When she started in 1999, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bethany Zampogna did not believe there was a gang problem in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Her tune has changed after leading several gang seminars for law enforcement and seeing how things are. “[Years] of prosecuting drug-related violent crimes have shown that the gangs are here, are multiplying and are dangerous,” she said, according to The Morning Call. In June, sentencing guidelines were updated and a gang enhancement was put in place to punish gang members even more harshly. Now, crimes committed in association with gang activity will add “one year to the lower and upper ends of the sentence,” according to WFMZ-TV 69 News.
Lehigh County imposed this gang enhancement for the first time on Monday in the sentencing of Antanyia Lakeisha Franklin. It is unclear if Franklin, 20, belongs to the “Brick City Frutown Brims gang” (we believe outlets mean the Brick City or Fruit Town Brims), but she is known in the streets as “Vicious Brim.” She pleaded guilty in November to aggravated assault of 15-year-old girl for false-flagging. Franklin reportedly beat on the girl for flashing gang signs when she didn’t belong to the gang. The assault was videotaped and shown during the trial.
The beating was clearly associate with gang activity, so the gang enhancement was applied to Franklin’s sentence. She will be serving a four to 20 year sentence in state prison. The aforementioned Zampogna was the prosecutor on the case.