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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 24, 2016

8/16/2014 1:08:00 PM
They're Here: Gangs a Yavapai reality, says task force
Prescott Valley Gang member arrested in Camp Verde.
Prescott Valley Gang member arrested in Camp Verde.
Photos courtesy GIITEMDine gang tattoos
Photos courtesy GIITEM

Dine gang tattoos

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- Nearly three dozen citizens gathered in Cottonwood last week. Many more were part of gatherings in Prescott and two other locations, as a presentation on Yavapai County gangs was televised throughout the county.

Tim Bolger, a sergeant with the Department of Public Safety gave a presentation on gang activity in the county and its bearing on illegal drugs in an information opportunity sponsored by MATForce. Bolger is the Yavapai County Supervisors for the GIITEM Task Force whose officers come from Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Sedona, Chino Valley, and Prescott and Prescott Valley. The acronym stands for Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission.

He says most people don't think we have a problem, but he says gangs are active and use their activity to move drugs for financial gain, power and sex and to intimidate.

In laws passed in Arizona in 1993, criminal activity associated with a gang affiliation can add three to five years to a criminal sentence on an existing offense.

The Task Force identifies specific gangs and affiliation though the use of seven official criteria including self-proclamation, witness testimony, written correspondence such as graffiti, paraphernalia or photographs. The affiliations also communicate through Facebook, Twitter and Myspace

Tattoos are also popular. Gangs also identify themselves through colors or clothing, beads, hand signs and the way they pose for photographs.

In Cottonwood, three gangs have been identified, according to Bolger: The Southeast Familia, BEF and SWED.

The GIITEM task force offers individualized training to recognize gang activity. They recently presented to the Prescott Valley Library staff because the location has become a gathering point.

Gangs gather for the same reasons that a family does. Some are initiated through prison or jail contacts.

Bolger says while many gangs are recent upstarts, some have been in business for a long time. One Hispanic gang has been operating in Prescott since the 1940s.

The Crips and the Bloods, opposed each other, are considered hate groups.

One gang member from Prescott Valley was arrested in Camp Verde and is an offshoot of the Creekside Gang. 1622 is the name of an offshoot and younger generation of the Creekside gang. Sixteen and 22 are the numbers of the alphabetical initials "P" and "V."

The Caliboys originated in California. One gang member was arrested on a fire-bombing charge in western Yavapai County

The Juggalos is a gang with roots in the Detroit rap scene of the Insane Clown Posse. Bolger says Juggalos can be found in Prescott Valley and Cottonwood.

Much broader groups include Skinheads, White Power and hate gangs. The Dine is an Indian culture gang that tends to be organized from prison. Feathers are worn to show the offenses they have committed.

Then there are plenty of motorcycle gangs, which include The Hells Angels, Vagos and localized gangs that are often associated with the larger groups.

Bolger says Giitem has 80 cases involving gangs since January, with 24 cases involving drugs. The Task Force has now identified 300 gang members in Yavapai County since the group was formed last January.

This July, the GIITEM task force broke up an intended murder-for-hire plot that targeted a woman in an effort prevent her from testifying.

Bolger says citizens should be active in reporting graffiti to local authorities for rapid removal. Also report suspected gang activity so law enforcement and GIITEM can respond.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014
Article comment by: mad max

So after reading the 2 replies from tattoo man's family, I think we can see the main issue here. Lack of education is the root of most evils...

Posted: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Article comment by: local girl

growing up as a teenager in this area i am aware of these "so called gangs" Creek Side is a bunch of wanna be punks who act the they're bad . Lately there is a gang of young adults who call them selves "juggalos' and defame the term from the Insane Clown Posse because they do not promote violence. I am familiar with that tattooed man in the picture. He has always claimed his hood of Creek Side and had several drug problems even got arrested for trying to break into my friend's house recently. I do believe this man is a thug and a creep. and Truth always prevails ..

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: uncommon sense uncommon sence

Lets make this real and get a grip on the why.
Gangs get started for companionship,brother
hood,a place to belong,then a family as most
don't have one.
That does'nt make it right but ,no jobs,no money,no future in their eyes,whats to lose or
gain?Go to jail,get food,medical,etc.Institutionalized,find like company.It's just a big circle that never ends.

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Both Right

According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, there are more than one million self-proclaimed Juggalos across the United States. It is estimated that 8590% of self-described Juggalos are peaceful, non-criminal music fans. The other 1015% make up the Juggalo subculture's criminal element, which has been linked to numerous crimes including extortion, murder, domestic terrorism, drive-by shootings, drug trafficking, arson, burglary, armed robbery], aggravated assault, and weapon offenses, and has been documented collaborating with a wide array of street and prison gangs.[1][2][3][5]

A series of arsons on a Navajo reservation have been linked to a local Juggalo gang set, which uses arson as a way to increase Juggalos' rank within the gang.[1]

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Helig Hammarmal

Perhaps it is just part of our primate heritage to organize ourselves into gangs. Street gangs, criminal syndicates, states, international organizations, the Fed, all could be considered gangs, and one thing they all have in common is the use of violence to achieve their aims. So the question arises as to how to deal with this growing problem, and ANY gang activity is a problem. You don't want to wait until the problem is out of hand and unmanageable before you begin to deal with it.

