The overall operation led to the seizure of 2 kilograms of cocaine, 582 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 156 pounds of marijuana, eight firearms and a total of $60,000 in cash and vehicles. The operation targeted 17 gangs, including Latin Kings, Sur 13, Draks and Bloods.
ICE officials say the operation targeted members and associates of the MS-13, Surenos, Brown Pride, SUR-13 and Latin King street gangs. Those arrested were in the United States illegally, authorities say, and they are in federal custody. But authorities say four suspects were referred to the U.S. Attorney's office for possible additional charges, including possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm, and re-entering the United States after deportation.
Police officers said Sunday that they have seen an increase in gang activity throughout the Metro Atlanta area in the last year and are now taking measures to stop it. The FBI is now working with two counties to stop the spread of street gangs. Authorities say as the population has grown in the Metro Atlanta, so has the presence of street gangs. Three gangs, the Latin Kings, Gangster Disciples and Sur-13, have popped up in Cherokee County in addition to the Bloods and the Crips. * * * Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison said he blamed part of the rise in gang activity on the problem of drug trafficking from Mexico. "Atlanta is one of the major hubs for drug trafficking and distribution, unfortunately we have the distinction of being the southeastern border of the United States because it's become the hub of drug dealing primarily through the Hispanic gangs," said Garrison.
Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Blaise Dresser said he sees a benefit of keeping gang members behind bars longer. "I'm all for it," he said. "Anything that would emphasize penalizing them would be good." Sgt. Dresser has worked on several cases involving gangs, some of which happened on school campuses. One such incident occurred in May at Cross Creek High School, he said. The sheriff's department assisted school officials in a raid that led to the suspension of 30 students, many of whom were involved in gang activity.
It upheld that prohibiting association among gang members within the specified zone is constitutional, and that it is constitutional to prohibit defendants from flashing gang signs in that area and from wearing gang clothing. The court also agreed the section of the penal code that sets out the criminal penalties for violations of the civil injunction is legal.
SCGangNET is a web-based program developed by SRA International, Inc. and tracks criminal gangs including their associates and the crimes they commit across the state. The program also identifies gang trends and patterns to reduce gang crimes in an effort to safeguard South Carolina residents. The information gathered for SCGangNET is entered into the on-line system by various law enforcement partners to help other agencies learn more about gang crimes and activities.
The East Baltimore native was not motivated to change as much by police pressure as by the murder three years ago of one of his closest friends, a fellow Blood member. Bloods killing Bloods, people fighting over gang colors, recruiting children as young as 11 - it wasn't supposed to be this way, he said. Wilson, who said he was a "general" with the Bloods, one of the highest-ranking members in the area, traveled to California to negotiate his exit from the gang with top leaders. * * * As a respected street figure, he has intervened in countless disputes in an attempt to avoid deadly violence, all very much off the radar of police. He has organized pickup basketball games and sit-down meals between Bloods and Crips. Last year, he issued a challenge that he would take them on trips to Six Flags if they went 45 days without killing one another. It worked.