The Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force has come down hard on a group that has dominated the far South Side since 2003.
The V-NOT gang staked out a territory from Seneca Turnpike to about Ballantyne Road and from Barnes Ave on the west to Monticello Drive on the east.
Syracuse Chief Frank Fowler tells us that V-NOT stands for Valley N-word On Top.
According to the indictment, which was read twice in Federal court on Tuesday afternoon, the gang dealt marijuana from 2003 to 2006 and became active in cocaine starting in 2006. A source named 'Slice' allegedly provided a supply every two weeks. Slice was murdered in May 2006 and became recognized in social media and gang signs.
The indictment also states that gang members became violent in defending their territory and their drug franchise.
In October 2010, a Bricktown gang member reportedly stabbed a V-NOT gang member at Johnny B's Jukebox, on North Geddes Street, and a V-Not Member used an AK-47 to shoot at the residence of bricktown members.
There was more violence between the two gangs on route 81 and 690 on October 28 and on November 7 at what's described at a V-NOT hangout at 321 Shirley Drive.
On November 26, 2010, Syracuse High School Basketball star Kihary Blue was shot in the head while riding with Bricktown Gang friends on Route 81. Kihary Smith, from V-NOT, has been charged with his murder. Two days later, Bricktown member Saquan Evans shot and killed toddler Rashad Walker Junior, mistakenly retaliating against the 110 Gang for Kihary Blue's death. "Gangs such as the V-NOT gang, the Bricktown Gang, the other gangs that we have addressed in this city poison our streets with violence and all manner of crime. They use violence to control neighborhoods. They boost their illegal money making activitied which include selling guns and drugs," said US Attorney Richard Hartunian at Tuesday's news conference.
Six reported members of the V-NOT gang were arrested early Tuesday morning:
Kihari Smith, 26 (also charged with the murder of Kihari Blue)Habakkuk Nickens, 26Kenneth Jackson, 27Titus NIckens, 28Riadda Travet, 22 (the only woman)Nathan King, 21
Five others, already in prison, were indicted on additional charges:
Jeffrey Powell, 27Christopher Mike, 27Jermeere Mckinnon, 23Dwayne Hester, 27Donald Johnson, Jr, 24
Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says, 'The City of Syracuse is a much safer place right now than it was yesterday, because the Gang Violence Task Force has removed this very dangerous gang from the streets of the city of Syracuse, and theyr'e going to be prosecuted for their crimes, federally.'
Chief Fowler has no illusions about solving the gang problem.
"This is not a day or time of celebration. This is an acknowledgment of some great law enforcement work, and we will find ourselves here three months from now or six months from now talking about another group, unless those people involved in this type of activity get it. You have an opportunity today to get it, and if you don't get it, then guess what, we're coming after you," said Chief Fowler.