DETROIT - On the streets of Northwest Detroit, the Playboy Gangster Crips are known as ruthless thugs who live for violence, prosecutors say.
And they aren't exactly shy about it, they say, citing the members' Facebook posts.
According to court records, one gang member advertised one AK-47 for sale on Facebook for $200. Another posted a handgun for sale for $275. A third bragged on social media, stating "we shoot, steal and rob."
They're not bragging anymore.
On Thursday, 14 members of the Playboy Gangster Crips were indicted on a slew of criminal charges for running what prosecutors describe as a violent crime ring that has terrorized northwest Detroit's for years. At the helm of the street gang, which was founded in Los Angeles, is a leader known as "Original Gangster."
Underneath are four additional ranks: Original Baby Gangster. Young Baby Gangster. Baby Gangster. And Tiny Gangster. Seniority determines ranking, along with how many crimes one has committed on behalf of the gang.
Here, according to the indictment, is how the Playboy Gangster Crips operate:
Members who disobey orders or rules, or go against the best interest of the gang are punished: they are either beaten, or kicked out of the group. Members wear navy blue bandannas or flags, have their own code language to communicate with one another and refrain from using the letter "B" because it's associated with the rival Bloods gang.
The street gang makes most of its money selling guns and drugs, including cocaine, heroin and prescription pills, and carrying out robberies and carjackings, the indictment said. Most of the group's drug deals go down at a Sunoco gas station at 7 Mile and Braile, and at various vacant houses in the area.
Social media sites like Facebook are popular advertising boards, where gang members sell drugs and guns. Sometimes, the Original Gangster will use pot money to buy more drugs or guns -- or puts the money on the "books" of imprisoned gang members.
According to the indictment, the Playboy Gangster Crips committed numerous crimes between 2010 through September 2017, including carjackings, armed robberies, drive-by shootings, assaults and home invasion. Sometimes, they ventured into the suburbs.
For example, in 2013, one gang member broke into a home in Soutfhield and stole jewelry. Weeks later, another gang member broke into a Farmington Hills home and stole an X-box game system, a laptop computer and jewelry.
Over time, the indictment said, their ways caught up with them.
In February, one gang member sold marijuana and alprazolam pills to an undercover agent. Weeks later, that same member offered to sell more presecription pills to the agent.
On Sept. 27, that member and 13 others got indicted by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court. The indictment was unsealed Thursday. Charged are:
Jvon Clements, “Toon,” 25, of Detroit
Winston Hill, “Shady Blue,” 23, of Sterling Heights
Dawon Taylor, “J-9,” 21, of Detroit
Ron Benson Jr., “Duke,” 23, of Detroit
Devante Crockett, “TBK,” 22, of Detroit
Deshaun Tisdale, “Havoc,” 23, of Detroit
Davon Moultrie, “Blue,” 21, of Detroit
Deondre Casey, “Trouble,” of Detroit
Andre Tinsley, “Danger,” 23, of Detroit
Dangelo Davis, “Black,” “Sosa,” 27, of Detroit
Recharl Boynton, “Bear,” “Cee,” 26, of Detroit
Anthony Marshall, “Hitman,” 20, of Detroit
Nathaniel Brown, “Nino,” 23, of Detroit
Darryl Grizzard, “Deezy,” 27, of Detroit
The indictment is the collaborate work of Detroit One, a 4-year-old group of
local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together to combat violence in Detroit. It's also the latest in a string of indictments from the U.S. States Attorney’s Office and Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office over the last four years involving violent street gangs in Detroit.
Tresa Baldas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas.
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