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13 accused of drug activity

Members of "Young Godz" o penly dealt drugs, police say. Twenty-two warrants are issued.

By MICHAEL A. MOHAMMED
Published January 25, 2007


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GRANT PARK - Tattoos mark their forearms. "Young" on one arm. "Godz" on the other.

That, and selling crack cocaine, are the hallmarks of their brotherhood, police say.

The Tampa Police Department's Gang and Narcotics squad arrested 13 suspected members of the group Wednesday after a 4 1/2-month undercover operation, said Maj. George McNamara, who heads the squad.

The members, all young males ranging in age from 15 to their mid 20s, openly dealt drugs and called themselves the "Young Godz," he said.

In all, the police had warrants for 22 suspects, eight juveniles and 14 adults, McNamara said. Six juveniles and seven adults were arrested Wednesday, charged with a mixture of narcotics charges, mostly sale and possession of cocaine.

The local neighborhood watch alerted authorities to the drug dealing in their neighborhood. The TPD and Hillsborough Sheriff's Office anti-gang squads collaborated on the case, buying drugs from the suspects.

While none of the Young Godz have been charged with violent crimes, police were still investigating, McNamara said.

He added he cannot be sure whether police have arrested all of the members.

"I don't know if we're going to put an end to them," he said, but most have been taken off the streets.

Under Florida law, the group qualifies as a clique, not a gang, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

"A gang has a formal organization, someone they report to, a hierarchy of command," she said. As a gang, the Young Godz "were in their infancy."

"The operation really took them out at the knees before they could fully organize," she said Wednesday.

Michael A. Mohammed can be reached at mmohammed@sptimes.com or 813 226-3404.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 00:45:11]


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