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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Out of dozens suspected to have connections with the Bloods street gang, only three went for a chance at bond on Monday.


17:31 | ,

 The rest waived their hearings.

The locals are suspected of crimes ranging from kidnapping to tax crimes to murder.

Most of them quickly walked in and out of the federal courthouse. Family, friends, and even a pastor to one of the suspects were also on hand to try and learn more about the case.

One suspect was described as a church member, another as a caretaker to his sick grandmother -- all sat inside together in a courthouse where cameras weren't allowed.

FBI agents say they are either members of the famous Bloods street gang or close associates.

"To begin with, it's not against the law to belong to a gang," law enforcement veteran and gang researcher Robert Baker said. "They have to commit a crime in order to be arrested."

Baker says being in a gang isn't necessarily wrong, it's the crimes that can be encouraged. In this case, officers say the crimes from Columbia area Bloods range from kidnapping to tax crimes to murder.

"Some gangs put fear of God into members and will actually commit murder in order to instill fear into gang members in hopes there people aren't gonna say anything about the gang," Baker said.

Baker says every gang is different. In court, only three suspects chose to have a detention hearing and request bond.

An FBI agent testified against them and gave details on how Bloods -- who were featured on a History Channel special 2 years ago -- operate in Columbia. The agent also said there's a hierarchy naming three suspects as top ranking in the Columbia area.

"Ranks depend on what the local set wants to call hierarchy. Could be president, secretary, treasurer or so on. It could be captain, private, soldier what have you," Baker said.

For the rest of the group known for sticking together, they will be back in court.


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