New data from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office shows the extent of gang activity in the county.
PHOENIX — New data from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office shows the extent of gang activity in the county.
The data is part of a new dashboard showing how cases have been prosecuted over the last three years.
In the case of gangs, it’s data that many police agencies are reluctant to give, as they believe it increases the notoriety of the gang.
According to the county attorney’s data, the Westside Crips are the most arrested gang in Maricopa County with 166 crimes referred for prosecution in the last three years.
The next two are white supremacist gangs: the Aryan Brotherhood and the Peckerwoods.
Both are offshoots of prison gangs.
The last two are the Mexican Mafia and a gang called Southside Mesa.
The county attorney’s office said they find out who’s a gang member because it could either add time to their sentence or mark a defendant as a candidate for rehabilitation.
“If we can prove that the crime was committed with the intent to promote or further the interest of the gang then the law would require that an additional five years in prison be stacked on to the sentence,” county prosecutor Ryan Green said.
The data also shows those Top 5 gangs, and all gangs, in general, are heavily involved in drugs.
The county attorney’s office says some of those are possession and probably not related to being a gang member, but some aren’t.
“No surprise that selling drugs is one of the ways that gangs will help enrich themselves,” Green said.
Drug crimes, both possession and sales, make up the majority of all gang cases the county attorney’s office gets, according to the data.
“Drugs is and has been or a long time the main moneymaker for gangs and organized crime,” Detective KC Hill with the Arizona Gang task Force said.
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