Recent vandalism at a Helena elementary school has authorities investigating the possible presence of a gang known as the Juggalos in the area. Last week, the principal at Jim Darcy School reported graffiti on the main building of the school and a basketball court. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said the tagging in black spray paint included “Jhuggalo 4 Life” “JH4LICP” and “Woop Woop.”
The name Juggalo started as a reference to fans of the hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse. According to a 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment conducted by the FBI, “Transient, criminal Juggalo groups pose a threat to communities due to the potential for violence, drug use/sales, and their general destructive and violent nature.”
Dutton said his deputies have seen a few signs of Juggalo activity in the area but the school graffiti was the most significant act.
“There have been a few references but it’s not that common,” he said.
The day after the graffiti was found, authorities received a tip that led to a 15-year-old boy suspected of vandalizing the school, Dutton said. The boy was later cited for criminal mischief and referred to juvenile probation.
Dutton said the boy, who claimed to be a Juggalo, admitted to the crime. The case was forwarded to the gang intelligence officer in the sheriff’s office for evaluation and further investigation.
Juggalos have been active nationwide and the FBI classifies the group as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” Authorities have classified Juggalos as a gang in several states, including Utah and Arizona. Some schools have prohibited students from wearing Insane Clown Posse clothing as a result.
A criminal street gang is defined as a group of three or more people that commits crimes and have a common name or identifying symbol.