Members of two ruthless and violent gangs in one of Brooklyn's toughest neighborhoods are behind bars after officers followed various gang members' posts on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
Those arrested include 25 accused members of the Wave Gang and 18 accused members of the rival Hoodstarz gang. The two gangs have been battling each other in the streets of Brooklyn including several incidents where shootouts led to the killing of three people and the wounding of several others, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
"The officers who made this case became experts in the lexicon as they followed gang members on Twitter, on Facebook and on YouTube," Kelly said at a press conference announcing the arrests.
The gang members who ranged in age from 15 to 21, incessantly bragged about the various crimes on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, he said.
"By linking their postings and boastings to active cases and other crimes, these officers were able to build their case," Kelly said.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said authorities will be tracking down and arresting suspected gang members in other Brooklyn neighborhoods.
"We know who you are. We know how you operate," he said. "Make no mistake about it. We're coming after you next."
The indictment contains several severe charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder and robbery. The commissioner stated that the NYPD, the Brooklyn district attorney's office and the city's special narcotics prosecutor all participated in the investigation.
In addition to the murders, police officials tied the gangs to 32 shootings, 36 robberies, two burglaries, seven grand larcenies and 33 arrests for gun possession. They also linked a shootout in August involving the warring gangs to a 9-year-old boy who was wounded and his injured father, authorities said.
"The gangs had a longstanding feud over territory, leading to wanton and reckless behavior where kids would shoot at each other because they were in the wrong gang or on the wrong street or in front of the wrong building," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.