Prosecutors announced they have taken down a violent street gang that has terrorized a swath of Harlem streets and even recruited children to commit crimes like shootings, robberies and transporting guns and drugs.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance announced Wednesday that 14 people have been indicted on conspiracy charges. Some individual defendants face charges of attempted murder, attempted assault, firearms possession and narcotics sales.
Vance said members of the "137th Street Crew" protected their central Harlem turf by using shootings, beatings and robberies. The crew also used violence against its own members to discourage leaks to law enforcement.
The DA alleges that the crew sold drugs near such Harlem landmarks as the Abyssinian Baptist Church and a Harlem Hospital pediatric clinic. Their drug-related violence regularly spilled into streets that include the Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy, a public high school and the Harlem YMCA, authorities said.
The defendants are also charged with recruiting children younger than 16 years old into gang activity like shootings, robberies and selling drugs.
"These defendants are young, they're armed and they have made our streets unsafe for too long," Vance said in a statement. "Through our intelligence-driven prosecution model, we were able to build a case that focused on both individual acts of gang violence, as well as on the broader criminal conspiracy, including narcotics sales and illegal firearms possession, which were the trademark of these gang members."