Cross-border gangs play a unique role in the illicit transfer of people and goods across the southwest border. According to law enforcement reporting. Mexican cartels utilize US gangs to smuggle drugs and illegal aliens northbound. and smuggle cash. stolen automobiles. and weapons southbound. US gangs often freelance their work and seek profit-making opportunities with multiple cartels.
A chart from November 2011 depicting members of the Mexican Mafia compiled by the Institutional Gang Investigators at Pelican Bay State Prison, California State Prison – Corcoran and San Quentin.
The purpose of this assessment is to provide an overview of the international activities of the MS-13 criminal organization. The report is the result of the analysis of arrest records, law enforcement reports, deportation records, interviews, and observations conducted by members of the MS-13 National Gang Task Force (NGTF) regarding documented MS-13 members in the United States; Chiapas, Mexico; El Salvador; and Honduras. Violent MS-13 members have crossed international boundaries and key members have documented links between the United States and the countries addressed in this assessment.
Infiltration of any law enforcement agency by a gang member can have severe ramifications for the agency involved, its employees, the public it serves, and its allied agencies. Gangs employ various tactics to include infiltrating an agency directly or indirectly, to achieve their objective; to counter this threat, law enforcement must remain cognizant of and employ mitigation strategies. Gangs’ motivations for infiltrating agencies vary; thus law enforcement must remain cognizant of suspicious employee behavior, identify possible motivations for infiltration, and employ mitigation strategies to counter infiltration threats.
As of June 2010, MS-13 members in Los Angeles have directed operational activities of new MS-13 members in Birmingham, United Kingdom, using gaming consoles such as Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox 360. The MS-13 leaders appear to be taking advantage of the devices’ voice over internet protocol (VOIP), text chat, virtual world, and video teleconferencing features, which allow them to communicate with fellow gang members overseas.
The San Diego Law Enforcement Center (SD-LECC) convened an analytical task force in Spring 2010 to address the question: “What does cross-border kidnapping in San Diego look like?” Intelligence Analysts from Chula Vista Police Department, San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis analyzed statistical, investigative and open source intelligence from local law enforcement agencies, FBI, DHS, ICE, CBP, DEA and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs to prepare this assessment. There is strong evidence—based on intelligence gathered from traditional and alternative sources, such as banks, hospitals, citizen interviews, wiretaps and private consulting firms—that kidnappings in the San Diego area are widely underreported. Consequently, this assessment offers a strategic baseline only; there is insufficient data to support a definitive study of cross-border kidnapping tactics and techniques. This assessment is intended to support law enforcement executives and practitioners in their efforts to collect additional information and combat this problem.
On May 8, 2010, a Spanish-language flyer was placed on a vehicle in Brownsville, Texas, warning that the upcoming weekend of May 15-17, 2010, would be one of the “most violent weekends in all of Mexican history” as members of an unidentified drug trafficking organization allegedly plan to battle an unspecified rival criminal organization.
The Barrio Azteca was organized in the El Paso, Texas, County Jail in 1987 from where it moved to the streets and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system. The Barrio Azteca prison gang – which has chapters in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico – has historically been linked to the Juarez Cartel. Barrio Azteca membership is estimated at 3,500 inside and outside of the prison system. Members have been reported in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Idaho, Washington, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Utah. They participate in enforcing the rules of the Juarez Cartel in El Paso, Texas, and southern New Mexico.
This book is a compilation of various gang intelligence information from various sources including detective and police officer files, primarily confiscated from arrested and/or incarcerated individual gang notes and drawings. Additional material was obtained from other law enforcement agencies’ publications and presentations used for internal officer training, as well as from various other gang publications and internet sources. Six major New York City gangs are presented in this book: the Bloods, the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, the Netas, the Crips, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), and the Mexican Gangs. Sections within this book include the origin and history of the gang, its structure, rules and regulations, oaths and pledges, symbols and emblems, coded language and hand signals, clothing, tattoos and graffiti. It is our hope that an officer’s knowledge of gang characteristics will assist in combating gang-motivated crimes and reduce the propensity for violence towards the law enforcement community and innocent citizens.
Historically, Hispanic gangs north of the dividing line have claimed allegiance to the Nortenos and those to the south claimed allegiance to the Surenos. All California Hispanic criminal street gangs claim allegiance to the Nortenos or Surenos, with the exception of the Fresno Bulldogs. Whether it’s on the streets or in the correctional facilities, the Fresno Bulldogs function independently and do not align themselves with Nortenos or Surenos. The Fresno Bulldogs are a unique California based gang that has the power, strength and a large enough membership to stand on its own and remain free from the politics of the Nortenos and Surenos. All other Hispanic criminal street gangs are forced to choose a side whether they want to join in or not.
Gulf Coast High Impact Drug Trafficking Area Law Enforcement Sensitive Guide to Identifying Mexican Gang Tattoos.