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Home  >  Police Products  >  Investigation

August 19, 2007
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MySpace.com helped N.J. police track shooting suspects

Web site corroborated suspect's MS-13 gang ties

By Jonathan Schuppe
Newark Star-Ledger
Related tip: Check Myspace.com for intel

NEWARK, N.J. — The 60 sleepless hours Newark Detective Rasheen Peppers spent chasing the half-brothers wanted in the Newark schoolyard shootings began at his home in Newark, at the keyboard of his IBM ThinkPad, when he searched for them on the social-networking Web site MySpace.

He found nothing under the name of Rodolfo Godinez, the 34-year-old man police have described as a "principal player" in the murders of three college students on Aug. 4.

But the profile of his 16-year-old half-brother, Alexander Alfaro, was packed with clues. It listed the boy's nickname, "Smokey," and the names of dozens of friends who had sent him messages. It seemed to confirm reports that Alfaro is a member of a Latino street gang called MS-13: It included the name of an MS-13 clique (Guanacos Little Cycos Salvatruchos) and pictures of Alfaro throwing gang signs. The page also verified a crucial clue from early in the investigation: The boy had fled New Jersey.

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