Pubdate: Fri, 09 Nov 2012
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell


Shaquan Mesquito was still in primary school when Toronto police
swooped down on his east-end neighbourhood and arrested dozens of
members and associates of the Malvern Crew.

It was May 2004 and police called their operation Project Impact, the
first large-scale gang sweep in Toronto's history.

On Thursday, police alleged Mesquito is a member of the notorious gang
while announcing they've charged him in the slaying of two innocents
attending the now infamous July 16 barbecue on Danzig St.

Additionally, he faces 23 counts of aggravated assault relating to the
wounding of partygoers, the list of charges and victims' names filling
2 1/2 pages of court documents.

Mesquito turned 18 in January.

Police allege he showed up at the party and that he, or someone he was
with, was told to leave. They returned with armed reinforcements and
opened fire, wounding Nahom Tsegazab, 19, and 22 others. Mesquito is
also charged with attempting to kill the teenager.

Tsegazab had spread word of the community block party via Twitter,
though police allege he was immersed in street life and vying for the
leadership of the Galloway Boys, another Scarborough gang.

Within a few hours, someone shot up Mesquito's mother's home on a
small street in the heart of Malvern. No one was injured.

A gun battle, retaliation and bloodshed, now all linked by police to a
conflict between young men of similar circumstances, who reside in
areas separated by only a few kilometres.

It is a case of deja vu.

Malvern is an area in the northeastern quadrant of Toronto designed in
the '70s to be a model suburban community but deprived of that
potential due to poor planning and paucity of public services. The
area borders the Toronto Zoo, Rouge River and Rouge Valley Park, just
north of Highway 401.

By the mid-'90s, local youth were selling drugs, carrying guns and
assaulting and robbing people while hanging out in groups named after
area streets such as Empringham (Emps), Crow Trail (C-Trail) and
Brenyon Way (B-Way).

It's unclear if anyone back then ever called himself a Malvern Crew
member or whether police created the brand. In court, they've been
called "Juice Mob." (However, after the 2004 raid, several accused
pleaded guilty to participating in a criminal organization called the
Malvern Crew.)

The head of the homicide squad said Thursday the next wave of thugs
has adopted the moniker.

"We have information that would indicate that the individuals that
were present (at Danzig) have claimed Malvern as their territory and
refer to themselves as the Malvern Crew," said Staff Insp. Greg McLane.

McLane said he can't speak to how active the group is "as it relates
to other crimes. I know there have been other shootings involving
these groups."

Their violent history goes back to the mid-'90s, when tensions over
drug-dealing turf intensified between Malvern's criminal element and
young men living around Kingston and Galloway Rds., another
hardscrabble area south of Malvern with its share of problems. They
also adopted an array of names such as Get Mad Crew but eventually
morphed into the Galloway Boys.

Between June 1996 and May 2004, police recorded dozens of gun fights,
homicides, robberies and home invasions stemming from an escalating
war between the Malvern Crew and Galloway Boys. Ten driveby shootings,
seven homicides and 35 firearm offences connected to the conflict
remain unsolved.

By 2003 and 2004, things came to a violent head, resulting in the mass
arrests in Malvern and Kingston/Galloway in a separate
homicide-turned-gang investigation dubbed Project Pathfinder.

Many of the key players have been locked away, though some are back
out on the streets.

Since Danzig, police have suggested it and other shootings are tied to
the resurgence of that conflict, with some of the up-and-comers being
mentored by their predecessors, though no such links have been made

On Thursday, McLane stuck to that narrative.

"My understanding is the Malvern Crew and the Galloway Boys are in a
period of transition because of some significant arrests that were
made," he told reporters. "There are always people who will try to
take up a void in these gangs and make themselves known."
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