Sullivan County Democrat
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Gang Seminar Draws Full House

By Dan Hust
ROCK HILL — March 9, 2007 — With close to 300 concerned community members in attendance, Tuesday’s “Gang Awareness 101” was a standing-room-only success.
“We had a wait list,” said Linda Cellini, CEO of Sullivan County United Way, which spearheaded and funded the seminar at the Lodge in Rock Hill. “Everybody was very pleased and amazed at the information they received… The presenters were fantastic.”
She knows of whence she speaks, as Cellini was looking through dozens of evaluation forms the day after the workshop.
“There was certainly a demand for it,” she said of the program, which brought in experts to talk about the dangers gangs present – and the solutions available. “People really appreciated the United Way taking the lead on this.”
“That training should now spark some thoughts,” added Monticello Police Chief Doug Solomon, who co-sponsored the event.
Though some say gang activity has even spread to Sullivan County’s smaller villages, Monticello has become ground zero for gangs, and Solomon and crew have been working hard to respond.
He recently got a $60,000 state grant toward his efforts, and thanks to stepped-up patrols and investigations, more than 150 arrests have been made recently in the fight against drugs and guns – where Solomon sees gangs focusing their energies.
Tuesday’s workshop brought police officers from across the region together with school and health officials, plus parents and youth volunteers, to learn how to identify gang activity and respond to it.
“The next step is preventive strategies,” Solomon said, adding that a “Gang Awareness 102” is in the works (pending funding, according to Cellini).

'Blood' member arrested in Manor

By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR — A known member of the Bloods street gang was taken by federal marshals out of a residence in Livingston Manor this week.
According to Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, the Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the marshals’ New York/New Jersey Regional Task Force this week.
The marshals had reason to believe Ephrran M. Monroe, 23, of the Bronx was in Sullivan County.
A reputed member of the Bloods, Monroe was wanted by the task force on narcotics and firearms violations.
The Sheriff’s Office and the marshals executed a warrant at 2 Orchard Street in Livingston Manor on Monday where they allegedly found Monroe in possession of 40 decks of heroin and crack cocaine.
Monroe was transported to federal court in White Plains for arraignment.
During the course of the investigation, Sheriff’s deputies interviewed Monroe’s associate, Rahmel Johnson, 20, also of the Bronx, who was staying at 872 Old Route 17 in the Manor.
Police allegedly observed crack cocaine in plain view at the residence, prompting Johnson’s arrest.
Johnson was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class B felony.
He was arraigned before Rockland Justice Harold Madison and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail without bail.
Sheriff Michael Schiff said gang activity in Sullivan County is being watched closely.
Although its been highly reported in the Monticello area, Schiff said his office has its sights on activity outside the village limits as well.
“Some gang members feel more comfortable plying their trade in the less populated areas of the county where they think they are beyond the eyes of law enforcement,” he said. “They couldn’t be more wrong.”

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