Police seized a kilo of marijuana and several guns along with $11,150 cash and drug paraphernalia last week at a pair of southwest Fort Wayne apartments. (Courtesy)
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 1:00 am
City police increasing raids to seize guns
Gang unit has performed 19 this year; 17 in 2017
JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette
The Fort Wayne Police Department's Gang and Violent Crimes Unit has conducted more raids this year than all of last year, according to statistics supplied to The Journal Gazette.
The unit completed 17 raids and netted 130 guns in 2017. This year, the unit had executed 19 raids as of Sunday, Sgt. Gary J. Hensler Jr. said.
The unit has seized 68 guns this year – more than half of last year's haul, Hensler said.
“Our primary objective is mitigating gun violence on our streets; and removing firearms from known violent offenders,” Hensler said last week in an email.
Capt. Kevin Hunter, head of the police department's Vice and Narcotics Unit, said the Gang and Violent Crimes Unit was a separate unit until February 2014.
“(Then) Chief Garry Hamilton assigned the unit to Vice and Narcotics with the idea we could all work together and pool our resources,” Hunter said.
The Gang and Violent Crimes Unit addresses criminal gang activity and violent-crime issues, Hunter said.
Hensler responded to a query from The Journal Gazette after a raid Thursday night at two apartments on Aboite Center Road that netted 1 kilogram of marijuana and more than $11,000 in cash along with several guns. Four men, ranging in age from 18 to 21, were arrested for various drug charges. All of them were known members of MLG300, the Mac Life Gang, said Hensler, who characterized the raid as a successful one.
A day after the Aboite Center Road raid, a known member of Gang 150, Hensler said, was shot in the lower leg outside Glenbrook Square. Faizon Washington, 18, was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
Hensler said the gangs in Fort Wayne are “hybrid,” which makes them difficult to track.
“MLG300 and TGR 300 are 'mostly' the same gang. Certain smaller sects inside the large gang refer to themselves differently. TGR, for example, is mostly members of one particular family that are part of the larger gang. Not all of the 300/TGR/MLG refer to themselves the same,” Hensler wrote in an email.
Before the gang unit stepped up patrols in late May on streets on the south side, where most of the gang activity takes place, there were 15 shootings with reported injuries during the last two weeks of May with one resulting in homicide.
“(We are) arresting them for whatever we can and making their lives difficult. (These) are some of the tangible ways we do this,” Hensler said.