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Major sting nabs 15

13th May 2013   ·   0 Comments

Nearly a year after five-year-old Briana Allen was tragically murdered at an outdoor birthday party and 33-year-old Shawanna Pierce was fatally shot while driving through the Central City neighborhood, a major drug sting’s efforts to bring the killers to justice resulted in a 51-count indictment charging 15 people in a racketeering conspiracy that involves 15 murders, a number of attempted murders and armed robberies and other acts of violence across the city.

Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro announced Thursday morning that the multi-agency probe centered on a group of young people who used the River Gardens Apartments and Clay Park as their turf. The suspects, who reportedly call themselves “The 110ers,” reportedly hail from the city’s 10th and 11th wards and are part of three smaller street gangs: The St. Mary Mafia, the St. Thomas Young’ns and the Skull Squad Mafia. Also named in the indictment are three 7th Ward residents, including 29-year-old Tyron “T-Man” Harden, who was arrested in April and accused of firing the fatal bullet from an AK-47 that claimed the life of five-year-old Briana Allen last May. Authorities say Harden is known to be a member of Young Mafia Fellaz street gang.

Cannizzaro said Thursday that all but two of the 15 suspects had been apprehended by authorities.

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Thursday that Joshua Pittman and Ja’on Jones remained at large.

Serpas urged residents with information about The 110ers to come forward and share what they know with authorities. “If you fail to come forward, we know who you are,” he said. “Do the right thing.”

“This is just the beginning,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Thursday.

Attorney Morris Reed, a former criminal court judge, told the local daily paper that authorities are trying to build a case against his client, Rico “Max” Newman, by lumping him in with other suspects he does not know.

Rico Newman, the son of another indicted suspect, Antonio “Big Rico” Johnson, is believed to be a major figure in the crime organization.

“The crimes my client has been accused of can’t be proven alone,” Reed said Thursday. “That’s why they’re bringing all these other crimes, committed by other people my client doesn’t have any affiliation with.

“The bottom line is is my client is being accused of crimes he did not commit,” Reed added.

The multi-agency task force that handled the case included investigators and agents from the New Orleans Police Department, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police. the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

This article originally published in the May 13, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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