(NEW YORK) — They may be dolls, but these women don’t play around.
On Wednesday, federal and local authorities busted 40 alleged members of one of the Bronx’s most notorious gangs called Trinitarios. Among the ranks of those charged with murder was the alleged leader of the all-women subgroup of the Trinitarios, which calls itself the Bad Barbies.
Maria Mejia, 24, who is thought to be the leader of the Bad Barbies, was charged yesterday with murder, assault, and racketeering. She allegedly stabbed a Crips gang member to death and also “lured” a robbery victim to the front of a Mexican restaurant in 2005.
Mejia has pleaded not guilty to her charges and is being held without bail. Her court-appointed lawyer, Ed Wilford, says that in reality the young woman is a homemaker who takes care of her sick mother. Furthermore, Wilford says that law enforcement has acted inappropriately in her case by “castigat[ing] people charged with capital crimes by using loose language,” according to the New York Post.
One hundred and ninteen people have been arrested in connection with the Trinitarios gang since 2009, according to a CBS report. And ten of the 40 defendants charged on Wednesday remain at large. Police believe that five of those defendants have escaped to the Dominican Republic.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was surprised by the role women are playing in gang activity in the city. About 100 women have been linked to the crimes of the Trinitario gang, he noted.
“We weren’t surprised to learn that the Trinitarios were up to no good in the Bronx. But the Bad Barbies? Who knew?” Kelly said, the Post reported. “Maybe it’s a sign of the times that gender is no bar when it comes to murder, robbery and other crimes.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
AJ Willingham, CNN
Brianna Owczarza & Meg McLeod, CNN