Skip to comments.S. Texans fear region is violent gang's new stomping grounds (MS-13)
Posted on 06/07/2005 1:48:44 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
The capture of two Salvadoran gang suspects on a ranch near Dilley has heightened fears that members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang are moving in increasing numbers through South Texas.
Capping a three-day manhunt that began amid the ransacking of five ranch houses last week, federal and local authorities apprehended Rafael Torres Platero, 35, and Miguel Amauri Becerra Reyes, 27, on Friday.
The two men left a trail of vandalism and theft through La Salle and Frio counties, slicing through fences and stealing weapons and vehicles, area law enforcement officials allege.
Inside one of the homes, in a chilling move, graffiti contained messages for future gang members passing through the area, "warning them to be careful of snakes and helicopters," La Salle County Sheriff Robbie Thomas said.
"There's no doubt we're seeing more of them coming through this area," said Norman Townsend, head of the FBI office in Laredo. "Each week, we capture about one or two" throughout Texas.
Authorities have seen an increased presence of Mara Salvatrucha, also know as MS-13, in South Texas since the reputed leader of the gang, Ebner Anibal Rivera Paz, was arrested in Falfurrias in late February. He was wanted by Honduran officials in connection with a shooting attack on a bus full of Christmas shoppers that killed 28 people.
Notoriously violent, MS-13 formed in the 1980s by undocumented immigrants in the Los Angeles area who then were deported to their homelands.
There are up to 10,000 members in the United States, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center, an arm of the U.S. Justice Department.
The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have separate task forces addressing the gang's activities in the United States, Townsend said.
Authorities, using FBI intelligence reports, identified the two men captured Friday as members of the MS-13 gang, Thomas said.
The pair were believed to be making their way to Houston, where a large MS-13 cell is located, Thomas said.
Local police began searching for the men early Wednesday after a report of a break-in came in Tuesday night north of Gardendale in northern La Salle County. Other reports then came from near Dilley along the Frio and La Salle county line.
A ranch foreman who found the third home vandalized said he discovered the destruction Wednesday morning when he drove to the house with his two young daughters.
"They had gone through every room and closet in the house and dumped everything out on the floor," said the foreman, who requested his name be withheld for fear of retribution at the hands of the gang.
The invaders drank the owner's stash of liquor and beer and scoured the gun cabinet, stealing a .22-caliber handgun, a 20-gauge shotgun and a large amount of ammunition, the foreman said.
The men also stole two all-terrain vehicles from the ranch, stirring the foreman to pursue the invaders on his own Thursday morning. He discovered one ATV abandoned on his property because the men had filled it with fuel for a weed cutter.
The trail of the other stolen ATV led to a nearby ranch, he said.
After officials couldn't find the invaders, the FBI and the Texas Rangers joined the Sheriff's Department and the Border Patrol on Friday morning in an intensified effort involving more than 30 authorities in more than 20 cars.
Searchers lost the ATV trail on a rocky road and called in a Border Patrol helicopter Friday afternoon.
The pilots found the second ATV, which had been spray painted black and gray to resemble camouflage, abandoned in a field near the Frio River. Filled cans of gasoline and were being hauled in the vehicle's trailer.
Minutes later, authorities in the helicopter saw two men lying in a field of 4-foot-tall grass and radioed to officials on the ground. Border Patrol agents jumped from their trucks and nearly stumbled over the pair, who were wearing camouflage.
Thomas said they were carrying four stolen firearms: a rifle, a pistol and two shotguns including one with a sawed-off stock. No shots were fired, and the men did not try to run away.
Authorities believe the two men became lost on the ranch property.
The two suspects are charged with five counts of burglary and are being held at La Salle County Jail on bonds of $50,000 each, Thomas said.
An FBI investigation is under way to determine whether to charge the men with immigration violations, Townsend said.
A La Salle County ranch appraiser whose 200-acre spread was infiltrated said the burglaries have amplified fears among local ranchers that MS-13 could become a pervasive presence in the area.
"We're scared," said the appraiser, who also requested his name be withheld. "We're worried for our families. We're worried for our neighbors."
Oh, here in Houston the Mayor and Police Chief are reacting to this news by announcing a new crackdown on jaywalking...
Simply too pathetic for words.
Many thanks GOP and Bush for you're open borders policies, I'll be sure to keep voting GOP /NOT.
That's right! I forgot about that. I feel safe now.
BTW, tell about the brew! And how come you haven't made it to any Houston FReeper gatherings? We adore beer.
"Didn't I just recently hear that Texans don't want no stinking minutemen."
That would be the politicians. The people sure do. They've had enough.
Buying lots of FiveSeveN ammo right now.
It is going to come down to that...fedgov will do squat to close the borders - it's just not in the plan for us.
Coming to a town near you - for all the RINO and Bush brown nosers - just wait till you have one of these punks demanding money from you. Dont think that you are safe because you live in NY or Mass - they are spreading like flies and the criminal element of these illegal groups is emboldened by Bush's labeling of law abiding honest citizens protecting our border as vigilantes. RINOs (including Bush and McCain) are rotten to the core and could care less about American values and the family.
At least they weren't illegal aliensjust immigrants who left home without their documents.
So much for being safe out in the country. I'll take my chances in the city.
In other words, two-stroke gas-oil mixture.
Good Ole Bill White...what a genius that clown is.
I have the business end of an AR-15 ready for the MS-13.
I heard Houston took someone down yesterday or a couple of days ago with an FN five-seven.
"So much for being safe out in the country. I'll take my chances in the city."
No thanks. Just get you a pack of dogs, an odd assortment of firearms and target practice off the porch.
Every Texan is a minuteman (in the armed militia sense of the term, that is)!
I am not suprised by this...According to the FBI there's an Al-Qeada cell here as well. A heavily armed citizenry keeps the nut jobs in check, though.
Should read, 'I see a tatoo on a face, I shoot the man wearin' it.'
I have a pack of dogs, an odd assortment of firearms, outside lights, a burglar alarm and a tall fence, and a back porch. Thats OK I'll stay here. ;9)
I been hearing some stuff about MS 13, that the Islamo-fascists are making inroads with them. And heard rumors they're in Houston as well as most major cities.
Side note: My ex neighbor who is in law enforcement and who authors articles on teen gangs, told me, "If you ever wake up in the middle of the night and hear someone in your house you'd better PRAY it's an adult. The adult is looking for valuables and will leave you sleep without disturbance. A kid will just as soon blow your brains out (to see what they look like) than not."
Multiple Sclerosis is terrible especially among young folks.
It affects writing skills among other things.
We should all do more.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.