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      Alleged gang members in court for preliminary hearing

      S everal alleged members of the "Howard Boys" gang were in court for a preliminary hearing.

      Three more alleged members will be in court next week.

      The suspects are part of larger group facing state and federal charges in connection to drugs, racketeering and murder.

      Investigators say for nearly 10 years the alleged members of the "Howard Boys" used violence and intimidation to control and protect their.

      Authorities say the gang is responsible for dozens of murder dating back to 2002 including the death of Marion Hardy in 2006 and Jonathan Parker in 2004.

      According to federal court document obtained by NBC25, the sale of crack cocaine, marijuana and weapons was the only source of income for the vast majority of the alleged gang members.

      Court documents also show the gang used the Howard Estates as their main headquarters.

      Authorities also allege the gang threatened witnesses to keep them from talking to police.

      Twelve other suspects charged in federal court remain in the Midland County Jail.