District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni’s SAFE Unit Dismantles Knox Street Posse

District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni’s SAFE Unit Dismantles Knox Street Posse

Earlier this year, Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni formed the Strategic Action and Focused Enforcement Team, which operates out of his office. T…

June 29, 2021 -Springfield-  Earlier this year, Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni formed the Strategic Action and Focused Enforcement Team, which operates out of his office. The first of its kind unit, is comprised of members of law enforcement from: Massachusetts State Police, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Homeland Security Investigations, Massachusetts National Guard, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, and Holyoke, West Springfield, and East Longmeadow Police Departments. The unit focuses on known individuals who are prolific drivers of street level violent crime and gang activity.

For the past several months the SAFE Unit has been operational and focused on investigating the Knox Street Posse operating out of Springfield. The Knox Street Posse is considered the most violent gang currently operating in Western Massachusetts. Based on intelligence gathered by investigators it has been determined the Knox Street Posse is presently engaged in a violent “street war” with rival gangs. The Knox Street Posse is known for its use of violence to protect their business of trafficking firearms, and the distribution of narcotics throughout Western New England, particularly the Hampden County and southern Vermont areas.  As a result of the increase in violence and the known illicit distribution of heroin and cocaine by the members of the Knox Street Posse, the SAFE Unit utilized an intelligence based investigation in identifying and arresting key members in an attempt to dismantle this organized criminal enterprise. 

The operation resulted in: 15 Arrests of Knox Street Posse members and associates, 20 total firearms recovered, 100,000 bags of heroin,  and approximately 2.8 kilograms of cocaine seized, and $70,000 in U.S. currency. Of the 15 arrests made, 11 suspects are currently being held pursuant to the state’s dangerousness statute, one is held on $100,000 cash bail, and one dangerousness hearing has yet to be conducted. This speaks to seriousness of the records and charges associated with these individuals and the arrests.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “Everyone deserves a safe neighborhood, a quiet street, and a secure home to live and raise a family. The vast majority of people in every neighborhood across this county are law-abiding people who just want safety and peace for themselves and their families. However, the lion’s share of serious street violence in this region is committed at the hands of only a few. There are a small number of individuals who are intent on violence, serious crime, and destruction. We realized that if law enforcement was able to focus on this small population of highly violent offenders, assaults, shootings, and murder would decrease. The Strategic Action & Focused Enforcement Unit (SAFE) is a full-time, permanent unit that works out of the Hampden District Attorney’s Office and includes federal, state, and local law enforcement. SAFE has a singular goal to promote safer streets, safer neighborhoods, and safer communities across Hampden County.

“We are proud to play a part on District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s Strategic Action and Focused Enforcement (SAFE) Unit and in this operation, we were able to create a significant disruption to gang activity in the City of Springfield. By pairing up our jail-based intelligence with street intelligence from the task force members, we get better results. And when law enforcement agencies work together for the public good, we make our community a safer place, which is what it’s all about” said Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

Arrested in connection with this investigation:

Joseph McLeod, 23, currently held on dangerousness and charged with: operating a mv with suspended license, possession with intent to distribute class a (heroin), possession with intent to distribute class b (cocaine), possession with intent to distribute class d (marijuana), carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm without FID card, possession of a large capacity firearm, possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Jeremy Garcia, 22, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: carrying a firearm (subsequent offense), carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, firearm violation with 1 prior violent/drug crime, possession of a large capacity firearm, trafficking in cocaine 36-100 grams, trafficking in heroin, operating a motor vehicle with suspended license.

Austin Garcia, 24, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: carrying a firearm (subsequent offense), carrying a loaded firearm. possession of a firearm in commission of a felony. firearm violation with 1 prior violent/drug crime, possession of a large capacity firearm, trafficking in cocaine 36-100 grams, Hampden Superior Court warrant for firearm violations.

