Albany -- A war on gangs is going on in Albany. Cops raided the homes of nine gang members Thursday morning.
Dozens of officers rushed into houses from one end of the city to the other. At one house on Gillespie Avenue, drug agents used a dog in their search. Investigators seized drugs, guns, and other evidence of gang activity.
Homes were raided from West Alberson to West Whitney, from South Westover to South Magnolia. Law enforcement officers say they're going to stop gang violence in Albany. Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said "of course there has been a lot of effort to terrorize this community with threats, so we want to address this directly."
Investigators say that information about gang members and their crimes gathered will be used to prosecute them.
Police tells us there are four big gangs operating in Albany, the Bloods, the Crips, the CME Rattlers, and the Black Gangsta Disciples. And there are many more offshoot sects, like the Southern Thunder. Thursday's raid was a message to the Albany gangsters. Time's up and game over.
District Attorney Investigators hand a search warrant to this homeowner on Forsythe Street, and go in looking for evidence of gang activity. On the utility box next to the house is gang art, saying Blood, the name of one Albany gang. Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said "yea, we are declaring war, we must keep our community safe."
This table holds some of the evidence gathered during this mornings gang house raids. The yellow bandanas are the sign of the CME Rattlers, the red ones for the Bloods. Dozens of shoes, shirts, and clothes with gang signs were taken from nine homes during the raid, even a stocking cap with eye holes cut out to make a mask. Edwards said "an item particularly used by the CME Rattlers. We have some Blood paraphernalia, weapons."
But the big prizes were two books of knowledge, spelling out the language and set up of the gangs. Edwards said "this is a code book, and these are the things we wanted to get so we know the inner workings and structure of the gangs, and who is participating in it."
Law enforcement says all across Albany in recent months increased gang activity has been seen. Gang art going up on buildings, even next to the government center, stalking out their territory. Increased drug activity. Former Assistant Coroner Jack Camp was shot to death in East Albany when it's suspected he interrupted a drug deal between gang members. Two schools surrounded by Police after tips of intended gang violence. Edwards said "schools have been closed, and threats made, and that type of thing."
Investigators say it was information on those crimes they were looking for in this mornings raids . Edwards said "we believe we've got intelligence that will lead us to those persons."
One arrest was made in the raids, but law enforcement will use the information to start making more arrests soon. Edwards said the raids were intended to send a message to gang members, that Police know where they are and what they are doing.
Lorenzo Davis was arrested and charged with gang participation, aggravated assault, two counts of witness intimidation, and kidnapping.
A gang initiation shooting over the weekend shows the seriousness of the Albany gang problem. Pelham Police say this teenager, 15-year old Gerard Clark of Albany, opened fire inside a Pelham Grocery Store Saturday morning.
They believe he went there to kill someone as part of initiation into an Albany gang. Luckily, he missed his intended target, the store owner.
If you know where Gerard Clark is, you should call police.