Monday, November 17, 2008

The New Face of Organized Crime?

Over time, some street gangs fade into obscurity.

MS-13 isn’t one of those.

The notorious Latin American gang has been around since the 1980s, and now some are calling them the new face of organized crime.

“These guys don’t have regular jobs. They don’t have alarm clocks. They don’t wake up and work hard like 95 percent of America. They are out there ripping off people and hurting people,” Deputy Alfredo Perez of the U.S. Marshals said.

On November 1, in a Washington, D.C. suburb called Silver Spring, three MS-13 gang members allegedly fired into a bus. Three teen passengers were hit. One of them, 14-year-old honor student Tai Lam, died. The story made headlines for days.

Police arrested the alleged shooter, Hector Hernandez, last week. But his fellow gang members, Gilmar Leonardo Romero and Mario Ernesto Milan-Canales, were on the run.

That is, until they were arrested Thursday morning in Houston.

“Just old-fashioned police work. We looked at the area where these gang members congregate and just set up surveillance,” Perez said.

Undercover investigators with the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force spotted Romero and Milan-Canales getting on a Metro bus at Fulton and Cavalcade.

“Those two individuals were the only passengers on the bus, and we effectively and safely took them into custody,” Perez said.

Hernandez is being held without bond in Silver Spring, because the government says he’s in the country illegally.

It’s unclear if Romero and Milan-Canales are illegal immigrants, too. But the U.S. Marshals Office said one thing was clear: MS-13 gang members in Houston were giving them room and board while they hid from the law.

Thanks to Jeff McShan

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