18 alleged gang members plead not guilty

New Orleans, La. - 18 people alleged to be members of a violent New Orleans street gang appear in criminal court Friday morning for arraignment.

All 18 pleaded not guilty to all counts read in a lengthy indictment.

The court was under tight security with more than a dozen law enforcement officers in the room.

Prosecutors say this group, sometimes calling themselves 3NG, terrorized an area of Central City centered around Third and North Galvez Streets.

Judge Camille Buras spent more than 30 minutes reading the indictment which included charges of assault, battery, murder, attempted murder, distribution of drugs, and racketeering.

Some relatives of defendants attempting to get inside the court were denied access and claim they were told there wasn't enough room.

FOX 8 put a request in for comment with Judge Buras' court and waiting for a response.

Only a handful of defendants say they've hired an attorney.

The public defenders office told the judge they had "multiple layers of conflict" and could not represent any of the defendants arraigned Friday.

The judge says the court will seek representation from the private sector and says they'll meet to go over that aspect July 31st.

Two other alleged gang members remain at large.