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A bullet hole is seen in the wall inside the entrance way at 2468 Eglinton Avenue West were a male youth was shot in the leg during a drive-by. (Anne-Marie Jackson/The Globe and Mail/Anne-Marie Jackson/The Globe and Mail)
A bullet hole is seen in the wall inside the entrance way at 2468 Eglinton Avenue West were a male youth was shot in the leg during a drive-by. (Anne-Marie Jackson/The Globe and Mail/Anne-Marie Jackson/The Globe and Mail)

Globe investigation

Toronto's new murder capital Add to ...

But the term "gang" is touchy. One of the men arrested, Curlew Moulton, is thought to be the highest-level player in the area, working with all gangs selling drugs. Despite gang lore, it seems none of the local thugs are particularly aligned or particularly opposed to one another on principle - it's business. The Gatorz and 5PGz are a group of friends, some of whom deal drugs and carry weapons, rather than an organized crime syndicate.

"Oh my gosh, there's no 'top 5PG [member]' This ain't no mafia. There's no guy at the top," says Matthew Eubank, a 27-year-old father who grew up in the area, sold marijuana as a teenager and now is a board member at Frontlines. Mr. Eubank is a deeply religious man and a passionate speaker who believes police are focusing in on gangs that aren't around any more and, as such, are missing out on catching killers.

He uses air-quotes when he says the word "gang." The 5PG were founded a decade ago and have dwindled, while the Gatorz aren't around any more, he says.

"It's just a bunch of guys who hang out with each other and take care of each other in their neighbourhood. And it's sad, because they abuse their neighbourhood by selling drugs and stealing from the neighbourhood," says Mr. Eubank, who knew Mr. Grant and believes police have mistakenly labelled him a 5PG.

"[Police]have cast a net so wide and so far that anything that happens within these boundaries, they automatically just associate with 5PG or Gatorz," he says. "To say that everything that happens in this area is associated with 5PG, it's false."

I'm still waiting for the call where police can say they found Jarvis's killer. So I can look him in the eye and say. 'Why? Why Jarvis?' Clemee Joseph, mother of Jarvis St. Remy

You can earn upwards of $1,000 a day selling cocaine and heroin. For a poor kid from assisted housing, the lure can be too much to ignore. "It's like you're in the jungle. It is like a war," says Linkx, a 20-year-old rap producer from nearby Rexdale who wears Crip colours and spoke on condition of anonymity. "The police are after you and you're after something else - you're trying to get money."

You can often spot a General easily - they have "5PG" either shaved into their head or displayed as a tattoo. Gatorz wear a "G," and either green, or Florida Gators athletic gear. Both sprung a decade ago out of small geographical areas, such as an apartment building or city block. Since then, young teens have adopted group names they've heard of, keeping the gang's legacy alive but with little organization or formality.

"It's really who is hanging out on what street corner, who is hanging out with who, who goes to school with who," said Jim Aspiotis, president of the Ontario Gang Investigators Association.

Investigators continue to look into what's causing this year's violence. Supt. Smollet believes the Gatorz are fighting a multi-front battle against other gangs and a splinter group, the Southside Gatorz, who call 11 Division home. "Someone once described it to me as, 'This isn't the time you want to be a Gator,' " he said.

The police response has been swift. Mr. Moulton, 35, is believed to be the big fish. Arrested June 24, he faces 12 charges, including four counts of trafficking heroin and two counts of threatening death. He's up for bail in a week. Eric Morgan (accused of being Mr. Moulton's sidekick) also faces seven drug-related charges. In search warrants related to their arrest, police say they seized heroin, cocaine, marijuana, three vehicles and $30,000 in cash.

"[Mr. Moutlon]controlled the money, he controlled the drugs. He was the top of the food chain," alleges Toronto police organized crime Detective Sergeant Rob DiDanieli, who says he's now watching for any "heir apparent."

Shane Evans, 26, and Sheldon Evans, 24, who police also suspect are 5PG, have also been arrested. They face six and eight drug-related charges, respectively.

Then, in the third week of June, the 32 new TAVIS officers arrived in the division. The program is the brain child of Chief Blair, who rose to power on his community policing bona fides and recently became the first chief in three decades to be given a second term. In his battle to save 12 Division, it plays a major role.

Constable Tony Correa inspects the scene of a drive-by shooting on Eglinton Avenue.

Sarge and the surge

Just before 7 a.m. on the last Tuesday in June, about a dozen officers are sitting in a room on the second floor of 12 Division headquarters on Todd Bayliss Boulevard, named for an officer killed in the line of duty over a decade ago. This is also the home of TAVIS.

There's a box of ready-made Tim Hortons coffee downstairs. One list on the office's wall is titled "Crack Houses - to be cleared." Strung above it is a decorative row of blue and red bandanas, the colours of Crips and Bloods, respectively. The door has mug shots of 33 "known gangsters."

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