DENVER (CBS4) – Thousands of dollars in cash, drugs and guns were all confiscated during a collaborative forensics-led investigation to stop gang members in Denver.
A deadly shootout at a car wash with rival gangs confronting each other was part of the evidence used to indict and arrest the violent suspects. Eight of them are now off the streets.
Local and federal officials announced Friday that those eight people arrested were organized and their business was violence — including two murders.
“We’re talking abut two violent home invasions using weapons. One in Douglas County, one in Arapahoe County. And two shootings in Denver. One individual (was) shot in the back while he sat in his car at a Denver apartment complex. And another shooting at a house occupied at the time by 11 people,” acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer said.
In their investigation, law enforcement used a new criminal statute involving racketeering called VICAR (Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Enterprise).
“It makes state violent crimes like murder and robbery and assault with dangerous weapons federal crimes when they are committed in connection with the racketeering enterprise of the gang,” Troyer said.
“The focus is the criminal organization, not a single individual,” ATF Special Agent Ken Croke said.
Local and federal enforcement teams say they used ShotSpotter technology to help link some of the shootings. In one case — a young woman was used as a human shield for home invaders.
The men who were arrested are all between the ages of 20 and 22 and each could face years in prison.