Neutered: The Rise and Fall of the Dog Pound Gang

Sex trafficking. Prostitution. Identity Theft. Fraud. How one Fresno gang confounded cops with its operations until last week.




Local law enforcement was already worried about a spike in violent crime. Now officials feared a full-blown gang war.

That’s because Dog Pound Gangsters, to quote a Reggie Jackson term used originally in a far different context, is the “straw that stirs the drink” among Fresno street gangs.

DPG was born in the early 1990s “and is comprised primarily of African American males,” Smith wrote, citing Fresno police sources. DPG “is the largest African American gang in Fresno.”

As befits its name, the gang has its own self-declared “pound.” It’s a quarter-square-mile in size, bordered by Jensen Avenue to the north, Elm Avenue to the east, Annadale Avenue to the south and Martin Luther King Boulevard to the west.

Rutherford B. Gaston Middle School is a half-mile north of “The Pound.” The city’s Mary Ella Brown Community Center is on “The Pound’s” southern border.

A Superior Court judge in 2008 issued an injunction that prohibits DPG members from gathering in certain areas. Many of the approximately 120 DPG members listed in the injunction soon fled to parts far away.

But the gang proved resilient.

Dog Pound Gangsters “continues to recruit young African American males into the gang and continues to gain respect through reputation and intimidation,” Smith wrote. “DPG has created rap music videos which contain lyrics depicting their violent crimes, the gang lifestyle, and their respective gang sets. These videos are being used to promote the Dog Pound Gangsters criminal street gang, intimidate witnesses and victims, gain respect, and further their reputation.”

Rap music is vital to DPG’s branding campaign. The music “raises the Enterprise’s status making it a symbol of success and power within the community, thus assisting in recruitment of other members of the Enterprise and victims of prostitution.”

Dyer at the news conference said the vast majority of residents in the DPG’s area of operations are law-abiding. But residents are afraid to speak up about crime.

Smith in his affidavit noted the same dynamic.

“The DPG is aware that without the help of the community, law enforcement cannot adequately investigate and/or prosecute gang crimes,” Smith wrote. “This promotes an increase of the gang’s reputation because it creates the false impression that the gang and its members are above the law. As a result, the gang will flourish and their continued criminal activity will thus further enhance the gang’s reputation.”

In other words, many frightened Southwest Fresno residents have bet on what they see as the Strong Horse – Dog Pound Gangsters, not the cops.

At the same time, DPG finds itself embroiled its Fresno’s version of gang-related geopolitics. There are lots of gangs in the city, and many have largely African-American memberships.

Smith wrote that African-American gangs in the mid-1990s gravitated into two rival alliances: TWAMP vs. MUG/Murder Squad.

DPG was part of the latter, although, as Smith wrote, it “tends to stand alone in regards to their criminal activity.”

TWAMP, Smith wrote, refers to a slang term from the game dominoes. The TWAMP alliance includes these gangs: Muhammad Family; Villa Posse; Grove Street Posse; Strother Boys; Klette Mob; Fink White; West Roy; Lee Street Posse; Peach and Olive Boys.

The Six Deuce Diamond Crip gang also is associated with TWAMP, Smith wrote.

The MUG/Murder Squad alliance consists of the Modoc Boys, U-Boys, Garrett Street Boys, Northside Pleasant and East Lane gangs in addition to Dog Pound Gangsters.

Both alliances are big into drug dealing, human trafficking and murder, Smith wrote.

Those activities are the stuff of turf wars.

“Although this feud as been ongoing for many years, the Fresno Police Department has recently seen an increase in the associated violence,” Smith wrote.

Dyer at the news conference said law enforcement had been investigating Dog Pound Gangsters for more than a year.

But something must have happened to make the good guys finally initiate the massive “takedown” of April 21.

Perhaps the shooting of “Dook” was the tipping point.

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