Ten leaders of a violent Bronx gang used Facebook to recruit new members, while simultaneously helping investigators build a case against them, NYC's Special Narcotics Prosecutor announced today [pdf]. The suspects were all leaders of the Bronx gang WTG, which stands for We The Greatest. According to police, they communicated avidly on Facebook, sending messages about gang hits and recruitment such as:

  • In a May 2012 Facebook message, alleged gang leader Shaquille Holder, “aka Boogz,” allegedly wrote to another prospective WTG, saying, “If yuk an western union me 125 right now you can be WTG under me and b official.”
  • That same month, Holder received a Facebook message from an individual seeking to help another individual become a member of WTG. “My manzz want to be Dub Tee under u,” the message said, to which Holder allegedly replied, “Gotta send n glocc or 200 cash and mac wich ya guyuzz.”
  • In an August 2011 message, Winston Williams, aka “Zeb,” told a prospective WTG member, “yu need 100 to put toward da pot for gloks n yu need to be approved by da top 5.”
  • Ronald Davis, aka “Ron G,” told a prospective WTG member, “Yo bro, I want u to be WTG but u gotta put up chipz on da glock dun u my bro,” adding, “100” when asked how much. A prospective gang member asked, “You gonna turn me dub tee or when I pay for the gun?” and DAVIS responded, “Friday but if u dnt give me dat den ugonna get parked. Parked = droped from WTG Imma teach u the lingo.”

The lingo is baroquely opaque. According to prosecutors, “DubbTee” refers to a member of WTG, while “Fake Dub” describes members of the rival Dub City gang. Shootings, drug sales and firearms were routinely discussed in WTG leaders’ Facebook messages. “Grip, “glocc,” “swammy,” “slammer,” and “hammer” are all terms WTG members used to refer to firearms, while “floced” or “clapped” referred to a shooting. “Krills,” “grams,” “yams,” and “grizz” are terms used for narcotics.

WTG was allegedly used communal weapons to carry out their violence against rival gang Dub City—who could forget Dub City and their fondness for antique guns? Seven shootings took place during the course of the alleged conspiracy, which ran from January 2011 to November 2012. Here's security camera footage from one of the wild shootouts, which targeted members of the rival Eden Boyz, on Jerome Avenue near 171st Street:

No one was wounded in the September shooting, but Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan points out, "When WTG was settling a dispute on Jerome Avenue, no one was safe - from innocent passersby to neighborhood shopkeepers." And NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "The suspects apprehended today recruited gun-toting accomplices using social media apps. The violence that resulted went just as viral until the members of the NYPD 44th Precinct field intelligence unit and strategic enforcement teams stepped in."

During yesterday's raids, officers seized crack, PCP, drug paraphernalia and six firearms. The alleged gang leaders, referred to in the lingo as "Big Homies," face six counts of conspiracy to commit murder, assault, weapons possession and sales, and narcotics possession, and 35 related substantive counts. The youngest is 17.