The Taliban gang is a group of mostly young men that emerged in 2002 around East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, police said. Members were booked into custody on suspicion of various offenses, including homicide, armed robbery, and trafficking in methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and weapons. * * * Police seized $240,000 in cash, 10 automobiles, numerous assault rifles and handguns, and what the task force described in a statement as "significant quantities" of ecstasy pills, a smokable form of cocaine called base and other illegal narcotics.
The gang obviously was not interested in operating under the radar screen of law enforcement when selecting its name:
The gang took its name from the fundamentalist Islamic group that ruled Afghanistan until 2001, using "Taliban" for its public shock value rather than for any religious or political reason, officers said. They added that the gang members initially were the "muscle" for another gang, known as the Midtown Hogs. After the law enforcement crackdown on the rival Latino Sac Street gang in 2007, however, the Taliban gang quickly filled the crime vacuum and soon overshadowed the Hogs. "It's a local gang, not a nationwide gang, but they are very violent and notorious," said Charlene Thornton, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the FBI. "They are a significant threat to the communities here." Members are known for wearing camouflage fatigues and military hats, and employing sophisticated coded language and countersurveillance techniques, Soares said.
*** In Houston, TX a father-son team belonging to the Brown Pride gang have been charged with the murder of a member from the rival SPPL (the Spanish initials for "We are few but crazy") gang.
Online gang activity started to grow in 2004 and 2005, said Rob Gallardo, a gang prevention counselor with Operation No Gangs, a school and community youth gang prevention and intervention program. The Internet, he said, gives the gangs exposure and allows them to update information quickly. He said many street gangs post their activities, fights and gang initiations online. "This is a real phenomenon. A lot of activities are carried out in pictures, drug use is shown, damage on vandalism, fights are all categorized and documented," Gallardo said. "Graffiti is now out. The Internet replaced graffiti completely."
The street gangs in Texas maintain close ties to their Mexican counterparts over the border:
In a written statement, [Gov. Rick] Perry said gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, the Texas Syndicate, MS-13 and Barrio Azteca have become increasingly sophisticated in their criminal activity. He said they have an influence throughout the state and across the U.S.-Mexico border. Barrio Azteca, the largest and most active prison gang from El Paso, also has members in Juárez. It was founded in the mid-1980s to protect and unite Hispanic prison inmates, the El Paso Police Department Web site states. In the 1990s, the gang grew and was involved in activities related to narcotics, extortion, assaults, murders, theft and intimidation, the site states. The gang also formed and continues to create alliances with street gangs. Barrio Azteca is known to be associated with the Juárez Aztecas gang, which has been at the center of deadly prison riots at the state and municipal Cereso prisons.
According to ICE Houston has 89 active street gangs.