ATF, Palm Springs Police Investigation Targets Entrenched Local Gang

17 members or associates of Gateway Posse Crips arrested on federal and state charges

PALM SPRINGS, Calif – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Palm Springs Police Department (PSPD) today announced the arrest of 17 suspects in “Operation Gatekeeper Heat,” an investigation targeting members and associates of the Gateway Posse Crips in the city of Palms Springs and surrounding areas of the Coachella Valley.

On Dec. 9, 2009, a federal grand jury in Riverside returned indictments charging two individuals with distribution of crack cocaine and a third with felon in possession of a firearm. Two other individuals were named in federal arrest warrants for distribution of crack cocaine and methamphetamine. Additionally, 13 suspects were named in state arrest warrants for drug possession and drug sales.

In April, ATF and PSPD joined forces in an effort to disrupt and dismantle the Gateway Posse organization. Palm Springs Police traced the Gateway Posse Crips from the beginning to the mid-1980s. The gang claims turf in the north end of the city and named itself after Gateway Drive, in the Desert Highlands/Gateway area of the city. The gang has since spread with its members living in many neighboring desert communities and cities. Its members have been known to actively engage in drug trafficking, robbery and violent assaults. Throughout this investigation undercover operatives were utilized to purchase firearms and drugs from suspected Gateway Posse members and associates.

“Today’s arrests and enforcement operation conclude a successful and collaborative investigation by Palm Springs Police and ATF into a violent criminal gang,” said John A. Torres, special agent in charge of ATF in Southern California.

“ATF has a strong history of working in partnership with local law enforcement targeting the most violent offenders, and we will continue to dedicate additional resources to neighborhoods here in the Coachella Valley.”

“The Palm Springs Police Department, in collaboration with the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Cathedral City Police Department have conducted an ongoing investigation resulting in the arrest of multiple persons and the seizure of narcotics and weapons,” said David G. Dominguez, chief, Palm Springs Police Department. “This is believed to have been the first investigation of this magnitude involving ATF and the illegal sales of firearms in the Coachella Valley. The commitment and partnership between the involved agencies with the Federal Bureau of Investigation has produced results which exceeded our expectations,” added Dominguez. “On behalf of the citizens of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to ATF and all those involved in this operation for their hard work and dedication. We will continue to take aggressive enforcement action to ensure our communities remain safe.”

Arrested today on federal charges are:

* Raymond Smith, 39 of Palm Springs
* Steven Ammerson, 29 of Banning
* Janisa Neal, 31, of Banning

Outstanding federal suspects are:

* Zachary Clayton, 38, of Palm Springs
* Dominick Winzer, 25, of Palm Springs

Arrested today on state charges are:

* Rick Davis, 48, of Palm Springs
* Deiter Crawford, 26, of Palm Springs
* Lavareck Ware, 33, of Palm Springs
* Derrick Pine, 30, of Palm Springs
* Russell Manning, 20, of Palm Springs
* Michael Williams, 344, of Palm Springs
* Devin Session, 19, of Palm Springs
* Brandon Fenton, 25, of Palm Springs
* Eugene Booty, 41, of Palm Springs
* Gary Clayton, 52, of Palm Springs
* Roshad Davis, 21, of Cathedral City
* Altonia Jackson, 34, of Palm Springs
* Danny McPeters, 52, of Palm Springs
* Margaret Phillips, 48 of Palm Springs

Outstanding state suspects are:

* Dimitri Allen, 32, of Palm Springs
* Tommy Roberts, 47, of Palm Springs
* Jahrod Shelton, 30, of Cathedral City
* Martel Wash, 26, of Palm Springs

ATF and PSPD seized and/or purchased more than 35 firearms and large quantities of crack cocaine and methamphetamine throughout Operation Gatekeeper Heat.

Substantial assistance and support was provided by the following agencies during both the investigation and today’s enforcement operations: Cathedral City PD, FBI, ARCNTF, Palm Springs Narcotic Taskforce, Coachella Valley Narcotics Task Force, Indio PD, Hemet PD, Coachella Valley Gang Task Force, Riverside County DA’s Investigators, Banning Beaumont Gang Task Force, Desert Hot Springs PD.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at

Contact: Michael Hoffman, Special Agent – PIO
Office: (818) 265-2507
Cell: (213) 925-4547

Melissa Desmarais – PIO
Palm Springs Police Department
(760) 323-8106

SOURCE Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

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