Justin Garcia, 30, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: carrying a firearm without FID card, carrying a high capacity firearm while in commission of a felony, carrying a loaded firearm, trafficking in class b substance (cocaine) over 200 grams, trafficking in class a substance (heroin) 100-200 grams, possession of a firearm without FID card (six counts), possession of a high capacity feeding device (five counts), possession of ammunition, improper storage of a firearm(s) (children ages 3 and 7 present), receiving stolen property under $1200 (Glock firearm)

Jonathan Martinez, 35, currently held on dangerousness for a federal probation warrant. Additional charges are forthcoming based on his alleged involvement in two recent shootings.  

Nathan Mercado, 28, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: carrying a firearm without a license (two counts), possession of a firearm without an FID card (two counts), receiving stolen property under $250, assault & battery on a police officer, resisting arrest.

Nathaniel Palmer, 30, currently released on $3,000 bail ( the Commonwealth requested $10,000) , his next court date is on August 24, 2021. He was arrested and originally held on a default warrant from an arrest on April 10, 2018, he was charged with: possession of firearm without an FD card, carrying a firearm with ammunition, possession of class d substance

Dwight Clark, 23, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: carrying a firearm without a license (two counts),  possession of a firearm without an fid card (two counts), receiving stolen property under $250 (two counts).

Omar Harris, 38, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: trafficking in class b substance (over 200 grams), assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle-2 counts), operating a motor vehicle suspended license, failure to stop for police, operating to endanger.

Justin Crawford, 24, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: possession/carrying a firearm (three counts), possession of a large capacity weapon or feeding device (two counts), carrying a loaded firearm (three counts), possession of a large capacity firearm while in commission of a felony (two counts), possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, possession of ammunition without FID card (three counts), trafficking in cocaine over 200 grams, trafficking in cocaine 36-100 grams, trafficking in heroin 36-100, receiving stolen property under $1200 (Glock firearm)

Kiernan Perkins, 21, currently held on dangerousness on the following charges: possession/carrying a firearm (three counts), possession of a large capacity weapon or feeding device (two counts), carrying a loaded firearm (three counts), possession of a large capacity firearm while in commission of a felony (two counts), possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, possession of ammunition without FID card (three counts), trafficking in cocaine over 200 grams, trafficking in cocaine 36-100 grams, trafficking in heroin 36-100, receiving stolen property under $1200 (Glock firearm)

Luciano Bigelow, 22, Bail was set at $10,000 after the Commonwealth’s request for dangerousness was denied, his next scheduld court date is on July, 22, 2021. He is charged with: possession/carrying a firearm (three counts), possession of a large capacity weapon or feeding device (two counts), carrying a loaded firearm (three counts), possession of a large cap. firearm while in commission of a felony (two counts), possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, possession of ammunition without fid card (three counts), trafficking in cocaine over 200 grams, trafficking in cocaine 36-100 grams, trafficking in heroin 36-100, receiving stolen property under $1200 (Glock firearm).

Juan Romero, 33, currently held on $100,000 bail on the following charges:  trafficking in class b substance-cocaine (over 200 grams), trafficking in class b substance-cocaine (18-36 grams), possession of a high capacity feeding device, carrying a firearm while in commission of a felony, possession of ammunition without FID card, possession class b substance with intent to distribute (oxycodone).

Tyre Shakespeare, 19, currently held on an outstanding warrant for violation of pre-trial probation, he is charged with: home invasion, discharge firearm within 500 feet of building, larceny under $1200, carrying firearm without a license, home invasion, assault to murder, malicious damage motor vehicle, home invasion.

Joshua Santiago, 23, currently held on dangerousness and charged with:carrying a firearm without an fid card, carrying a high capacity firearm while in commission of a felony, carrying a high capacity loaded firearm, possession of a high capacity feeding device. (two counts), possession class a substance with intent to distribute (heroin), possession of ammunition, trafficking in class a (heroin) over 200 grams (two counts).

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