Skip to Content

Pittsburgh Gang Crimes Targeted By Local, Federal Enforcers

Pittsburgh Gang Crimes Targeted By Local, Federal Enforcers


More than 25 individuals have been convicted and sentenced in a Pittsburgh gang crime crackdown that spanned four years.

Pittsburgh defense attorneys understand that police utilized RICO - also known as Racketeering Influence Corrupt Organization - in order to go after the suspected gang members.

This case was somewhat unique in that the 40-year-old law hadn't been used in Pittsburgh since the 1990s with the Larimer Avenue Wilkinsburg gang, or LAW, which had been notoriously violent.

In this situation, officers were aiming for the Crips gang. The investigation was sparked when federal agents who had driven down a side street to serve a subpoena had a gun pointed in their open window by an alleged Crips member who thought they were members of a rival gang.

The agents then chased that 23-year-old, ultimately collaring him and charging him with impeding a federal employee with a dangerous weapon.

That's when federal agents set their sights on the entire Crips organization.

The end result has been a host of convictions with varying prison times. For example, the alleged ringleader of the Pittsburgh Crips received 20 years behind bars on racketeering charges. More than a dozen others got a decade or more, and one of the members was ultimately convicted on a Pittsburgh murder charge.

Pittsburgh gang crime attorneys understand that membership in a gang alone does not make you automatically guilty of a crime. However, law enforcement officials will often try to arrest lower-level members in order to pump them for information on higher-ups.

Given the notorious violence of these organizations, however, an accused gang member should never offer a statement to police without the presence of his or her attorney. This ensures not only that your legal interests are protected, but that your physical safety can be made a priority as well.

It's also important to note that a number of these convictions were secured after officers gleaned information from conversations from suspected gang members who were already in jail and communicating with others on the outside. Never assume while you're incarcerated that your conversations are private - unless they are with your Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney.