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MS-13, Vatos Locos, 18th Street

Guest Jose M.

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I want to call attention to the increasing gang violence in Silver Spring and parts of Adam's Morgan. Since I am what is defined as a Latin American, my voice is currently not heard by our leaders. People think that since I am a lower income Latin American that I should be used to having murderers in my neighborhood. I have been told by law enforcement that we all look the same. I am writing to tell you that I am a legal hard working American that likes McDonalds and XBox like everyone else. I currently going to Montgomery College to get a business degree.


For those of you that do not know, MS-13 activity is prevalent all around Washington and is particularly high in in the Maryland Suburbia. MS-13 members operate in smaller, tighter groups called cliques, committing brutal murders, burglaries, car-jackings, robberies, extortion, rapes, robberies, and machete attacks. MS-13 is not dissimilar to larger-scale criminal organizations. The FBI and other law enforcement are beginning to approach combating MS-13 as a criminal enterprise with a distinct leadership and command structure. But local enforcement do not have a clue on how to deal with this problem.


MS-13 is not the only gang operating in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. You can see by the graffitti that there is gang activity by other Latino gangs such as MS-13's rival, 18th Street, as well as by the Vatos Locos. However, at the June 1, 2006 Gang Summit organized by the Maryland Governor's office, it was announced that, in the past year, MS-13 activity had declined and the number of Crips and Bloods gangs as well as mixed-race gangs had increased. The real truth is these gangs are simply becoming more difficult to track and they do understand the power of the Internet.


Maryland law enforcement agencies have seen an increase in gang activity in the past year, particularly in areas such as Langley Park, and my neighborhood in Silver Spring. At the same time, law enforcement has seen gang activity spread out throughout the area, while strengthening in the densely populated areas. Similarly, federal agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have noted an increase in gang violence in Montgomery County by gang members residing in Northern Virginia. Some attribute this increase in gang activity in Maryland to the effectiveness of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. But, I say no to that.


Until Latino Americans are treated like everyone else, law enforcement will fail. Police officers should understand Spanish fluently, so they can get their facts straight. Finally, law enforcement should learn to respect hard working individuals regardless of their race or income level.


Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have the chance spread the word.

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  • 4 years later...
Guest alivenow

ms13 alive and kicking at s grand view st/james m wood in los angeles. numbers in 15 recruits from 14 and up to 28. they might be a copy cat using the ms name. only the ms would know.

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