In Darby, barbecue follows dozens of arrests

Posted: June 25, 2010

A nasty wake-up call came early yesterday for dozens of alleged criminals in Darby Borough arrested as part of a multiagency raid on the 3rd Ward.

Following the raids, the city threw a barbecue to celebrate its law-abiding citizens.

"It was simply to say to the good people, 'We're here. We're not just going to come hit the place and leave,' " Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe said. "We want to get people used to coming back out on the street."

Of those arrested, 12 were members of the "Third Street Boys Crack Cocaine Organization" who were indicted on federal drug charges dating from 2007 to this year, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The gang, which has terrorized residents of 3rd Street for years, was also known as "3rd N. Homi," "3rd N. Homicide," "3rd Street Goons" and "3rd Street Boys," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The indictment, released yesterday, accuses the gang members, who range in age from 20 to 30, of selling vast quantities of crack, sometimes within school zones, including day-care centers and elementary schools in Darby and Philadelphia.

Their stash houses included abandoned homes and abandoned cars, and they "routinely" used juveniles to transport, stash and sell crack, the indictment said.

Violence was used not only to keep other drug dealers out of their territory, but also to maintain control of their own members and to deter citizens from going to the police, court documents said.

On June 7, two members of the 3rd Street Boys shot a 3rd Street resident in the back as he entered his home because his fiancee had reported a burglary at their house earlier in the day, Smythe said.

The burglar was arrested that day and the two retaliation shooters were arrested within 48 hours, according to police.

Yesterday, at least six local and national agencies, including the Delaware County Sheriff's Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, helped conduct the raids in conjunction with Darby police.

An additional 37 people were arrested on outstanding bench warrants, Smythe said.

In two houses raided, police seized two ounces of crack, $3,700 in cash, one semiautomatic handgun and one revolver, he said.

Following the raids, Smythe said that he detailed a special police unit to the 3rd Ward for the foreseeable future.

"It's a new beginning," he said. "People will see if we band together we can fight these guys and get rid of them."

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