New York, NY –
Local officials in the Hudson Valley town of Newburgh are crediting federal authorities with leading the region's largest gang raids in recent memory.
Some 300 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers swept through Newburgh, arresting dozens of alleged members of the Latin Kings and Bloods. About one-fourth of the 29,000 people in Newburgh live below the poverty line, and the town has the state's highest murder rate so far this year. The FBI spearheaded the mass arrests. Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois says the area needs federal help not only with law enforcement but with social programs, too.
"We need a protracted commitment from government to fund youth services and education," he says.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says officials will be seeking federal charges against the 78 suspects.
"We took this action to send a clear message that if you join a gang or deal drugs or engage in violence in Newburgh you are facing federal time now," Bharara says.