Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 05-31-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 NO. SMITHFIELD / WOONSOCKET MAY 31-JUNE 6, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NO. SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET tion was known, began last May after police learned of illegal activities by members of several Woonsocket- based outlaw motorcycle clubs. The operation was conducted by the state Special Investigations Unit in coop- eration with federal investigators and used electronic surveillance to uncover drug trafficking along with sales of illegal guns and stolen goods. "What drew our attention to them was the increasing number of motor- cycle gangs that were coming to Rhode Island. We were seeing them all over the place. We were getting word of some illegal activities and we were able to start investigating them," Philbin said during a phone interview last Thursday. According to Philbin, the investiga- tion initially focused on members of the Thug Riders motorcycle club but shifted focus when former Thug Riders member Deric McGuire left the club with other members to form a local chapter of the Pagans, a nationally-associated club that, according to a 2015 report by the FBI's National Gang Intelligence Center, is one of the largest outlaw motorcycle gangs in the country. Outlaw motorcycle gangs are moni- tored by federal and state police, who say the organizations are dis- tinct from recreational biker clubs due to their involvement in drug and weapons trafficking and violent crime. "These gang members are not recreational bikers organizing local charities. These are violent criminals who belong to some of the most sinister motorcycle gangs in this country," State Police Col. Ann Assumpico said in a statement released last week. Philbin said the situation in north- ern Rhode Island created a turf war between the Pagans and rival motor- cycle gang the Kryptmen, spanning the communities of Woonsocket, North Smithfield and Burrillville along with Blackstone and Bellingham, Mass. Both gangs have their clubhouses in Woonsocket, with the Pagans clubhouse located at 91 Mason St., and the Kryptmen club- house located at 481 Second Ave., according to Philbin. "(The investigation) just kept taking on a life of its own," he said. "It's just information we cultivated and we substantiated it." Last Wednesday morning, state and local police raided 29 locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, resulting in the arrest of 49 indi- viduals and the seizure marijuana, crack, cocaine, heroin, stolen goods and weapons, including a rocket launcher. Philbin said seven of the individuals arrested were members of the Pagans and four were mem- bers of the Kryptmen, while others were arrested in connection with the groups' gun and drug trade. As of last Thursday, two additional sus- pects had been arrested and 9 or 10 others were being sought on arrest warrants. According to Philbin, last week's bust, which was conducted with- out injury to officers or suspects, was the largest known takedown in State Police history. Police hope the removal of a large amount of weap- ons from the streets will improve public safety, though they will con- tinue to monitor for potential motor- cycle gang violence. GANGS From Page One MAKENZIE STORME, left, a 4th-grader at Halliwell Memorial School, and her mother, Pam Storm, spoke at the Rhode Island Statehouse on May 10 as a guest of the Rhode Island Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance as part of the annual Fitness on the Hill Day. REP. BRIAN NEWBERRY , right, was present to meet Makenzie and invite her to the general session to experience the process. The Fitness on the Hill event is an annual celebration and advocacy event for health and physical education in Rhode Island Schools. Fitness on the Hill Banquet Rooms for any size party. Rehearsal Dinners & Bereavements New England Steak & Seafood Restaurant Route 16, Mendon, MA • 508-473-5079 MORNING NOON NIGHT Local Eats

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