York DA, city cops, honored for teamwork, crippling Southside gang
York County's district attorney and a number of York City police officers are among the 32 crime fighters honored recently by U.S. Attorney David Freed.
Longtime York County Detective Craig Fenstermacher received a Lifetime Service Award for his many years of service, according to Dawn Clark, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg.
York County District Attorney Dave Sunday received the Outstanding Contributions to Cooperative Law Enforcement, for significantly increasing cooperation among law-enforcement agencies, Clark said.
Sunday said the award is a tremendous honor because it acknowledges law enforcement embracing teamwork, which the district attorney said his office fosters daily.
"It meant a lot. ... It's one of the greatest accolades you can get," he said. "As such, this award belongs to the entire team — from assistant district attorneys to victim/witness coordinators to detectives and paralegals, and to every local, state and federal partner that we work with every single day."
Also honored by U.S. Attorney Freed were York City Detectives Andy Shaffer, Scott Nadzom, Paul DeHart III, Zachary Pelton, Tim Shermeyer, Travis Sowers, Andy Baez and Kyle Hower; retired Detective Bart Seelig; Officer Stephen Aderhold; and city Lt. William Wentz.
They received Distinguished Service Awards for their "exceptional" work going after York City's criminal Southside gang and dismantling the organization by arresting members and seizing proceeds of their criminal enterprise, according to Clark.
Also receiving that award were two people from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They are Special Agent Ryan Anderson, who was a York City officer before being hired by ATF, and retired Special Agent Scott Endy.
Anderson was part of the Southside team, made up of local, state and federal law-enforcement partners, and Endy led the team, according to York City Police.
The three-year Southside probe led to federal indictments against 28 gang members and also led to a noticeable decrease in the number of violent street crimes in York City, police have said.
12 years of investigation: Although the probe intensified in the three years before roughly two dozen gang members were arrested, York City Police and federal prosecutors had been working together to attack Southside's criminal enterprise for about nine years prior to that, police have said.
The racketeering and drug-dealing indictments were handed down in September 2014.
Wentz, who supervises York City's detective bureau, said the department reached out to the ATF in response to violence and "developed a partnership through the Harrisburg field office."
Wentz praised Endy, saying, "The hours he put into this (were) incredible."
Endy and other members of the team weren't clock-watching, according to the lieutenant.
"(They worked) late at night, early in the morning — 12-, 14-, 16-hour days," Wentz said. "The guys in all the agencies involved made personal sacrifices and worked long hours."
The investigation targeted violence, drug trafficking and firearms violations committed by Southside's members, he said.
Southside was crippled, and the gang has not recovered, according to Wentz.
"I think it had an impact on (city) violence. It's not like it was before," he said, noting most Southside members received harsh federal prison sentences. "There are 28 (defendants) who aren't going to be in York, some for life."
The corrupt organization cases against Southside members go back a dozen years, according to Wentz, who praised the U.S. Attorney's Office for pouring resources into the investigation.
Like the investigators, lead prosecutor Michael Consiglio also dedicated countless hours to dismantling Southside, Wentz said.
Ninety shootings and 20 homicides were looked at over a 12-year period, and 116 firearms were recovered, he said.
The probe culminated with team members executing more than 20 federal search warrants on gang members, homes, storage units and vehicles, Wentz said. A dozen more guns were found and seized during that process, he said.
Those properties weren't just in York City, according to the lieutenant — they also were in the suburbs, including in Springettsbury and Hellam townships.
Also seized as part of the searches was $200,000 worth of cocaine and $500,000 in assets, including cash, vehicles and jewelry, Wentz said.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.