New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly made the announcement on Wednesday, reports the New York Daily News. Police arrested 40 gang members and affiliates of the Bronx Trinitarios, including Maria Mejia, the alleged leader of Bad Barbies gang, the all-female gang allied with the Bronx Trinitarios.
Mejia was charged with the Dec. 11, 2005, shooting death of a rival gang member. Mejia pleaded not guilty and is currently being held without bail, reports the Daily News. The victim was 20-year-old Miguel Perez, a member of the Dominicans Don't Play gang, notes Daily News.
While Kelly knew that the Trinitarios were committing crimes in the Bronx, he was surprised about the female auxiliary, saying, “But the Bad Barbies? Who knew? Maybe it's a sign of the times that gender is no bar when it comes to murder, robbery and other crimes,” according to the Daily News.
The Trinitarios have been active in Manhattan and Bronx, with 119 reported members being arrested since 2009. Of the most recent arrests, 26 were caught on the streets and are new defendants while 14 others are already serving time for other crimes.
The Bad Barbies are just one female group within the Trinitarios. According to The Associated Press, there have been up to 100 female gang members of Trinitarios, many in factions similar to Bad Barbies. Speaking at a news conference, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said the Trinitarios were a violent gang, often shooting those who got in the way of their drug rackets or illicit gun dealing, notes AP.
In a press release, Bharara said, “a highly organized criminal machine that ruthlessly guarded its turf, blithely murdered its rivals, and brutally punished even its own members for any transgression of arbitrary gang rules, turning portions of New York City into a virtual shooting gallery. These charges remind us that the gangs of New York are alive and well, but we are dedicated to extinguishing them one by one.”
This is the third high-profile gang arrest in the last two weeks in New York. Kelly announced on Dec. 5 the arrest of 10 leaders of the violent WTG gang in the Bronx and charging them with six counts of conspiracy to commit murder, assault, weapons possession and sales, and narcotics possession as well as 35 other related counts.
On Dec. 12, the commissioner announced the arrest of 41 members of the True Bosses Only gang, which has members as young as 12. The arrests happened due in part to a detective befriending members of the TBO gang on Facebook.
On the social networking site, gang members bragged about their crimes, and Kelly said, “Once again we have young gang members using social media to boast about murder and mayhem, and once again we have New York City police officers 'friending' them to help end the violence. When young men plot to take their battles from tweets to the streets, the NYPD wants to be there to stop the bloodshed. The attention is paying off.”
The 41 TBO members were charged with first- second and third-degree murder, first- second- third- and fourth-degree conspiracy a felony, assault, robbery, burglary, weapons possession and other charges.