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N.Y. Gangs Brought Down by Online Bragging

Cops used the same social media stages where 63 gang members bragged about their crimes -- taunted rivals and incited violence -- to bring down three crews that allegedly terrorized East Harlem, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday.

Fifty-nine of members of three rival gangs were being arraigned yesterday for a reign of violence stretching back to 2009, specifically targeting residents of housing projects between East 106th and East 116th Streets between Third and Fifth Avenues. The accused were alleged members of gangs called Air It Out, True Money Gang and Whoadey -- and charged with crimes including conspiracy, attempted murder, assault and weapons possession, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Four gang members are still at large.

The defendants used hundreds of Facebook and Twitter posts and direct messages, text messages, cell phone videos, and calls made from Rikers Correctional Facility to plot the deaths of rival gang members, according to the DA.

And cops were able catch the members simply by reading their incriminating posts social.

"We use social media to document past crimes and intercept new ones being talked about openly by crew members on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube," Kelly said..The carnage stepped up in or after 2009 when members of the "True Money Gang" and "Whoadey" gangs formed an alliance against "Air It Out." That led to a spiral of "tit for tat retaliatory violence over the next three years that resulted in two more homicides and at least 10 additional retaliatory shootings," Kelly said. The sweep was also unique in that it is the first time in Manhattan in recent memory that competing gangs all accused of multiple acts of violence "have been removed en masse at once," Vance said.

The defendants range in age from 16 to 25, though some were as young as 13 at the time of the crimes, according to the DA's office.

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