DES MOINES, Iowa --It was all smiles in the U.S. Attorney’s Office as law enforcement announced the results of Wednesday’s raid on the C-Block street gang, especially because of the seriousness of the crimes the gang is believed to have committed.
“The members and affiliates of C-Block are alleged to be responsible for murders, shootings, robberies and other crimes of violence in and around Des Moines” said U.S. Attorney Marc Krickbaum.
15 people are being charged with a variety of drug and weapons charges and include who police identify as the gang's leadership: Daeron Merrett, Marshaun Merrett, and Barry Adair Jr.
Police say without leadership and with continued pressure on those who remain, the gang will eventually fold.
“This will have a lasting impact and we'll see that impact in our crime rates and we'll see that impact in a restored feeling of safety within our communities” said Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert.
“This is what you become a police officer for, you know you're going to make a difference in the community when you get things like this done” said Des Moines Police Spokesman Paul Parizek.
But the work isn't done, police say these individuals were home-grown, not transplants from out of town.
“That's a question we get a lot is 'are these people coming from Chicago'? and no, these are people who grew up here” said Parizek.
And that means to prevent C-Block from coming back, or to stop the next organized gang from forming, there needs to be changes in the community.
“The drug trade is a multi-billion dollar business and we're not taking the necessary comprehensive steps to stop the drug trade. That means you're talking economic development. What’s in that area that prevents a 15 year-old from saying ‘quick money’, or am I going to get a job” said Representative Ako Abdul-Samad.
Abdul-Samad says a comprehensive solution also must include work in the homes.
“You need to see what your child has on their computer, you need to see what your child has in their room. This goes to the responsibility of home also and a community” he said.
Police say the investigation took three years and included the FBI, Altoona Police, The Polk and Dallas County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Polk County Attorney’s Office.