New York gangs rounded up thanks to Twitter code words

More than 60 alleged Harlem gangsters have been arrested by New York investigators after incriminating themselves in a slew of code-filled exchanges on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, prosecutors said.

Tweeting messages about a “Mariah”, “flamingo”, “sandwich” and “biscuit” may have seemed like a smart idea for the alleged members of the Air It Out, Whoadey and True Money gangs.

But the investigators broke the code and have now rounded up 63 members of the rival street gangs and indicted them with three murders, more than 30 shootings and a litany of other violent crimes.

The words were among a long list of slang terms for a gun, officials said. Bullets were referred to as “food”, “gas”, “electricity” and “sea shellz”; to “clap” was to kill a rival; to “rock to sleep early” was to murder.

“The internet is our 21st century crime scene,” Cy Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney. “There’s isn’t a crime here in Manhattan that doesn’t leave an electronic fingerprint on the Internet.

“The indictments chronicle a bloody gang war that claimed the lives of at least three teenagers, led to the shooting of dozens of individuals and put bounties on people’s heads”.

His office provided a two-page glossary of code words said to have been deployed by gang members who had operated a reign of terror since 2009 in three public housing complexes in East Harlem, near the north of Central Park.


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