IN AMERICA...AND BEYOND:
FBI Exec Outlines Anti-Gang Strategy to Congress
Turns out, even
gangs have gone global. On
Wednesday, the House Committee on International Relations' Subcommittee
on the Western
Hemisphere held a hearing on rising gang violence across Latin America—and
how it's not only destabilizing the region but also fueling crime and
violence here in the U.S.
the FBI was our top criminal investigative executive—Chris
Swecker. He provided plenty of detail on the growing menace of
gangs and our growing efforts to defeat them, including a task force
specifically focused on disrupting and dismantling Mara Salvatrucha,
or MS-13. A few highlights:
gangs are more violent, more organized, and more widespread than
are approximately 30,000 gangs, with 800,000 members, impacting
2,500 communities across the U.S."
gangs are sowing violence and crime in big cities like Los Angeles,
Chicago, and New York, but are also spreading to rural and suburban
violent gang MS-13—composed mainly of Central American immigrants
from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala—"has a significant
presence in Northern Virginia, New York, California, Texas, as
well as places as disparate and widespread as Oregon City, Oregon,
and Omaha, Nebraska." MS-13 is estimated to have some 8,000
to 10,000 hardcore members—and is growing increasingly sophisticated,
widespread, and violent.
new National Gang Strategy: it identifies the gangs posing the
greatest danger to American communities and targets them with the
coordinated resources of law enforcement and the same federal racketeering
statutes, intelligence, and investigative techniques used to defeat
organized crime. See the full
testimony for a complete list of the gangs with connections
to Central America and Mexico that we are targeting.
Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Forces (SSVGTF): from 78 to 108
and 20 more planned. Since 1996, the work of the SSVGTFs have led
to nearly 20,000 convictions and the dismantling of more than 250
National Gang Intelligence Center: it will coordinate the national
collection of gang intelligence and help us share it with our partners
around the globe.
new MS-13 National Gang Task Force (NGTF): it's helping to speed
the flow of information and intelligence on MS-13 nationally and
internationally and to coordinate investigations.
In the words of
Subcommittee Chairman Dan Burton, "It is clearly in everyone's
best interest that we address this problem now, and end the threat
of transnational gang violence in the Western Hemisphere."
the full testimony | House