AURORA | More than 50 people linked to the “East Side Crips” street gang have been indicted on cocaine charges, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
According to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office in Denver, the investigation lasted 20 months and included Aurora police, the FBI and the Metro Gang Task Force, among other agencies.
“These gang members dealt cocaine and crack cocaine in open-air drug markets, including near parks and public transportation centers — both areas where children and families congregate. The goal of this investigation is to remove poison, fear and danger from these places so they can be used again freely by the public,” the statement said.
In all, prosecutors said 52 people were indicted and 35 were arrested with the remaining 17 considered fugitives.
“The magnitude of this investigation demonstrates the collaborative effort to identify, target and address metropolitan-wide organized gangs involved in drug trafficking and violence in our community,” Aurora police Chief Nick Metz said in the statement. “The hard work and dedication of all the investigators and officers involved will have a tremendous impact on our communities. Thank you to everyone who was involved.”
It wasn’t clear from the initial statement from prosecutors if any of the 52 were charged with a violent crime or crimes.
The drug charges could send some of those arrested to prison for life, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said the lead defendants include Jerrell Birch, Rodrick Harris, Shedrick Wilford, Tamar Henry, Deon Jackson, Kiki Douglas, Clarence Antoine and Spencer Antoine.