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Criminologist warns of turf wars after NOPD gang busts
Tulane University criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says these recent gang busts could have a negative ripple effect.
NEWORLEANS-- Another big New Orleans drug trafficking gang bust, as arrest warrants have been issued for 12 members of what police are calling '89ers' or 't-blocc' gang. Tulane University criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says these recent gang busts could have a negative ripple effect.
'The area is known for a lot of drug activity, a lot of shootings,' said NOPD Detective Ricky Jackson at a news conference on Friday afternoon. The New Orleans Police Department says it has the surveillance images to prove that major drug trafficking was happening in one upper 9th Ward neighborhood.
Now 10 people are behind bars thanks to an undercover narcotics investigation that focused at the intersection of North Tonti Street and Almonaster Avenue.
'Just as you watched us recently dismantle gangs that are involved in killing one another, we also have gangs that are involved in the drug trade and we're going to go after them,' said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
The NOPD says a group connected to 'the 8-ers or t-blocc' gang brazenly dealt drugs on the corner, inside a nearby convenience and, in some cases, in the rain or when kids were in the vicinity. Those suspects face a host of charges including possession and distribution of crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
Police say crimestoppers tips ultimately helped kick start the covert operation last September.
'Law-abiding residents in the area were sick and tired of this and they were sick and tired of the frequent drugs. They called the 5th District,' said Serpas.
'This is not a crime antibiotic. It's not like the patient gets better right away,' said Scharf of the recent gang busts ultimately curbing violent crime in the city. He says as police continue to target established gangs a negative ripple effect could follow.
'When you disrupt the drug trade, there are a lot of things that can happen and not all of them are good,' said Dr. Scharf, who also warns of the dangers of putting a gang into the already dysfunctional Orleans Parish Prison. Another concern is sparking turf wars in neighborhoods.
'When you break these groups up and you don't decrease the demand for drugs, one you get increased competition, and with these groups somebody owned that street on Almonaster. Now you're going to have people fighting over who owns the street,' said Dr. Scharf.
As of Friday night, the NOPD was still looking for two suspects connected to that drug trafficking investigation. Police issued arrest warrants for 59-year-old Gerald Chambers and 43-year-old Eddie Dokes. .
Police say this investigation is on-going and the case is being forwarded to the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office.
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