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Five held by task force in ongoing gang probe continues

SoVaNow.com / April 12, 2017
Four juveniles and one adult were arrested Thursday as part of a raid in Chase City by the Southside Drug Task Force, with officers conducting an ongoing investigation into suspected gang and drug activity in the area.

The juveniles have been charged with robbery by violence and assault by a mob. The fifth person arrested, an adult sought on the same charges, turned himself into local law enforcement over the weekend. The five are being held without bond at various detention facilities in the area.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Investigator Jamie King, who tracks local gang activity, said the Sheriff’s Office is keeping the names of those charged under wraps so as not to hinder the ongoing investigation. Two juveniles and three adults, part of this gang sweep, remain at large.

King declined to comment on whether Thursday’s arrests are tied to two murders that have taken place in Chase City over the past six months. In October, a 33-year-old Chase City resident, Michael Jerome Stewart, was found lying face down in the 400 block of North Washington Street after police responded to a complaint about shots fired. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three months later, on Jan. 18, Dwight E. Tucker Jr. was found dead in his car after it crashed into a parked car near the Greater Union Baptist Church on Boyd Street in Chase City. The 26-year-old Tucker was believed to have been shot before the vehicle crashed, though no other person was in the car when the police arrived.

King described the five suspects who were arrested as possible members of “a local hybrid gang set.” What distinguishes a hybrid gang from the more traditional ones, such as Bloods or Crips, is their motivation, say police. In a meeting with community members last week in Baskerville, King described a hybrid gang as a group dedicated to making money through drugs, robbery or prostitution.

The hybrid gang has a looser organizational structure, he said, and “they tend to make things up as they go.” In comparison, King explained, traditional gangs are usually based around race, ethnicity, cultural lines and neighborhood loyalty.

King said so far, no court date has been set for the five suspects who are in custody. “We are trying our best to address the drug and gang issues here,” he said.

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