Earlier this year, we saw the largest takedown of violent gang members in the history of New York City, according to the New York Post. According to the article, nearly 700 police officers and federal authorities participated in an early-morning raid on April 27, 2016 that targeted multiple housing projects in the Bronx. The New York Police Department took the lead on the raids, working in cooperation with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Marshals, and the United States Department of Homeland Security. The investigation into the gangs’ alleged violent criminal activities began in 2014 with warrants being issued for alleged gang members’ social media accounts that professed details of various criminal activities, including videos on the social media platform YouTube. The raids came in response to decades-old violent rivalries between two Bronx gangs that had also spilled over to involve gangs from other states. According to the article, these rivalries were the cause of at least eight murders and a host of other violent criminal activities. The article quotes New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton as saying that these busts are “the single largest takedown in modern New York history,” and that “it will go a long way toward ending violence” in the area.

After the initial raids and follow-up investigative activities in the days following the original raids, more than 120 alleged gang members were arrested. The list of charges faced by those arrested is expansive. Some of the crimes include: drug trafficking, racketeering conspiracy, robbery, bank fraud, firearms conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, and many others. It will likely take some time for all of the alleged gang members to see their day in court, and right now several of them are still being held without bail.

Social Media as Evidence

Sometimes it can be very difficult to obtain solid evidence in a criminal case, and there are very strict rules regarding what can be used as evidence. However, with the increasing popularity of social media platforms, law enforcement departments across the country are finding it easier to conduct investigations into criminal activity with various admissions being found on those social media platforms. Even with the public nature of social media, police investigations often require warrants based on probable cause to access those platforms. However, as this particular investigation demonstrates, social media often contains some of the most crucial evidence useful to law enforcement to continue an investigation or obtain evidence for an arrest. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the role that social media plays in criminal investigations.

Legal Assistance for Criminal Charges

If you are facing criminal charges, it is best to avoid discussing those charges with anyone other than your lawyer. You should not discuss any legal matters or criminal activities online or through any other platform. If you are facing criminal charges, especially violent criminal charges, you could be facing extremely serious consequences, including prison and large financial penalties, too. The criminal defense team at Xavier + Associates (formerly Anelli Xavier) has experience working with clients facing a wide variety of criminal charges, both violent and nonviolent. If you are facing these charges, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Contact the criminal defense team at Xavier + Associates (formerly Anelli Xavier) to schedule a consultation if you are dealing with criminal charges.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.  Corporate offices for Xavier + Associates (formerly Anelli Xavier) are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  Attorney Advertising.