Gangfighters Weblog

March 11, 2011

Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members

View this document in ProQuest

Abstract (summary)

Communities everywhere have experienced the negative effects of street gangs. Gang activity in the form of crime and violence has had a devastating effect on the lives of citizens and the safety of our communities. The presence of military-trained gang members (MTGMs) in the community increases the threat of violence to citizens. The problem addressed in this quantitative correlational research study was the apparently growing presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities. The purpose of the study was to more closely examine the nexus between the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and the perceptions of gang investigators regarding the presence and the size of their jurisdictions, the proximity of their jurisdictions to a military installation, and the extent to which investigators participate in anti-gang activities. An online survey, the Military Gang Perception Questionnaire (MGPQ), was created to collect responses from the 260 active members of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association (TNGIA). The electronic distribution of the survey was facilitated by Google Documents. A sample size calculation was computed for a multiple regression analysis involving seven predictors, a significance level of .05, a power of 80%, and a medium effect size (f 2 =0.15). That power analysis indicated that N =103 was sufficient to detect this size of effect. The statistical analyses used to test the hypotheses in this study were Pearson and Spearman Correlation Coefficients, independent means t tests, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression analysis. Many of the 119 respondents felt anti-gang prohibitions would limit the activity of MTGMs. Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions were MTGMs. The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were the gangs most represented. There was a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.24, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and jurisdiction size. There was also a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.28, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and the distance from the nearest military installation (computed). Recommendations included that military leadership should conduct cumulative tracking and analysis of gang threats, and apply an all-hands approach to identifying gang members in the military. When an installation shows a decrease in gang-related activity, solutions that led to the decrease should be identified. Military leadership should identify and examine all suspected military gang members and policy makers should identify gangs and related groups as Security Threat Groups.

Indexing (details)

Subjects Criminology, Public policy, Military studies
Classification 0627: Criminology, 0630: Public policy, 0750: Military studies
Identifiers / Keywords Social sciences, Gangs, Street gangs, Military, Armed forces, Gang members, Military-trained
Title Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members
Authors Smith, Carter F.
Publication title ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Number of pages 202
Publication year 2010
Publication Date 2010
Year 2010
Section 1443
ISBN 9781124391373
Advisor House, John
School Northcentral University
School location United States — Arizona
Degree Ph.D.
Source type Dissertations & Theses
Language of Publication English; EN
Document Type Dissertation/Thesis
Publication / Order Number 3437991
ProQuest Document ID 845233422
Document URL http://rap.ocls.ca/ra/login?url=/docview/845233422
Copyright Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2010
Last Updated 2011-01-27
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November 30, 2010

Perceptions of gang investigators regarding presence of military trained gang members

The problem addressed was the presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities. The purpose was to determine the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and to examine whether there was a relationship between the perceptions of gang investigators regarding that presence and the size of their jurisdictions, proximity of jurisdictions to military installations, and extent to which investigators participated in anti-gang activities.

The Military Gang Perception Questionnaire collected responses from the 260 active members of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association. Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions had military training. The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs, and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were most represented.

There was a statistically significant positive correlation between MTGM presence percent score and jurisdiction size. There was also a statistically significant positive correlation between MTGM presence percent score and the distance from the nearest military installation (computed).

Recommendations included that military leadership conduct cumulative tracking and analysis, and apply an all-hands approach to identifying gang members in the military. When there is a decrease in gang-related activity, solutions should be identified. Military leadership should examine all suspected gang members and policy makers should identify gangs and related groups as Security Threat Groups.

August 10, 2009

Upcoming presentations at the National Gang Crime Research Center

Filed under: air force, armed forces, army, coast guard, expert, marines, military, msta, navy, ngcrc, technology — carterfsmith @ 3:06 pm

Gangs and the Military: What’s the Problem? Why is it a Problem? What’s the solution?

Contemporary gangs have been strategically infiltrating military communities around the world since the late 1980’s. When gang members are allowed to join the military (armed forces, air force, army, navy, marines, coast guard), they are treated just like other service members – no debriefings, no watch list, and no warnings to local military law enforcement. Is “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell” the right policy for gangs in the military? How can we ensure gang members are not able to use military urban warfare tactics on our city streets?

This session will provide an overview of the issues associated with the enlistment of past and present gang members in the U.S. Armed Forces and provide recommendations for local, state and federal law enforcement and communities. We will examine the myths and truths associated with dual (gang and military) service, and discuss recommendations for the communities where these individuals go after they are discharged.

