Female gang members surprise NJ crime fighters

Although female gangstas have been at it nearly a decade on the West Coast, those rising to “dominant roles in traditionally male-dominated” crews in New Jersey is, for state Attorney General Anne Milgram, a “disturbing elevation.” “I wish this was one (ceiling) we were not breaking,” the state’s highest law enforcement official told reporters in announcing that authorities had busted a female-led subset of the Bloods accused of selling about $50,000 worth of drugs a week.

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Investigators said they rounded up 43 reputed gang members and associates, while seizing four loaded handguns and various amounts of heroin, PCP and cocaine, in what was dubbed “Operation Bloodette.”

Bloodettes, of course, are the female counterparts of the male street gang founded in Los Angeles. Here, the gender-bridging armed ring operated out of Newark, Montclair and several surrounding towns, said Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow.

Accused ringleaders Iyesha Harrison, 25, of East Orange, and Tyesha Stephens, 30, of Newark, are being held on $300,000 bail each in the Essex County Jail.

Others arrested range from 18 to 45 years old, directly affecting several offspring. Stephens, a mother of two, was also charged with child endangerment. Her youngsters are currently staying with a relative, authorities said.

Harrison, meanwhile, had been shot — which authorities said only sped up the probe.

Investigators seized 54 grams of cocaine, 62 ounces of PCP, 13.3 grams of heroin, and a small amount of pot worth a combined $133,000 on the street, Milgram said.

Besides, the four fully-loaded handguns, raids turned up 138 rounds of ammunition and more than $21,000 in cash, she said.


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