Cash for crime: gang required members to treat crime as a job

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 11:56:30-05
LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A cash for crime policy was used by a well-known gang believed to be responsible for hundreds of crimes throughout Lee County, according to an investigation by the Fort Myers Police Department. 
A 14-month investigation revealed the Lake Boyz gang "wanted to be #1 through violence." 
Detectives say the Lake Boyz claimed the Harlem Lakes neighborhood as their turf and the "main purpose of the gang was to make money through crime."
Detectives say the gang used several homes along Davis Court, an area referred to as "D-block", as drug houses to conduct illegal drug sales. 
The gang even had a hierarchy to determine a gang member's responsibilities; which included so-called captains, lieutenants, soldiers and workers. 
Captains, also referred to as "capos", were considered top leaders. According to detectives, members of rank would "instruct members on how to commit crimes."
Duties for some higher ranking members included teaching lower ranking members "how to weigh, cook and prepare illegal narcotics." 
In a recorded jail conversation an older member discussed his disappointment with gang leadership, saying "the younger members are doing stupid stuff." 
Court documents revealed members were required to treat being in the gang as if it were a job. Gang members who worked at drug houses reportedly received wages for hours worked. In some instances, members were given compensation for attacks against rival gang members.    
According to detectives, most documented members made a living committing crimes. A wage and employment analysis conducted by FMPD revealed several members had little to no income, or job history over the past four years; which investigators say was proof the gang used crime to get cash. 
'Operation Great Lakes' netted 21 arrests of Lake Boyz gang members on Jan. 19th.