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STREET CRIME

Spain bans “dangerous” Latin American street gang Dominican Don’t Play

Supreme Court adds group to other banned criminal organizations

María Fabra

The Supreme Court on Tuesday officially banned the Latin American street gang Dominican Don't Play -- a criminal organization that police and prosecutors have long blamed for rampant violence and crime in many neighborhoods across Spain.

Also known by its initials D.D.P., the gang now joins the Ñetas, Latin Kings and Blood and Honour on the list of illegal criminal groups banned from organizing their members in Spain.

Police had described Dominican Don't Play as the most dangerous street gang in Spain, explaining that its members are usually armed with guns or knives when they commit crimes, including violent attacks, robberies and sexual assaults.

Founded in New York in the 1990s, Dominican Don't Play expanded its operations to Spain during the height of the migration period involving Latin Americans. The move also coincided with widespread police crackdowns on members' activities in the Big Apple.

The Supreme Court's ruling is based on the High Court convictions in 2008 of certain gang members who were involved in a street fight. The top court overturned their convictions after ruling that there was insufficient evidence submitted by prosecutors to link the defendants to Dominican Don't Play.

The court said in its ruling that Dominican Don't Play surfaced around 2004.

"Their Latin roots tie in with the two aforementioned groups [Latin Kings and Ñetas] from which they broke off because of continual disagreements -- mainly based on issues of nationality -- and decided to form their own gang," the Supreme Court said in its resolution on Tuesday.

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