BALTIMORE - Marilyn Matthews can walk freely down Federal Street in East Baltimore, no longer held up in her home flinching at the sounds of gunshots. Two years ago, fear held the neighborhood hostage.
"The children couldn't play on the porch and stuff because you'd be fearful for them. Let alone when they have their little bikes and scooters...they couldn't ride them around because you never know what was going to happen," said Matthews.
This part of East Baltimore was a battlefield; the war waged by a California based bloods gang; the Pasadena Denver Lanes, or PDL.
It was a criminal enterprise authorities believed responsible for several murders, car jackings and robberies; an impressive spate of violence spanning from East Baltimore to west and into the county.
A blood trail local and federal detectives started to follow.
"It's only beginning at that point, it's only beginning at that point."
Dave Brown is the supervisor for ATF's Violent Crime Impact Team.
The group comprised of Baltimore city and ATF officers was started in 2004 by a federal directive.
Baltimore was one of 15 cities to get a team charged with focusing on the worst of the worst in the most violent areas.
The PDL's were their target and its leader Terrence Richardson, just home from jail quickly came within their crosshairs.
"They begin to look at that group, then they begin to focus on Richardson. And through some investigative techniques, we learn that Richardson is going to have a person in the city murdered," said Brown.
The following is a clip from that wire tap:
"That my only, this my one murder since I been home. I ain't killed nobody since I been home,” said Richardson. “Everybody done put the work in. I'm gonna kill him. I am going head first at him. I don't give a (expletive) if you shoot everybody else murder, leave him for me. I'm gonna kill him."
This conversation caught on a wire tipped off detectives who would arrest Richardson later that day on his way to make the hit.
The PDL leader went to jail on a gun charge but continued to run the criminal enterprise from behind bars.
Emiliano Aguas was then elevated to run the gang, a move evident in further conversations caught on the wire.
“Get your (expletive) down here right now! You hear what I said? That's a direct order. You hear what I said? From the big homie. I'm a G-F." - (play recording)
Aguas was now the G-F or God Father, giving orders on the crimes that paralyze communities; drugs, guns, robberies and murder.
"They gettin' wacked. We gonna beat the (expletive) beat this kid to death. I want him to get beat to death, I want him beat to death. I told you we gonna beat this (explitive) to his grave yo. I want you all to stomp him until, until blood comes out his (expletive) yo," said Aguas on the wire. - (play recording)
A lot of it was orchestrated from a home on Federal Street. For 14 months, the PDL’s, a gang sanctioned and imported from California created a large and violent criminal foot print throughout Baltimore but the ATF unit along with city police gathered enough evidence on their wire to finally trip them up.
"We arrest 42. 23 gang members. Part of the RICO indictment and we arrest 2 individuals from California who had sanctioned the set in Baltimore city," said Brown.
In all, 50 warrants were served early in the morning as part of a multi-state take down
The man you can see in one picture hanging out the window while guns were drawn is the God Father Emiliano Aguas.
The arrests were coordinated, quick and complete before any of the PDL's knew they were coming.
We can tell you this story and show you the evidence as now, two years later the last member has been sentenced.
Sentences on average of 41 years, Aguas would get 24 after pleading guilty to running a criminal enterprise; his predecessor Terrence Richardson got two life sentences
But for the people on Federal Street, they got their lives back, able once again to sit on porches and watch children play.
"I know it's not much to look at but it's our neighborhood where we live at and it's good, it's good. It's a lot better."
And most important, it's quiet again.
The ATF's violent crime impact team is made up of ATF agents as well as Baltimore city police.
The two work together to target and open investigations into quote, the worst of the worst offenders.
Since 2004 when the team was created, it has arrested and convicted more than 190 violent criminals who collectively were sentenced to more than 55 thousand months.
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