By Kathleen Hopkins, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press
ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- Longtime rival street gangs teamed up with a rogue police officer to terrorize the city's streets and profit from crimes, including gun running, drug trafficking and shoplifting, authorities said Friday.
In announcing charges against 31 individuals, including a city police officer and three fugitives, authorities said members of longtime rival gangs the Bloods and the Crips worked together to thwart police investigations into their activities.
"The individuals here are some of the worst of the worst," said Michael Pasterchick, chief of detectives for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
Patrolman Keith German is alleged to have worked with gang leaders by tipping them off to the investigative techniques being used against them, said acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. He has been charged with official misconduct and unauthorized access of a computer base.
German, 45, of Tinton Falls, a 16-year veteran of the Asbury Park police force, also is accused of coaching a gang member to lie on documents in order to have an impounded vehicle returned, and using the department's computer system to run checks for warrants for the gang members, the acting prosecutor said.
"Let that serve as a message that we are policing our own, and let it improve the trust in the police department," said Police Chief Mark Kinmon of German's arrest.
Gramiccioni and other law-enforcement officials gathered Friday at the prosecutor's office to announce the results of a six-month investigation by the prosecutor's office and Asbury Park Police into violent street crime and gun offenses in the city.
Gramiccioni said defendants were involved in selling heroin, crack cocaine and Ecstasy, trafficking guns from Newark on the city's streets, and shoplifting like ordinary citizens going on "shopping sprees" at area businesses.
The investigation was dubbed "Operation Dead End" because it targeted members of both the Crips and Bloods street gangs who often congregated on two dead-end streets in the city.
In all, 28 people, including German, were arrested Wednesday. Three more who were charged remained at large.
City residents were hopeful the arrests would help reduce crime.
"It kind of sucks that people you want to protect you are part of the problem, but what can you do?" said Bryan Edmonds, 42, of Asbury Park, who was interviewed on the street after the news conference. "We need more good cops on the street, and I hope this has some effect."
Leading the criminal enterprises were city residents James Fair, 26, and Altyreek Leonard, 20, Gramiccioni alleged. Both were charged with promoting organized street crime for their alleged roles in directing others to commit crimes, the acting prosecutor said.
Pasterchick said those arrested are from the Sex Money Murder, Double II, Neighborhood Bloods, Fruit Town Brims and G-Shine sets of the Bloods street gang and the 47 Neighborhood set of the rival Crips street gang.
During the course of the investigation, police seized $6,400 believed to be the proceeds of the criminal enterprises, a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols, bulletproof vests and an undisclosed amount of drugs, he said.
One of the pistols seized was loaded with an armor-piercing bullet, he said.