In Flagstaff there was a neighborhood right near NAU where it was reported that gang members had been threatening to kill and terrorizing a single mom and her kid, to the point that they were afraid to leave their house. The Flag police said they couldn't do anything about it. Well, I hope that were something like this to happen in Cottonwood that the police would do something. If not, then we are on our own and the appropriate solution to the problem like the one in Flag would be for the community to come out, fully armed, board up the house, shooting any who try to escape, and then burn the place to the ground. This will send a clear message to those who would assault, rob, kill or attempt to kill our youth.

Don't forget it is your sons they will string out on drugs, then murder in cold blood over some drug deal, it is your daughters they will abduct, beat, rape, and sell into sex slavery. They are not here to live peacefully with us, and we should not turn the other cheek and live peacefully with them.

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Article comment by: Mary Jane

So, the Iron Brotherhood is what?.......A club? Or maybe they should be listed as a violent gang that operates under the color of a badge. Surely that makes them the most desperate and dangerous gang of all! Word has is that the FBI is investigating the IB as we speak. Will that be enough for us to properly classify them as a gang?

And for the unhip readers, SWED is a juvenile motto that kids write as graffiti because they think it's funny. SmokeWeedEveryDay, SWED, get it? Calling Juggalos a gang is like calling Dead Heads (followers of The Grateful Dead) a gang. This is all a bunch of nonsense designed to instill fear in the unknown and to justify the further militarization of our police forces.

Nothing would be more dangerous for our community and our children's futures than to allow this completely false narrative to sway our community into allowing for more militarizing of our police.

BTW, If you really are tired of corrupt cops and gangster kids killing each other over turfs, END PROHIBITION! It worked the first time we ended it in 1932 and it will work again! Or we can build more jails, prisons and courts and then hire more Cops, Prosecutors, Public Defenders (Prosecutor assistants) prison guards, jailers, judges, parole officers and all the infrastructure needed to support all this unconstitutional 'justice' system juggernaut need to criminalize and felonize our children and grandchildren. Should filling prisons so the GOP can be seen as keeping their promises to the Prison Industrial Complex really take precedence over common sense?

STOP THE INSANITY, and make law enforcement the friends and neighbors they are supposed to be!

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Article comment by: Facts not Fantasy

More fear mongering, Mr Gripe?

I am thinking you are one of the yahoos, who actually thinks the acronym GIITEM is not at all dehumanizing or racist.

Get who? When you treat people like animals, they tend to act like them.

Funny how NONE of this is occuring in Cottonwood. Guess you cannot read.


No need for a new jail, legalize cannabis and we will have jail beds for decades.

Oh but that will put a hamper in the PRIVATE PRISON operations, huh? That could actually be a good thing. What exactly happens if we CAN'T meet our prison quota? Will they go away?

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Article comment by: Michael Deigo

Sounds to me like Cottonwood has a huge problem in more ways than one the issue is not the tats its whats behind the tats. I would not admit it in public but their proud.
Of what I dont know good luck

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: Gripe about the police until you need them

It never ceases to amaze me how so many anti-law enforcement types are more than eager to rant about and against the police, who are trying to better their communities. That is, until they need the police because someone, possibly a member or prospective member of a gang, steals everything they own or punches out them or a family member, "just 'cause." GITEM does a tough job trying to identify the worst of the worst and get them off the street so you, the ones who complain so much, don't have to worry about being a victim. The gangs have the weaponry to necessitate the need for the police to have MRAPS and drones, don't kid yourselves. And don't forget, innocent bystanders are frequently killed by gang members who believe they've been disrespected by some other, equally worthless group of miscreants. So, before you rain all over the police for trying to do a thankless job for mostly thankless people, think about the fact that you are safer here in this country because of what the police do to protect you, than you would be in most, if not all the other countries on this planet.

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: He'll Fit Right In!

Well the good news for the soft bellied dude covered in tats from head to toe is that he'll fit right in! That's right, if he doesn't clean up is act, he'll fit right in with the the "dudes" he's likely to spend the better part of his life with in prison! Unless of course he ends up on a slab in the county morgue first! Be proud if you want, you'd be better off trying to encourage and help him get his head together, if that's possible with your attitude!

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: Raquel Acosta

Yes that's my brother at the top picture,n I'm Damon proud of it! I will fight ,stand for what's right,and defend him to the fullest! All people involved in this article are unprofessional,and need to get facts straight before opening there mouths! Justice will prevail! Shows how much man knows! Fools

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: santo Acosta

That's my cousin in the picture with the tattoos yes he's been in trouble before but his biggest problem is himself and Prescott problem is people who stereotype people with tattoos or some poor white kids who label themselves a family without blood and whoever cant see that is blind to the fact that everyone has problems there's many families that dont pay attention to people in hurt instead we have self righteous news writers try to see the real problem stop talking about it and fix it because in reality your the one too :p

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: OMG I am a gang member!

I have tattoos and use facebook. I support that dangerous left wing gang that wears green, the Gurlz Scoutz. They are known for helping others without gov approval. Oh the nerve.

Since I must be honest and trustworthy (gang rules) where do I turn myself in without getting shot?

Wouldn't want my cookies to be construed as a bomb or something.

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: Another Humvee or drone?

Nope. A new jail. The old one's so full of locals there are no cells left for vacation rentals.

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014
Article comment by: Alice Ayers

Juggalos.... gang members?? Really, now... disenfranchised high-schoolers everywhere are leaping for joy in their chain-laden, black poly-blend parachute pants. Way to legitimize them. How about fans of Public Enemy, or the Spice Girls? Do they need to choose an official color before we can start calling them gangs as well?

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