A Threat Analysis of MSTA: Gang, STG, Hate Group, Organized Crime — And More

The MSTA has been identified on the top three list of Islamic gangs/STGs operating in the USA. Most police encounter them as a gang, but some of their operations have all the earmarks of organized rime. Most in corrections regard them as a local security threat group, but they have been evolving into a national organization. Most in academia regard them as a cult or deviant spiritual group, but their “MSTA university” sells college courses to their prison inmate members today. Come and learn about the MSTA and how it operates in your jurisdiction.

Gangs and Hi-Tech Communication: How Gang Members Can and Will Communicate Using Tomorrow’s Technology

The younger generation in our country cannot remember life without cell phones, CD’s or an email address, and many don’t even use CD’s and email anymore. Many gang members are a part of this generation. Do we know how they communicate? As gangs evolve, they take on more of a business model than they had when they started. How does this affect the way we should investigate them? Do we include the right information on our search warrants? Do we know what our crime labs are capable of finding? In this session, we will review the past, examine the present, and look into the future to see how gangs make contact with each other, what they can talk about without us knowing, and why we need to know how to intercept or at least discover what was said after the fact.

How to Qualify and Testify as an Expert Witness on Gangs

In this session, you will learn the mechanics of how to become an expert witness in gang crime investigation cases. You will learn how to provide an expert opinion on matters such as gang identification, the relevance of gang threats, gang motivation, gang rivalries, and gang trends. You will learn a number of important “do’s” and “don’ts” about expertise from the prosecution perspective, and will see some of the strategies of defense. Whether in court or not, there are many ways to strengthen your credibility and expertise – this session may be the first step in that direction.

Schedule here.

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June 13, 2009

Gangs in the Military (armed forces, air force, army, navy, marines, coast guard) presentation

Filed under: air force, armed forces, army, gangs, gangs in the military, marines, navy, presentations — carterfsmith @ 12:51 pm

May 14, 2009

Conspiracy involving gang yields 40 arrests

Filed under: army, gangs, gangs in the military, marines, navy — carterfsmith @ 5:32 pm

Credit union lost $500,000 in scheme

Originally published 2:00 a.m. May 14, 2009, updated 10:32 a.m., May 14, 2009

Depositing counterfeit checks and withdrawing the cash before banks discover they are fake is a common crime that happens several times a day in San Diego County.

But having a street gang behind a conspiracy that caused a credit union to lose $500,000 could be a first in state history.

State and federal law enforcement officials made that announcement yesterday morning with the arrests of 40 people in the check-cashing scheme, including some active members of the military. Twenty more people are being sought.

“This is the first time a violent street gang has been targeted for its involvement in complex bank fraud in California,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “It clearly shows gangs are moving from street corner drug dealing and pimping to complex fraud.”

Of the 60 suspects who have been identified, 16 are documented members of a gang that claims San Diego’s Lincoln Park neighborhood as its territory, authorities said.

Many of the defendants are not in the military but are somehow affiliated, either by working on a base or through a relative. That gave them membership to Navy Federal Credit Union, which absorbed the losses.

Three members of the Marines, one member of the Army and one member of the Navy have been identified as suspects. Two have been arrested.

During a news conference, Dumanis explained that gang members would create a fraudulent check and then have a credit union member deposit it into his or her account. The member would then travel to Barona Casino and withdraw the money before the credit union could determine that the check was counterfeit.

The checks ranged from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, and the account holder would receive a commission of several hundred dollars.

When Navy Federal contacted the credit union member about the fraud, the account holder would say that his or her identity had been stolen and would sign an affidavit swearing to that. The credit union would then absorb the loss.

Gang members also were indicted in a mortgage-fraud scheme last month. Dumanis noted the trend of gangs getting into more sophisticated crime and vowed to prosecute them.

The credit union fraud started in 2005 and was used to pay for luxuries such as new cars, clothing and jewelry, San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said. Authorities do not believe the money was used to finance more crime.

“This one was surprising to us,” Lansdowne said. “There was no financial plan in this. It was take it and use it.”

In 2008, an investigator at the credit union noticed a pattern among the transactions: Most of the people were similar ages, all of the withdrawals were made at Barona Casino and the checks looked alike, Deputy District Attorney Joan Stein said.

The credit union contacted the U.S. Secret Service, which started a 10-month investigation.

Authorities said Barona was used because the ATMs there, which are not owned by the credit union or the casino, allow much larger withdrawals.

