Editorial: State police score big win
A rocket launcher? Are you kidding?
That was among the items seized last month by Rhode Island State Police in a broad and effective takedown of a pair of criminal motorcycle gangs, the Pagans and the Kryptmen. The state police, with help from other federal, state and local agencies, arrested 50 people and seized the rocket launcher along with dozens of guns, silencers and “a large quantity” of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. They did so simultaneously, in multiple locations, all without injury, the department announced.
The police said they found, in addition to evidence of drug and gun trafficking, evidence of multiple shootings that endangered people, widespread theft and sale of ATVs and riding mowers, fraudulent banking activity, and other criminal acts. Earlier, they intervened to stop a gang member who was apparently on his way to murder a man, arresting him and seizing his loaded 9mm handgun.
“These gang members are not recreational bikers organizing local charities,” said Col. Ann Assumpico. “These are violent criminals.”
One member was manufacturing 10 or 12 hanguns a week for both gangs out of parts ordered online, State Police Lt. Col. Joseph Philbin said. Such guns, without serial numbers, pose a serious public risk.
It is truly remarkable that the state investigation into the criminal biker gangs lasted a year, involved surveillance and wiretaps and ended in a set of effective predawn raids in which nobody was hurt. Credit and thanks go to: Colonel Assumpico; Lieutenant Colonel Philbin; the diligent investigators of the Rhode Island State Police; the cooperating agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; the Massachusetts State Police; and the police departments of Woonsocket, North Smithfield and Burrillville.
Keeping a yearlong secret among so many law enforcement agencies