Skip to comments.Vicious MS-13 street gang bringing its blood lust to W. Va.
Posted on 08/14/2005 9:20:14 AM PDT by 4.1O dana super trac pak
BLOOMERY It seems an unlikely setting for a meeting of big-city gang members a secluded spot along the Shenandoah River where the loudest noises come from tires crunching gravel and water rushing over the dam.
But its here, on a narrow road just across the Virginia state line, that authorities say members of MS-13, one of the nations most violent gangs, have begun to congregate.
If you just drove through, you wouldnt notice. But we sit and watch what they do, says Jefferson County sheriffs Lt. Bobby Shirley. While women serve picnics and children play, the men are standing around, clearly doing business.
MS-13 is shorthand for Mara Salvatrucha, a Latin American gang founded in Los Angeles by refugees from El Salvador. Federal authorities consider it one of the nations most vicious street gangs and estimate that it has 10,000 members in more than 30 states.
Earlier this year, after several homicides in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., the FBI announced a crackdown. Hundreds of members have since been rounded up, and some deported. But the gang, in part to lower its profile, is spreading out.
West Virginias Eastern Panhandle, less than 70 miles from Washington, offers a haven from prying eyes.
Were so close to Baltimore, Washington, even Philadelphia, that were getting an element that we definitely dont want, says West Virginia State Police Capt. Rob Blair, commander of the detachment based in Charles Town.
Police suspect MS-13 in only a few assaults and robberies, but Jefferson County Sheriff Ed Boober is certain the gang is present and preying on some of the countys newest residents.
A growing number of Hispanic immigrants have found work here, lured by the apple orchards, the booming construction market and the thoroughbred racing industry at the Charles Town Races & Slots. Often, though, they arrive alone and friendless a situation the gang can use.
Theyre recruiting everywhere. Theyre looking for people who dont belong, Boober says. The bad thing is, once you join, you cant unjoin.
Although gang activity is not pervasive, Boober says there are subtle signs: MS graffiti on buildings. Clothing emblazoned with 13, XIII or MS. Teens at Jefferson High School weaving red bandannas through belt loops.
Its very quiet. Its below the top of the water. But we know its there, the sheriff says. To say that they are not present in our community is putting your head in the sand.
Former Modesto, Calif., police Officer Jared Lewis says MS-13 markets the gang as a way to embrace Latin American heritage. Parents who are unfamiliar with American teens customs might not recognize whats happening, mistakenly believing their children are just learning to fit in.
They think all kids throw hand signs, all kids wear colors, all kids write these symbols on their books, says Lewis, director of Wisconsin-based Know Gangs, a group of consultants that educates law enforcement, teachers and social workers. But I dont know of any culture Mexican, Irish, African-American, Polish, whatever that gang membership is part of the heritage.
In April, an FBI official testified before Congress about MS-13, whose members also come from Honduras and Guatemala. Three members of the Los Angeles crew moved to the Northern Virginia-D.C. area in 1993 to recruit, and, by this past spring, there were 1,500 members.
It appears that the MS-13 is still a loosely structured street gang, Chris Swecker, assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division, says in the transcript of his testimony posted on the FBIs Web site. However, its threat is based on its violence and its potential to grow, not only geographically, but in its organization and sophistication.
Later this month, Thomas E. Johnston, U.S. attorney for West Virginias Northern District, will hold a training session for local law enforcement agencies. Officers must learn to protect themselves and their communities as the gang presence grows.
I view this as something thats possibly on the horizon, Johnston says, and certainly a potential threat worth preparing for.
Anyone who watches television or reads a newspaper knows that law enforcement in the Eastern Panhandle is not growing in proportion to the population it serves.
The State Police has just 62 officers, including commanders, to cover seven counties every day.
The Jefferson County Sheriffs Department might have only two or three deputies to cover weekend shifts.
Were trying to be as proactive as we can, and hopefully we can keep it from growing or from even setting roots here, says Blair, of the State Police. We dont want it and we dont need it. But with the limited resources and manpower we have, its hard.
Lewis says West Virginia should take MS-13 seriously, regardless of how benign it now seems.
There is this perception that because theyre not out there carrying guns and shooting people every day, that theyre different from other gangs, he says.
But they arent.
If that kid is interested in gangs, thats an interest in drugs. Thats an interest in violence. Thats an interest in victimizing the weak. If that interest is there, thats a problem, Lewis says. Its just a matter of how long it takes interest to turn to action.
bump and PING!
I am often listening to WMAL and I can't stress enough that your town MAY BE Next! I saw the nasty gang influence in CA and I see it starting on the east coast too.
They have a large group on Long Island, NY.
Provided everyone keeps blindly voting for the quislings. It's not going to change at all until people start voting outside the coloring lines, so to speak.
Most Americans have no idea just how corrupt this group will be once they get the numbers in their favor. American Californians will have to fight these people in the streets in the coming decades.
We really should have closed the borders twenty years ago.
Now what do we do?
As with all things West Virginia, the gang will henceforth be known as "The Robert C. Byrd MS-13 Gang"
Close the borders. That way if we deport these scum, they'll have a much harder time getting back in.
(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,
You've hit upon the cure. Just put B Daddy Byrd as head of the gangs, call a summit, and just let him talk. The gangs will be asleep in no time, too tired to go out and commit crimes.
In this neighborhood, the homes have shot up in value, due to the influx of people getting away from the "cosmopolitan" capitol of our country.
Where once a farm stood, there are housing developments, with schools, and all the acoutrements, necessary. Shopping centers are blossoming like mushrooms, and highways are being built, or reconstructed, with extra lanes.
It's easy to drive here now, with I-70 bringing folk out from DC/Rockville, and Rts 9/7/66 streaming from the VA side. The bloomery is just a short drive west of Winchester, VA, on Rt. 50. You pass through Middleburg, on the way. Near there, a few years ago, I was driving east, and noticed a Boing 727 rising out of the trees, just a short distance off the road. I found out the Paul Mellon (Mellon Bank, etc) kept it there, in spite of the fact that he is only ten miles from Dules.
The 'foreign' influence is pervasive (non-WVians). Prospering black families are escaping the cities (not realizing this is Robert Byrds homeplace, and that epithet is still used liberally here), and other-than-English speaking peoples are multiplying.
Shenandoah University has a large Chinese contingent. All fo the local schools are trying to educate spanish, non-english speaking, students. My next door neighbor is a Singh. Most of these students, and immigrants are here legally.
My new home is being constructed underground, and will have roll-up steel covers for all openings. I expend a lot of lead practicing on targets. I'm not an alarmist, just a Boy Scout.
The influx of illegals is everywhere. Nothing is being done to stop it. It's Bush's fault!
Can't be. This stuff only goes on in Iraq! And it's all Bush's fault.