to prosecute to the fullest extent we possibly can," says Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains.

Chief Foley says more work is underway to rid the community of gang violence.

"This is an ongoing effort. This will not stop. Additional groups will be targeted and identified in the future," says Foley.

An arraignment for the suspects in custody is scheduled Tuesday at 9 a.m.

 

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