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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : latest news : regional October 20, 2014


8/18/2014 8:32:00 AM
They're Here: Gangs a Yavapai reality, says task force
Prescott Valley Gang member arrested in Camp Verde.
Photo courtesy GIITEM
Prescott Valley Gang member arrested in Camp Verde.
Photo courtesy GIITEM
Dine gang tattoos
Photo courtesy GIITEM
Dine gang tattoos
Photo courtesy GIITEM
John Hutchinson
Special to the Tribune

COTTONWOOD -- Nearly three dozen citizens gathered in Cottonwood last week. Many more were part of gatherings in Prescott and two other locations, as a presentation on Yavapai County gangs was televised throughout the county.

Tim Bolger, a sergeant with the Department of Public Safety gave a presentation on gang activity in the county and its bearing on illegal drugs in an information opportunity sponsored by MATForce. Bolger is the Yavapai County Supervisors for the GIITEM Task Force whose officers come from Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Sedona, Chino Valley, and Prescott and Prescott Valley. The acronym stands for Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission.

He says most people don't think we have a problem, but he says gangs are active and use their activity to move drugs for financial gain, power and sex and to intimidate.

In laws passed in Arizona in 1993, criminal activity associated with a gang affiliation can add three to five years to a criminal sentence on an existing offense.

The Task Force identifies specific gangs and affiliation though the use of seven official criteria including self-proclamation, witness testimony, written correspondence such as graffiti, paraphernalia or photographs. The affiliations also communicate through Facebook, Twitter and Myspace

Tattoos are also popular. Gangs also identify themselves through colors or clothing, beads, hand signs and the way they pose for photographs.

In Cottonwood, three gangs have been identified, according to Bolger: The Southeast Familia, BEF and SWED.

The GIITEM task force offers individualized training to recognize gang activity. They recently presented to the Prescott Valley Library staff because the location has become a gathering point.

Gangs gather for the same reasons that a family does. Some are initiated through prison or jail contacts.

Bolger says while many gangs are recent upstarts, some have been in business for a long time. One Hispanic gang has been operating in Prescott since the 1940s.

The Crips and the Bloods, opposed each other, are considered hate groups.

One gang member from Prescott Valley was arrested in Camp Verde and is an offshoot of the Creekside Gang. 1622 is the name of an offshoot and younger generation of the Creekside gang. Sixteen and 22 are the numbers of the alphabetical initials "P" and "V."

The Caliboys originated in California. One gang member was arrested on a fire-bombing charge in western Yavapai County

The Juggalos is a gang with roots in the Detroit rap scene of the Insane Clown Posse. Bolger says Juggalos can be found in Prescott Valley and Cottonwood.

Much broader groups include Skinheads, White Power and hate gangs. The Dine is an Indian culture gang that tends to be organized from prison. Feathers are worn to show the offenses they have committed.

Then there are plenty of motorcycle gangs, which include The Hells Angels, Vagos and localized gangs that are often associated with the larger groups.

Bolger says Giitem has 80 cases involving gangs since January, with 24 cases involving drugs. The Task Force has now identified 300 gang members in Yavapai County since the group was formed last January.

This July, the GIITEM task force broke up an intended murder-for-hire plot that targeted a woman in an effort prevent her from testifying.

Bolger says citizens should be active in reporting graffiti to local authorities for rapid removal. Also report suspected gang activity so law enforcement and GIITEM can respond.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Article comment by: Christina Arredondo

Creekside is not a gang!!!! Never has been! All It is or should I say was a few families that lived there. Some related & some not. The families just like any other families would have get togethers!!! The name "Creek Boys" was jus a nickname that was taken out of proportion!! There are very few of those families living there now! !! Most have moved away! I go for a drive once in awhile down there and know no one really no one that lives there anymore. I remember where my Aunts and Uncles once lived, my Grandparents lived (where my aunt lives now) But for the most part my cousins & friends that did live there, no longer reside at "Creekside"!!! Look around and look at all the Business's that claim creekside.....Should they as well be classified as "A Gang"????? As for 1622...Its Prescott Valley!!! If every one looks at the map What will you see???? 1622 Hello People!!!!L

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Article comment by: len mattsen

Very good, informative article. A contact name and phone number would have been nice.
"Bolger says citizens should be active in reporting graffiti to local authorities for rapid removal. Also report suspected gang activity so law enforcement and GIITEM can respond.
How do I recognize "gang activity" that is worth reporting???
Few of us know exactly what to look for in rural gang activities. Perhaps a community based education program for citizens could be offered by the local law enforcement agencies.


Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: Juggalos are not gang members

They are simply fans of a band. They don't call members of the KISS army a gang or Lady Gaga's "Monsters" so why would Juggalos be a gang? That is just silly



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