Len Besthoff, Dan Lee
It may sound like something out of a movie, but everything from gang warfare and a hit squad to heroin dealing and a large-scale gun theft have been going on in Hartford's North End for the past six years, according to a document obtained by NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters Chief Investigative Reporter Len Besthoff.
The document is the work of federal investigators, state's attorneys, Hartford's Cold Case Unit, and the Hartford Shooting Task Force and was years in the making.
A 270-page report outlines a narcotics trafficking enterprise that police and prosecutors believe went on in part of Hartford's North End for years. What is described in the document as a violent, “hybrid” street gang, known as "Money Green/Bedroc", controlled an area bounded on the east by Main Street, on the west by Garden Street, on the south by Walnut Street, and as far north as Mather Street. "Money Green/Bedroc" allegedly shot people with its own “Hit Squad”, to lay claim on their territory, where they were the main source of heroin in the area, according to investigators.
This past summer the supposed ringleader of "Money Green/Bedroc", 28-year-old Donald Raynor, was arrested and held on $25 million bond for his alleged role in one murder and more than half a dozen other attempted murders.
Between 2006 and 2012, Raynor took part in some of the crimes himself, while he used a "hit squad" for others, according to police.
A one-person grand jury at New Britain Superior Court returned a finding of probable cause against Raynor and a number of others for hits on several people. In some cases it involved a rival gang known as “The Ave” that was encroaching on "Money Green/Bedroc's" turf, according to authorities.
Raynor and his gang were also responsible for a fatal hit at the West Indian Day Parade five summers ago in Hartford, according to police. The incident came as a result of a failed merger between Hartford's “West Hell” gang and "Money Green/Bedroc."
Lt. Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department says what stood out to him was “The violence, certainly the violence and the money involved".
The grand juror's probable cause finding also outlined the theft by "Money Green/Bedroc" of dozens of handguns from a Windsor Locks warehouse in 2007. The pistols were then sold and distributed in greater Hartford.
Concerned by the gang's influence spreading into other places like East Hartford and Willimantic, police along with the Chief State's Attorney's Office, made arrests on several charges.
"By getting them off the board, and getting them locked up for the crimes they did commit, that is preventing violence," said Hartford Police Lt. Brian Foley. "Plus, these are also the role models for the kids in the city that idolize the guys with the guns, the gang, the racketeering, and you need to break that cycle."
Police expect to make more arrests in the coming weeks and months.