Law enforcement takes aim at OTZ gang

Posted at 1:45 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 18:07:22-04

Delinquency charges were filed in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court against 11 members of a violent group called OTZ: Only the Zone, according to the county prosecutor's office.

Eleven boys, ranging in age from 15-17, faced a total of 151 counts, stemming from 30 different incidents that occurred between December 5, 2015 and March 22.

Charges included participation in a criminal gang, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, robbery and grand theft motor vehicle.

The office said prosecutors believe the list of charges will grow. 

“These criminals often operated far afield from their homes in Cleveland and some of its inner-ring suburbs,” said First Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Duane Deskins, who leads the Juvenile Justice Division in the Prosecutor’s Office. “OTZ members have left a trail of crime and violence that stretches from Rocky River to Geauga County. But thanks to hard work by officers throughout the region and by prosecutors in our office, we have been able to piece together the details of their crimes and are treating them as the collective work of the criminal gang that OTZ is.”

Seven of the 11 boys were already in custody before Wednesday. Early on Wednesday, a multi-agency task force of police officers rounded up two more and continued to search for a third, the prosecutor's office reported. A final target is believed to be out of state, but a warrant has been issued for his arrest.