Five members of a notorious NYC gang said to be behind the shootings of 12 people were busted during a dawn raid.
Jasier Mitchel, 20, his brother Jamique Mitchell, 19, and Melvin Williams, 20, were all arrested at their homes in Harlem at dawn Wednesday over their alleged membership of the Chico Gang.
It is named after 16 year-old Juwan ‘Chico’ Tavarez, who was shot dead in March 2016.
The trio’s arrests were caught on camera by a CBS New York crew. Williams was filmed saying ‘I’m innocent’ as he was led away.
A DailyMail.com cameraman later filmed Williams, Jasier Mitchel and another gang member – Dakotah Campbell – who was also arrested Sunday, with all four indicted Wednesday.
Nine other members of the same gang were previously indicted, and face charges including attempted murder, attempted assault and weapons possession.
The Chico Gang is accused of carrying out 12 shootings to avenge Tavarez’s death which included four innocent bystanders – one of them being a 12-year-old boy.
Alleged Chico Gang member Melvin Williams, 20, is filmed being arrested in Harlem Wednesday morning
Jasier Mitchel is arrested. His brother Jamique was also brought into custody during the same bust.
The NYPD’s Violent Crimes Squad strapped on their bulletproof vests, gearing up for the gang takedown, as reported by CBS2.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot McShea said: ‘The arrests of these gang members were specifically targeted to remove the drivers of this gang violence from our streets.’
The nine members involved have been indicted and are in custody with the other three being arraigned in court.
One member, Issac Rivera, has been charged, but has yet to be taken into custody.
Juwan ‘Chico’ Tavarez inspired the name for the gang after he was shot and killed in March 2016
A firearm, two 30-round capacity magazines, a bat of synthetic marijuana and a bag of heroin were found at the scene
The gang’s headquarters was located Wagner Houses in Harlem where the takedown occurred.
The violence that occurred was believed to be mostly directed at a rival gang in nearby Jefferson Homes.
According to CBS News, a firearm, two 30-round capacity magazines, a bat of synthetic marijuana and a bag of heroin were found at the scene.
This investigation was reportedly being built since January 2020.
The gang used texts and online apps to plan crimes, according to prosecutors.
Deputy Brian McGee told CBS News: ‘They comb through a lot of social media.
‘When people get arrested, we take their cell phones, do search warrants on their cell phone. We’re able to see what’s going on with their phone connectivity.’
One instance involved gang member Melvin Williams posting a Snapchat video of him holding a gun to another person’s head back in July, according to the NY Post.
Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr said: ‘This indictment is one part of our work to break the cycle of violence gripping East Harlem, as teens are recruited to take the place of older gang members and continue their bloody rivalries.’
Jasier Mitchel, Dakotah Campbell, and Melvin Williams were the three among the gang members that were arraigned. The other nine remain in custody, with one still at large
Williams, along with other gang members Jasier Mitchell and Dakotah Campbell, were the arraigned members present in court.
The members have been charged with conspiracy, attempted murder, attempted assault and weapons possession, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The other indicted members include Jabari Albright, Devon Branton, Sahii Butler, Jasan Crockett, Jayden Golden, Kamren Hudson, Joseph Lee, Jamel Williams, Mikell Pettaford and Isaac Rivera.
This is not the first time the ‘Chico Gang’ has been in trouble.
In 2019, another 12 members of the gang were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, assault and weapons possession after they were found responsible for a total of 17 shootings.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill told Daily News NY: ‘It is our obligation to ensure that New Yorkers in every neighborhood not only are safe, but that they feel safe at all times, too.’
‘To that end, our work identifying and dismantling gangs and crews, and preventing the violence so often associated with their activities, continues to be of paramount importance to the NYPD and all our law enforcement partners.’
When asked about youth being involved in gangs, McGee responded to CBS News: ‘The answer is I don’t know. “I think if a kid had an outlet to go get a job and have a good education and good family structure, I think that would help a lot. Its unfortunate.
‘Do I think this is going to end a 13-year-old from becoming a gang member? I can’t say that, and I don’t think that’ll happen. Do I think this and with the help of everyone here in this room… do I think that will help?
‘Yeah, I think there may be several other kids from the Wagner Houses saying there’s no way I want part of that.’
Shootings in New York have increased 10.7% in the last year as 983 shootings occurred in 2021 as compared to 888 shootings in 2020, according to NYPD.
A 10.7% increase of shooting incidents was reported between 2020-21 in NY according to the New York Police Department