Mexican drug trafficking organizations -- with their large stashes of narcotics and cash -- are becoming an enticing robbery target for criminal street gangs, according to gang investigators from throughout Georgia. A string of recent drug rip-offs are causing cartels to arm themselves more heavily, which could prove dangerous for law enforcement officers, said John Houston, supervisory special agent for the FBI Atlanta Division. * * * Investigators said the Latino street gang that has been targeting Mexican cartels in the metro Atlanta area is violent, brash and increasing in numbers. * * * "They are hitting stash houses," Bright said. The members of this gang are extremely violent and have been known to cut the ears off children or burn them with hot irons to get what they want, Sgt. Larry Bright of the Gwinnett County Police Department said. The gang is operating in at least five states, but most of its members are foreign nationals. Gangs and drugs often go hand-in-hand, and nowhere is that more evident than in Atlanta. Authorities say gangs are attracted to Atlanta because of its size, location, large immigrant population and the city's reputation for being a drug trafficking hub.
*** In the six-month period ending on Sept. 30, ICE agents arrested 1,785 gang members and associates "as part of a nationwide crackdown that targeted gangs involved in cross-border smuggling of people and weapons, drug trafficking, identity theft and other crimes."
*** Twin brothers and reputed Vice Lord members who allegedly were shooting at rival gang members in Chicago, IL have been charged with the bystander death of a 20-year-old mother of three.
*** In Chicago, IL a member of the Insane Dueces whom a prosecutor described as an enforcer who "sent children out to kill other children" has been sentenced to twenty years in prison.
*** Hartford, CT is suffering from a "gang infestation" with more than 138 street gangs and 4,000 members according to a new police report: "Many of the gangs, such as C-Block, Affleck Street Posse, Orange Street Killas, Wes-Hell/WHCF, York Street Posse, have ties to large national gangs — Latin Kings, Los Solidos, Bloods and Crips, the memo says."
*** Two MS-13 members from El Salvador sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a rival from Southside Locos in Springfield, VA.
*** In Harrisonburg, VA eight reputed members of Sur-13 are among those arrested on 71 indictments involving "property damage, attempted malicious wounding, gang participation, hazing, grand larceny and gang recruitment."
*** In California the Avenues street gang and Mexican Mafia may have assassinated Los Angeles County Deputy Abel Escalante as "payback for the spectacular LAPD shootout on Drew Street in June 2008 that forced the closure of local streets, caused the evacuation of two nearby public schools — and left AK-47–wielding menace Danny 'Clever' Leon bloodied and dead in the street":
Deputy Escalante had nothing to do with LAPD’s killing of Leon last year. The 27-year-old officer most likely heard about it on the news, like everyone else. But, federal prosecutors believe, Escalante died for it. Seeking revenge, the dead man’s friends months later went looking for a cop who would be an easy target at his home. Escalante was killed because he was convenient. The scenario suggests a new level of chaos in the area’s streets. As LAPD Captain Bill Murphy, of the Northeast Division, says, "It's a different breed of gangs. Not a lot are out there, shooting at and killing cops. That's when it gets way out of control."
*** ICE agents in Los Angeles, CA "have arrested eight people, and were seeking a ninth, with ties to the Drew Street clique of the Avenues gang on suspicion of drug trafficking and human smuggling": "the ring charged people up to $4,500, provided phony immigration papers and smuggled the human cargo into the United States from Mexico concealed in trucks and hidden compartments of vehicles."
*** A 17-year-old "alleged Blythe Street gang associate was charged Tuesday with the killing of a 4-month-old boy who was shot when gang members opened fire . . . on a group they believed were rivals from another gang" in Los Angeles, CA: "the infant is the latest victim in a long-running feud between the Blythe Street and Barrio Van Nuys gangs that has claimed a number of lives over the years, including some innocent bystanders."
*** Reputed Bloods leader sentenced to 21 years in prison following his conviction "for sexually abusing and assaulting a woman during a violent home invasion in Yonkers," NY.