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Prosecutor: 299 charges filed against BBE 900 gang

Prosecutors said they now have 34 of the 38 BBE 900 gang members in custody, and law enforcement continues to hunt for those still at large
BBE 900 gang press conference

CLEVELAND -- On Wednesday, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office announced charges to stop gang violence in Cuyahoga County and to tackle head-on a gang responsible for much of the wanton violence.

It announced a series of arrests, indictments and juvenile complaints aimed at dismantling a very violent street gang known as BBE 900.

On Tuesday, prosecutors from the Juvenile and Adult Criminal Units prepared and submitted for filing 299 charges, including juvenile complaints and a Grand Jury indictment against 38 members of the BBE/900 gang.

In total, prosecutors are charging 26 juveniles and 12 adults. Over the past few months, this group of young people has engaged in a continuous torrent of aggressive, brazen and violent acts. They include assaults, break-ins, robberies, burglaries, kidnappings, shootings and murder.

Prosecutors say they have committed many of the acts in public places, including city parks and RTA transit stations. They savagely beat one of their victims in the middle of a busy street, prosecutors said. They have tagged public and private property with their graffiti.

Prosecutors said they "resemble a plague of locusts, wreaking havoc on everything in their path, making it harder for communities to escape from blight and regain their social and economic footing."

One of the core goals of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office under Tim McGinty is to change that dynamic by making our communities safer, prosecutors said.

These criminal acts took place at locations throughout the city and inner-ring suburbs, but they were concentrated on the West Side of Cleveland with an epicenter at West 98th Street and Madison Avenue.

Prosecutors said the over-arching motivation for BBE 900 was to intimidate both potential rivals and law-abiding citizens. The BBE 900 gang bragged that they owned the streets and demonstrated the ability to assault or steal from whomever they found.

Prosecutors said that today, on behalf of the people of Cuyahoga County, the law enforcement community is sending the BBE 900 gang another message: You do not own the streets. You do not own the parks or the rapid stations. You cannot degrade the public spaces of our city. You cannot beat, rob, terrorize, and murder people with impunity. Your violent and criminal actions have consequences—and we guarantee you will not like it.

Those consequences began early Wednesday morning when officers from the Cleveland Police Department, the Parma Heights Police Department, the Pepper Pike Police Department, the East Cleveland Police Department, the FBI Violent Crime Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service began executing warrants to arrest the 30 BBE 900 gang members who were not already behind bars.

Prosecutors said they now have 34 of the 38 BBE 900 gang members in custody, and law enforcement continues to hunt for those still at large.

Every one of the BBE 900 gang members is being charged with Participating in a Criminal Gang, with Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity (commonly referred to as a RICO charge) and with two counts of Conspiracy, each with a Criminal Gang Activity Specification attached.

"In total, we are filing 299 charges against the BBE gang, including 201 charges in the juvenile case," prosecutors said.

The BBE 900 juvenile gang members range in age from 13 to 17.

A total of 98 charges are included in the Grand Jury's indictment against the adult BBE gang members, who range in age from 18 to 34.

Prosecutors said that "..In their boasts on social media and in their brazen violence on our streets, the members of BBE 900 have acted as if they were above the law." After today, they will know they were wrong about that too, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that, "like terrorists, BBE 900 gang members channel some of the money they steal into rap recordings and videos that are spread using social media. The raps and the videos advertise their violent crimes, highlight their swagger and showcase their guns. That in turn builds the BBE 900 brand, recruits new members, and raises the intimidation factor – itself a valuable currency on the streets these young men mistakenly believed was theirs."

And BBE 900 clearly operates as a criminal enterprise, prosecutors said.

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