Federal authorities unsealed five indictments Tuesday charging 65 people with crimes such as murder, narcotics distribution, and firearms possession in Yonkers, New York. Of those, 59 are members or associates of the Elm Street Wolves or the Cliff Street Gangsters street gangs.
A 21-count indictment charges 47 members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves with several counts related to distribution of crack cocaine as well as firearms offenses.
Three of the members, including its leader, Steven Knowles, are also charged with the murder of rival gang member Christopher Cokley on July 4, 2009.
"The issue of gangs and gang-related violence is not a local or regional matter," says Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett. "It's a national problem. While law enforcement must continue its efforts in the area of gang prevention, joint investigations such as this which disrupt and dismantle gangs from top to bottom are a very effective tool. This case will have a positive impact on this neighborhood; an immediate visible and tangible result will be evident."
The Elm Street Wolves are a drug trafficking organization whose members have sold crack cocaine in the vicinity of Elm and Oak streets in Yonkers, New York, since 2000, according to the FBI. Elm Street Wolves members and associates worked together to ensure that they profited from the gang's crack sales, shared firearms, and used those firearms to protect the Wolves' territory from encroachment by rivals, such as the Strip Boys and GMF gangs.
A five-count indictment charges 12 members and associates of the Cliff Street Gangsters with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana, as well as firearms offenses. Two additional indictments charge four Yonkers residents with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine as well as possession and distribution of the drug.
A fifth indictment charges two residents with conspiracy to distribute firearms and with selling two semi-automatic firearms.
The Cliff Street Gangsters are a drug trafficking organization whose members sold crack cocaine and high-grade marijuana in the vicinity of Cliff Street in Yonkers since at least 2005. The Cliff Street Gangsters were aligned with the Elm Street Wolves in a long-running, violent dispute with members of the Strip Boys and GMF gangs. Members of the Elm Street Wolves and Cliff Street Gangsters committed acts of violence to protect their respective drug territory, including beatings, stabbings, and shootings.
All but three defendants charged in the indictments were arrested today or were previously in custody.