ATF and law enforcement officials arrested eight local men in dawn raids yesterday. The arrests were the second phase of a one and one half year investigation to break local gangs known as "Operation Cripland." The indictments involved weapons and drug charges that carry penalties of not less than five years and not more than 40 years imprisonment and fines of up to $2,000,000.00, and averaging $250,000.00. They join nine others who were arrested in October, 2009.
Those arrested yesterday or previously and indicted included Reginald Cotton, aka "Rock," of Aurora, Clarence Antoine, aka "PK," of Denver, Brandon Hamilton, aka "Knight," of Denver, Torrence Triplett, aka "Blue," of Denver, Lane Smith of Denver, Walter Johnson, aka "Lil Walt" or "Colfax," of Denver, Kenneth Riggs, aka "Ken Dog," of Aurora, Isaac Alexander, of Aurora and Anthony Hobbs, aka "KC," of Denver. Two others, Jerome Bennet, aka "Cross," of Aurora and Michael Richardson of Denver remain at large.
"Today's arrests send a unified message that law enforcement will continue to target those criminals who plague our streets with their illegal firearms and narcotics," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson. "ATF, along with our partners, remain steadfast in protecting the public and will continue to target violent gangs to make our streets safer."
The case was investigated by the ATF-led Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) Task Force, a joint effort of the ATF, Denver Police Department, Aurora Police Department and Lakewood Police Departments. Assistant U. S. Attorney David Conner is prosecuting the defendants under U.S Attorney David Gaouette, head of the local U.S Department of Justice office.
The news comes on the same day as the United States Supreme Court's ruling striking down a Chicago ordinance banning handguns in that city. However, the justices' ruling left open a community's ability to regulate them. Mr. Hamilton's indictment includes a count of possession of a sawed-off shotgun which is punishable by not more than 10 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine.
The indictments are allegations and presume innocence. Trials will be forthcoming.