Big and Dangerous Gang Business Growing
By Michael Webster: Investigative Reporter Aug 11, 2008 12:01 AM PDT
United States gangs are expanding their sphere of influence here and around the world. Many gangs are much more sophisticated now days and are run much like military units and corporations and therefore are much more of a threat to law enforcement as well as citizens.
U.S. gangs have forged illegal business connections with other gangs in the states as well as in Mexico and Afghanistan seeking more lucrative drug markets.
These alliances make them much more dangerous and this organization is much more threatening. Many of the American gangs buy or are fronted drugs from the new alliances from as far away as Afghanistan where drug trades and whole selling take place. This proliferation and gangs adoption of terrorist tactic’s is worldwide and is increasingly accompanied by beheadings, shootings, kidnappings and other extreme violence and is threatening society in general.
It is estimated that there are 25,000 or more gangs currently operating in the U.S. and more than 1,000.000 active gang members. Most current gang members in the U.S. are believed to possess automatic AK 47’s, shot guns, hand guns, other weapons such as explosives and police report confiscating more and more bullet proof vests. Gangs conduct all sorts of criminal activity in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Mexico, South America, Afghanistan and else where. Although most gang activity is concentrated in major urban areas, gangs also are proliferating in rural and suburban areas of the country.
Operation Community Shield that was begun in February 2005 to dismantle street gangs is hard at work but many feel it’s been a losing battle. The Department of Homeland Security said the program had led to about 7,500 arrests involving violent gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, whose members are from El Salvador, Honduras and other Central American countries.
About 1,300 violent gang members who are in this country illegally were arrested in the last couple of years in U.S. Government crackdowns, federal officials announced. “We’ve arrested quite a number of very serious criminals - individuals who frankly have worn out their welcome by coming into this country illegally and committing more crimes when they got here,” said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of homeland security for immigration and customs enforcement.
Large street gangs readily employ violence to control and expand drug, gun, prostitution and other illegal activities, targeting rival gangs and dealers who neglect or refuse to pay extortion fees. Members also use violence to ensure that members adhere to the gang's code of conduct or to prevent a member from leaving. Authorities throughout the country report that gangs are responsible for most of the serious violent crime in the major cities of the U.S. Gangs engage in an array of criminal activities including torturing, assault, burglary, drive-by shooting, extortion, homicide, identification fraud, money laundering, prostitution operations, robbery, sale of stolen property, and weapons trafficking.
Street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs), and prison gangs are the primary distributors of illegal drugs on the streets of the United States. Gangs also smuggle drugs into the United States and produce and transport drugs within the country.
U.S. gangs are now working hand in hand with Mexican cartel gangs, according to a DEA official who wants to remain anonymous.
Street gang members convert powdered cocaine into crack cocaine and produce most of the PCP available in the United States. Gangs, primarily produce marijuana and methamphetamine. In addition, gangs increasingly are involved in smuggling large quantities of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA (also known as ecstasy a sex drug) into the United States from foreign sources of supply.
Gangs primarily transport and distribute powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, MDMA, and PCP in the United States. And that illegal activity generates millions of dollars for the gangs and their members.
Gangs collect millions of dollars per month selling illegal drugs, trafficking weapons, operating prostitution rings, producing porno films and selling stolen property. Gangs launder proceeds by investing in real estate, recording studios, motorcycle shops, car washes and construction companies. They also operate various cash-based businesses, such as porno shops, porno movie houses, barbershops, music stores, restaurants, catering services, tattoo parlors, launder mats, donut shops, and strip clubs, in order to commingle drug proceeds with funds generated through legitimate commerce.
A motorcycle gang with the name of Set Free Soldiers who claim to be Christian bikers have describe themselves as "a group of men who love Jesus and love to ride hard. We are not your normal motorcycle club. Some say we are too good for the bad guys, and too bad for the good guys." Click on or Google: Christian Bikers Busted for Murder
"We don't argue that," the statement says. "All we Soldiers know is that we take care of our own and help plenty of others along the way. We try to live right in this wrong world and let our light shine wherever we may go."
This violent gang sells videos of the group in action, including some showing members in fistfights with other people, their web site offers apparel for sale. An onesie for babies with the words "Soldier Made" written on the front in faux alphabet blocks.
Recently several members of the Set Free Soldiers where arrested for attempted murder after they allegedly got into a bar fight with the Hells Angels. Seven members of the biker gang remained in custody on million bail after their arrest for allegedly stabbing two Hells angels. In what is mostly thought of as an upper middle class naborhood in Newport Beach California late last month. Three members of the Hells Angels were also arrested.
According to the L A Times, more than 150 officers descended on affluent neighborhoods across Orange County California, serving search and arrest warrants on members of the Christian gang and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, police said. Four search warrants were served at four homes in the 300 block of South Archer Street, near Brookhurst Street and Broadway, belonging to members of the Set Free Soldiers – a biker gang allegedly masquerading as a church, said Anaheim police Sgt. Tim Schmidt.
Authorities obtained search warrants for residences of members of both motorcycle gangs, including two residences in Costa Mesa, one in Rancho Santa Margarita and four in Anaheim, said Newport Beach police Sgt. Evan Sailor. A large number of weapons and ammunition were seized in Anaheim and Costa Mesa, he said.
Overall in the case, 10 have been arrested, with police hunting for an 11th suspect, authorities said. Of these 10, seven are Set Free Soldiers arrested for alleged conspiracy to commit murder; one of them is Pastor Phil Aguilar, 60, of Anaheim, police said. He is described as the founder and director of Set Free Churches Worldwide, according to the group's Web site.
The stabbings, which officials believe involved members of the two motorcycle gangs, occurred the afternoon of Sunday, July 27, at Blackie's By the Sea, near the Newport Beach pier, Newport Beach police Sgt. Evan Sailor said.
Newport Beach officers responded to the large fight, but everyone had fled the scene, Sailor said.
Police said they determined that those in the fight were members of the Hells Angels and Set Free Soldiers. Sailor said it appears that the two stabbing victims were Hells Angels and a man hit by a pool ball was a Set Free Soldier.
A neighbor to one of the Archer houses with Set Free Soldiers said that the group has been a nuisance. Having young girls there all hours of the day and night."
The neighborhood has been trying to get them out of here for years," said Sharon Murphy, 50. "It's supposed to be a sober-living place, but they're always at the liquor store buying beer. They're running their motorcycles all night long. They own three or four houses up and down the street."
Officers arrived at 4:30 a.m. Patrol officers blocked off streets, and SWAT team members were fully outfitted – some police in camouflage and helmets rode hanging off of the sides of Anaheim police tactical vehicles and Jeeps.
By 8:30 a.m., patrol officers started letting residents of the block back in, and tow trucks arrived at around 9 a.m. to start seizing property.
Officers from Anaheim, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and the Orange County Sheriff's Department assisted in the operation.