An inside look at how gangs in Tulsa work - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

An inside look at how gangs in Tulsa work

Federal and state prosecutors announced indictments against 13 accused gang leaders earlier this week. Getting that case ready took Tulsa Police street officers and agents thousands of hours.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright takes a look behind the scenes of a gang enterprise.

Investigators say the leaders of Tulsa's Hoover Crips face 147 felony counts. Even though their street names sound like little kids playing, Mikey-D, Phil-Phil, Tom-Tom, Long John, Straight Face, Rabbo and C-Rider, their game was deadly serious.

Records show the gang operated through a hierarchy system, with the leaders at the top, in charge of getting and distributing large quantities of illegal drugs, mostly cocaine and marijuana. Those leaders supervised the next level down, the ones in charge of the street distribution. Those street dealers supervised the runners or stash house employees. The stash house is where drugs are stored until they're sold.

Rather than go after each person for their specific job, the indictment holds everyone in the group, accountable for all its actions. Tulsa gangs unit Sgt. Van Ellis, Tulsa Gangs Unit: "This is the first time in northeastern Oklahoma where the leaders and members are being held accountable for actions of the group."

This wasn't a nickel and dime business, but rather, a million dollar enterprise. One count says a suspect tried to deposit $430,000 in a safety deposit box. Another count involves $509,000.

And it says they used code words during their phone calls, so Tulsa Police couldn't track their business. Words like dime, a dime bag of marijuana that sells for $10 or cut yards, which means meet for a drug deal or bird, which is a kilo and an eight ball, an eighth of an ounce.

Sgt Van Ellis: "It's a big league case on big league criminals and it's neat to do."

Tulsa Police say letting gang activity go, just creates a downward spiral of crime, crime that has recently spread to innocent victims being shot and killed. The federal indictment reads like a crime novel with all the shootings and robberies and threatening of witnesses and it was all going on in Tulsa.

The paperwork in the case fills more than 40 boxes.

In some places around the US, the feds and the locals don't work together, they butt heads, but in Tulsa, police, the sheriff's office, ATF and FBI and US and county prosecutors all work together to make a big case like this happen.
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