Federal authorities say five Howard County residents are part of an offshoot of the California-based South Side Brims Bloods gang, which police say has allegedly been involved in killings, robberies and drug trafficking.
According to a September indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, 35 defendants now face conspiracy racketeering charges for operating a Maryland wing of the gang, an offshoot of the Bloods gang which was founded in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.
The Associated Press reported Howard County Police Chief William McMahon as saying at a news conference Thursday: “This makes communities safer because the result of the activities of these hoodlums is that they are creating fear in their communities."
According to the federal affidavit, police in Frederick discovered a roster of members in 2009. During the ensuing investigation, federal agents wiretapped alleged gang members that authorities said were talking about the gang’s hierarchy and rules.
Federal officials also said they intercepted letters and found a website with pictures and gang messages.
"The covert investigation known as 'Cardinal Sin' started in 2009, based on allegations that the South Side Brims Bloods gang was establishing cells and wreaking havoc throughout Maryland," U.S Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.
"When criminals join together and threaten public safety, law enforcement agencies must work together to put them out of business," he said. "You cannot stop a group of criminals by pursuing individual members for isolated crimes.
According to the indictment (attached), the Maryland wing of the gang was founded in 2005. Members were working throughout Maryland, including in Howard, Queen Anne’s, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomo, Talbot and Anne Arundel counties.
The Howard County residents charged are:
- Antonio Javier Landers, 24
- Aurelio Manuel Barahona, 24
- Darryl Rashad Smith, 29
- Joseph Aaron Artis, 22
- Alex Antonio Mendoza, 23