For the week of April 28, 1999  thru May 4, 1999  

Youths say local gang exists

Express Staff Writer

Law enforcement and school officials deny, or refuse to comment on, the existence of a gang in Wood River Valley schools. However, some students tell a different story.

Josh Buell is a 17-year-old Silver Creek Alternative School student. Jake Harris is an 18-year-old former Wood River High School student. Both claim to have been victims in a gang-related incident involving a gun that occurred in Ketchum April 2.

According to Harris, a shot was fired following an altercation between himself and gang members.

Ketchum Police Chief Cal Nevland said his department has no knowledge of the incident.

Buell described the situation involving the alleged gang activity as "a little gang up here just trying to be bad."

Buell said that younger students are being influenced and intimidated by the alleged gang and that there were "tons of incidents of guys getting guns pulled on them."

According to Buell and Harris, the alleged gang is known as the WAPs, (White As Potatoes), and has been around for two years.

Following the shooting incident in Ketchum, Harris said, he talked to some of the older WAP members who started the gang. According to Harris, they were out of the gang now and realized how stupid it was to be in it.

An alleged former WAP gang member who declined to be identified denied being associated with the group but admitted knowing members of the gang. However, this individual said that whether or not the group should be considered a gang is a matter of opinion.


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