West Covina Crips spread to other states

J.D. Velasco (SGV Tribune) | January 13, 2011

There are many places in the U.S. to find the West Covina Neighbor Hood Crips – Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, and even Ohio. But one place you won’t find them bangin’ these days is West Covina.

Pushed out of the San Gabriel Valley by police, Latino gangs and rising home prices, the African American criminal gang has taken root in communities all over the country.

Snohomish County near Seattle lists the West Covina Neighborhood Crips as a problem gang.

Last month, hip hop artist and Neighbor Hood Crip `Swag,’ whose real name is Jevon Lawson, 37, was indicted in Everett, Wash. on federal drug charges, according to the local paper, the Everett Daily Herald.

He was accused running an Oxycontin smuggling ring and of somehow being involved in a 2005 bank robbery that netted $40,000.

Police say Lawson moved to Everett in 1998 and later transported the gang and six friends to the area, according to the Herald.

Bob Feliciano, professor in the Administration of Justice program at Rio Hondo College, said the movement of the West Covina Neighbor Hood Crips is part of a larger trend.

“The migration is unbelievable,” Feliciano said. “You can go to places like Utah and find the 18th Street gang. It started primarily with the black gangs. They really moved all over the country.”

West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills, who used to work on a gang detail, said the West Covina Neighbor Hood Crips were around until the 1990s.

The Crips were heavily involved in narcotics while in West Covina, but through heavy enforcement, the police were able lock up many of the gang’s leaders and destroy much of the gang’s street-level operations.

“In our case it wasn’t a gang injunction,” he said. “It was strong enforcement. When you cut off the head, you kill the body.”

Read more at: http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_17089971

Wills said the gang first moved to areas in the Inland Empire and High Desert, and then later, into other states.

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