See also US Federal International Crime Threat Assessment.
All links were found via Altavista. Every link you see is a different link to a different page, of varying degrees of "officialness".
Please see the site of the National Alliance of Gang Investigators.
and now for some opinion...
WJLA-TV 7 (Washington DC) I-Team, a local-news special investigative team, reported on their 11:00 PM broadcast of 18 FEB 1997 that the region is suffering an "Illegal Alien Gang Invasion".
Youth gangs have been a rapidly increasing problem in local jurisdictions. Regional law-enforcement authorities have reported a surge in the numbers of local gangs. The number of youth gangs has reportedly risen to approximately 250 gangs throughout the entire Washington Metropolitan area, doubling the number of active gangs in the region over the last two years. Suburban youth-gangs in this region are largely ethnic, and often are composed exclusively of youths of specific former nationalities. Did I say "former nationalities"? Increasingly, say local police, these gangs and their leadership are illegal aliens.
Their goal? According to local authorities, "come to America, make money, go home a millionaire or die trying".
Federal undercover operations taped one young man of perhaps 20 years, who spoke very good if slang-riddled english, buying guns from the undercover officers, and paying with a fairly immense bag of drugs. This man and many others have been linked to a primarily-Salvadoran gang called "Mara Salvatrucha". Publicly-released details are sketchy, but it seems that there is a very well-established pipeline overland from El Salvador through Mexico to Los Angeles, and now the Mara Salvatruca or MS is establishing footholds in this area. One officer with the Arlington (Virginia) police department, Rick Rodriguez, was not pleased with this development. He indicated that these MS gangstas were an immense problem simply because they are not afraid of jail, are not afraid of dying, have no respect for their own lives or the lives of others, in fact, they just don't care.
Last October, Federal operations discovered a fairly large network of illegal-alien foreign gangsters attempting to trade illicitly for guns with food-stamps, drugs, and sex.
Local authorities are co-ordinating to investigate this problem.
[ note: as of 20 February 1997, President Bill Clinton announced some $200 to $500 million should be devoted to combating youth-gangs.
Foreign gangsters penetrating to the suburbs of the National Capital and setting up internal organizational lines, operating undercover, and selling dope, sex and probably blackmail and terror to co-op any potential adversaries, all the while aggressively acquiring arms? this is simply intolerable. This should be viewed as a directed and aggressive armed insurgency.
Short takes of film broadcast during this segment convey the impression that these people have lots of money due to their activities, and are plowing that money into acquiring the necessary tools of an insurgency - late-model vehicles; semi-automatic and possibly automatic weapons; cash operating-resources; networks of allied or compromised disaffected "locals" (who may or may not be citizens; one may infer from statements within this report that individuals associated with these gangs speak very good english, and represent themselves as US citizens but cannot produce any documentation as proof, not even to the courts) who know the region, local residents and businesses well; and are almost certainly using the standard police-evading technologies already favored by the local "actually citizens" drug-dealers - aliased pagers, chip-altered and code-stolen cellular phones, and secure encrypted frequency-hopping telecom of the Sprint Spectrum type. All of this while in Washington DC itself, the government is on the verge of collapse and festers resentfully under "Federally-imposed oversight" and the police are limited to ancient analog communications if their cars have working radios at all. One can easily presume that these increasingly-organized and sophisticated armed alien gangsters have acquired scanners and constantly monitor police frequencies and forward anti-cop intelligence to their boys in the hood, via untraceable/untappable Sprint-type telecom. [ judging from the anti-sovereignity/pro-gangsta sentiments expressed by "Joe the Troll" see http://earthops.net/klaatu/troll_aliases.html for a list of rapidly-changing aliases for archival-search strings) these guys may even have an Internet Propaganda wing. ]
It seems that these people are all young folks who (if from El Salavador, Honduras, or Nicaragua) grew up under conditions of ongoing civil war characterized by death-squad repressions, intrusive informants, active intrigues of intelligence and counter-intelligence, and are almost certainly familiar with military weapons, tactics and are indeed probably as experienced in small-scale war as were our own Vietnam Veterans when they were the same age. But these persons are not fighting for honor and country (we hope!) they are simply arming themselves in preparation for being an unstoppable force for social destruction in the form of increased gang violence, predictably extortions of local ethnic shopkeepers and smallholders perceived as compromised by their own ethnic, minority, or immigration status, and we will assuredly see floods of cheap potent poisons being distributed into ever-younger segments of the local schools. It is well understood that gangs aggressively recruit very young teenagers as they are after all almost totally immune to criminal prosecution except for murder, come and go almost unrestrictedly and unsupervisably in many cases and thus make ideal operatives.
To summarize briefly, "we got big problems here". In this matter if in no other, support your local police and any other agencies of resistance to this penetration and entrenchment in the suburbs of your Nation's Capital, by violent drug-dealing illegal-alien gangs.
[ If I am grossly overreacting, better too much too soon rather than too little too late. Call your local reps in government at all levels and raise hell. ]
Fairfax, Virginia - In this not-so-sleepy town roughly fifteen miles away from Washington, DC, local authorities have identified at least 22 youth-gangs operating in Fairfax County, of whichthe City of Fairfax is the county seat.
Based on reports from police officers stationed at the schools, monitoring of graffitti, and scrutiny of clothing for gang insignia, the Fairfax County authorities have created a database of some 1,000 individuals believed to be associated with, or known to be members of, local gangs.
While many of the "gangs" appear to be comparatively disorganized associations of local teenagers, the gangs are reportedly most popular among immigrant youths struggling to adjust to American society, according to Lt. Michael George, a supervisor of the gang unit. (As reported in the Washington Post, 20 Sept. 1997 - page C3.)
Across the river, on the other side of Washington, DC, lies Montgomery County, Maryland, which is reportedly home to a mere 18 known youth gangs. Exact numbers were not available for Prince George's County, Maryland, the other Maryland County bordering on the District.
It should be noted that while some of the "suburban" youth-gangs' members are indeed as violent or hardcore as some of their inner-city rivals, for the most part the crimes in which the youths are involved tend to be lower-key and less violent on the whole. The Post quotes one Dewey G. Cornell, head of the Virginia Youth Violence Project at the University of Virginia as saying, "People have an image of a gang member that's ... very extreme ... What they don't realize is that many of the gang members are 15 or 16 years old and they attend school. Although they are not hardened criminals, they are committing crimes. They can be found in all the school systems, all the detention centers and in all parts of the state."
Since 1993, only four homicides in Fairfax County have occurred which are considered definitively gang-related... but Fairfax is a one of Virginia's most affluent counties, located directly west of Washington, across the Potomac River. Authorities note that gangs are much more prevalent in the closer-in jurisdictions which lie to the east of Fairfax, among which are Alexandria and Arlington. Where Fairfax Couny is largely semi-rural, given over mostly to single-unit dwellings, the immense multiblocks of apartments closer to the river have long been a breeding-ground for crime, and have in recent years come to be largely occupied by immigrant families to the extent that American-born children of foreign-born parents arrive in school unable to speak any English at all. Such cultural enclaves breed estrangement and insularity, and when school children are suddenly thrust into a strange world of people whose ways are so different, many adapt by increasing their insularity, their cliquishness. It's not surprising that insular cliques should come into confrontation with other insular cliques, and this often leads to gang formation.
Some other interesting links as pertain to youth-gangs.