What The Gang Leader Of The BOUNTY HUNTER BLOODS Taught This FBI Agent About Life
by James A. Gagliano
Holy Shit! Is … that … HIM…???
Rounding the corner, I immediately applied the brake, reflexively nosing my car to the right and into an open parking space alongside the sidewalk. I remained fixated on the elusive form stationed on the opposite street corner, as my whitewalls ground into the curbing on the passenger side of my vehicle.
My mind raced. Could it really be HIM, here now, within spitting distance of me?
The Him I was referring to was currently enjoined in casual conversation with an associate, but almost immediately, he glanced in my direction.
His piercing gaze met mine, his eyes disturbingly unblinking. His stare was almost impenetrable, and his posture was one of pure and utter disdain. Anthony “00” Boykin, the brutal leader of Newburgh, New York’s most violent street gang — the notorious BOUNTY HUNTER BLOODS — didn’t care much for me, or so I’d heard. Stand in line, “00,” I bemusedly thought to myself. Respect for, or disdain of — folks usually have a fairly strong opinion of me one way or the other. “00,” sources had related, counted himself in the latter category. I was fine with that. Being an outspoken public figure who had condemned the local gang violence and publicly denounced the predictable and prevalent “My criminal behavior is someone else’s fault” excuse syndrome, of which, historically, Newburgh had been rife with, had earned me some detractors within the city I had come to know and love.
But, nevertheless, that wouldn’t impede me from stubbornly sharing my message to the youth I coached and mentored in the ‘Burgh: No excuses accepted. And I wouldn’t tolerate an assignation of blame to anything and everything but one’s own actions. I’d heard that “00” didn’t accept excuses from his gang minions either. And stories of beatings (and killings) meted out for small infractions or violations of the gang’s street code were legion. We were both squaring off in the pursuit of attracting Newburgh’s precious natural resource — it’s youth. I, of course, wanted them to see the White House as a distinct career possibility. “00” was more inclined to enslave them within a noxious street gang, whereby the only acceptable exit strategy was via a pine box or a 10′ x 10′ prison cell.
Locking eyes now, on the street, with “00,” it appeared that each of us was steadfastly refusing to look away. And then I thought I detected a barely perceptible smirk as it began to inch itself up from the corner of one side of his mouth. He seemed assured we’d made purposeful eye contact, so he gamely cocked his head to one side and spat in the street in my direction, and then he winked. Or maybe he had just gotten a bit of dust in his eye. One could never truly tell, when in the presence of a gifted gangster and master manipulator like Anthony “00” Boykin. If ever there was a self-assured criminal, it was this guy.
Boykin and I had never met personally, but I had studied him closely, from afar, for almost a year now. And like the ornithologist who spends a lifetime attempting to track down and observe an Asian crested ibis in its native habitat, I had now, finally, laid my eyes upon the elusive “00,” and in his own personal domain, his “habitat,” the local turf that served as his urban kingdom. I was excited, nervous even. But, I was possessed of the same sense of self-assurance that alpha males like “00” were imbued with. I’d waited a long time to observe him on the street. And though this meeting was totally unexpected, I wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to share space with my nemesis.
Never lowering my eyes, I unfolded myself from the cramped confines of the silver-colored Pontiac G6 that the FBI had issued to me, and straightened myself up to my full 6 foot 3 inch height. Being a Caucasian, and attired as I was in my typical Bureau-style white button-down Oxford shirt, loosely-knotted repp tie, and dark suit pants, I was an easily recognizable figure in the ‘hood. And as the local FBI Chief, the Supervisory Senior Resident Agent, in Bureau parlance, with oversight responsibilities of Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan Counties, I had just left my office in Goshen, New York, for the day, intent on catching a local pick-up basketball tournament in the basketball mecca that is Newburgh, New York. One of my former AAU ballplayers had texted me a reminder earlier in the afternoon.
“Coach,” the text read, “gotta chk out games at Gidney 2nite!!! 8PM game off the chain. N. Miller Street boyz playing P’keepsie tm. Don’t miss it. Newburg (sic) bout to represent!”
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