NEW JERSEY — Prison inmates across New Jersey formed a hit squad under the command of an alleged local leader of the Latin Kings street gang, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Thursday.
They allegedly attacked an inmate in the yard at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, Grewal said. The victim suffered a traumatic brain injury. They also allegedly plotted assaults on other inmates.
“Gang violence is always a danger in our state prisons, but we charge that these defendants and their so-called ‘hit squad’ posed a special threat to the safety and security of inmates and correctional police officers,” Grewal said.
They also allegedly planned attacks on members of the Department of Corrections, officials said.
Frank Blake, 33, allegedly formed and directed the hit squad, according to Grewal. As the only defendant not currently incarcerated, he allegedly used letters and phone calls to direct the gang members. He was arrested April 22.
Eight of the nine defendants were charged with first-degree gang criminality, Office of Public Integrity and Accountability Director Thomas Eicher said.
“We charge that these members of the Latin Kings sought to hold sway in prison through violence and fear as if they were out on the street, but we have stopped their alleged reign of terror,” Eicher said. “We’re committed to protecting people in custody.”