Drug raid in S.W. Philly housing complex targets Harlem Boys gang

Troy Graham, Nathan Gorenstein, and Robert Moran (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Thu, Oct. 7, 2010

For nearly a decade, a gang known as the Harlem Boys has terrorized the Bartram Village housing development, federal authorities said, selling drugs and enforcing their rule with carjackings, shootings, and robberies.

One of their members was known by the fearsome nickname “Murder,” and another recently gained citywide notoriety when he escaped from police by leaping from a van taking him to jail.

The gang members marked their territory with graffiti and their skin with tattoos, and prosecutors said they visited violence on anyone who strayed too close – rival dealers and innocent victims alike.

Since 2001, the Harlem Boys sold $3.5 million worth of crack cocaine and distributed a smorgasbord of other drugs, including prescription narcotics, prosecutors said.

At least six gang members were residents of Bartram Village, a Philadelphia Housing Authority property in Southwest Philadelphia.

Prosecutors said the gang controlled an area near the 5400 block of Harley Terrace and 2700 block of 54th Street, which the gang referred to as Harlem.

The gang used at least two apartments there for storing and cooking crack cocaine, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.

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