Concluding a three-year drug probe operation by the Drug Enforcement Administration's Southeastern Massachusetts Gang Force, 20 members and associates of a savvy street gang were indicted on federal and state charges. The members were indicted for selling crack cocaine.

Alarmingly, The Boston Globe reports that the gang allegedly used the popular as a recruitment tool, where a photograph of a nine-year-old boy was shown posing with gang members. The boy is not believed to be a gang member.

"We will not stand by and allow a handful of criminals to disrupt the lives and neighborhoods of this community," says U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan. Sullivan added that the gang's alleged use of MySpace to recruit and threaten "is just another reminder, obviously, to all of us parents to make sure we are monitoring where our kids are going in terms of the Internet."

During the course of the investigation, undercover officers purchased crack cocaine more than 50 times from reputed gang members. June Stansbury, special agent in charge of the DEA's Boston office, says the gang distributed about a kilogram of crack cocaine a week. If found guilty, the federal charges could bring sentences ranging from 10 years to life for those who have been repeatedly convicted of drug trafficking.

In addition to selling drugs, law enforcement officials say the members of the Framingham gang have been accused of spitting on a state prosecutor, randomly beating innocent victims, and terrorizing the community with threats, shootings, and stabbings.

Framingham Police Chief Steven B. Carl says the intimidating gang began as a loosely knit neighborhood group that expanded to approximately 100 members and other communities. "When you take them into custody, they have no problem fighting hard with police," says Carl. "It's almost like it's a badge of honor to go to jail, to fight with police, and to spit on a prosecutor."