The casino’s surveillance system played an important role in the investigation, Edwin “Thorpe” Romero, chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, said in a news release.

Some account holders admitted their role in the fraud, but gave agents incomplete names or nicknames to identify the ringleaders. The agents turned to San Diego police for help, and gang-unit detectives identified the leaders, Lansdowne said.

As law enforcement officers began interviewing people in December, the fraud stopped. Authorities also believe the equipment used to make the counterfeit checks was disposed of at that time.

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials spread out around the county to make arrests. Suspects were brought to the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot for processing.

Superior Court arraignments are scheduled to begin today. Account holders will probably be charged with fraud, a felony, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Because many of them have no criminal record, they will probably be sentenced, if convicted, to probation and ordered to pay back the credit union, said Stein, the prosecutor.

The implicated sailors are believed to be account holders.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service was involved in the investigation.

The ringleaders face maximum sentences of about 17 years in prison, Stein said.

Staff writer Dana Littlefield contributed to this report.

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/may/14/1m14gangbank234759-conspiracy-involving-gang-yield/

Conspiracy involving gang yields 40 arrests

Filed under: army, gangs, gangs in the military, marines, navy — carterfsmith @ 5:32 pm

Credit union lost $500,000 in scheme

Originally published 2:00 a.m. May 14, 2009, updated 10:32 a.m., May 14, 2009

Depositing counterfeit checks and withdrawing the cash before banks discover they are fake is a common crime that happens several times a day in San Diego County.

But having a street gang behind a conspiracy that caused a credit union to lose $500,000 could be a first in state history.

State and federal law enforcement officials made that announcement yesterday morning with the arrests of 40 people in the check-cashing scheme, including some active members of the military. Twenty more people are being sought.

“This is the first time a violent street gang has been targeted for its involvement in complex bank fraud in California,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “It clearly shows gangs are moving from street corner drug dealing and pimping to complex fraud.”

Of the 60 suspects who have been identified, 16 are documented members of a gang that claims San Diego’s Lincoln Park neighborhood as its territory, authorities said.

Many of the defendants are not in the military but are somehow affiliated, either by working on a base or through a relative. That gave them membership to Navy Federal Credit Union, which absorbed the losses.

Three members of the Marines, one member of the Army and one member of the Navy have been identified as suspects. Two have been arrested.

During a news conference, Dumanis explained that gang members would create a fraudulent check and then have a credit union member deposit it into his or her account. The member would then travel to Barona Casino and withdraw the money before the credit union could determine that the check was counterfeit.

The checks ranged from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, and the account holder would receive a commission of several hundred dollars.

When Navy Federal contacted the credit union member about the fraud, the account holder would say that his or her identity had been stolen and would sign an affidavit swearing to that. The credit union would then absorb the loss.

Gang members also were indicted in a mortgage-fraud scheme last month. Dumanis noted the trend of gangs getting into more sophisticated crime and vowed to prosecute them.

The credit union fraud started in 2005 and was used to pay for luxuries such as new cars, clothing and jewelry, San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said. Authorities do not believe the money was used to finance more crime.

“This one was surprising to us,” Lansdowne said. “There was no financial plan in this. It was take it and use it.”

In 2008, an investigator at the credit union noticed a pattern among the transactions: Most of the people were similar ages, all of the withdrawals were made at Barona Casino and the checks looked alike, Deputy District Attorney Joan Stein said.

The credit union contacted the U.S. Secret Service, which started a 10-month investigation.

Authorities said Barona was used because the ATMs there, which are not owned by the credit union or the casino, allow much larger withdrawals.

The casino’s surveillance system played an important role in the investigation, Edwin “Thorpe” Romero, chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, said in a news release.

Some account holders admitted their role in the fraud, but gave agents incomplete names or nicknames to identify the ringleaders. The agents turned to San Diego police for help, and gang-unit detectives identified the leaders, Lansdowne said.

As law enforcement officers began interviewing people in December, the fraud stopped. Authorities also believe the equipment used to make the counterfeit checks was disposed of at that time.

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials spread out around the county to make arrests. Suspects were brought to the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot for processing.

Superior Court arraignments are scheduled to begin today. Account holders will probably be charged with fraud, a felony, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Because many of them have no criminal record, they will probably be sentenced, if convicted, to probation and ordered to pay back the credit union, said Stein, the prosecutor.

The implicated sailors are believed to be account holders.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service was involved in the investigation.

The ringleaders face maximum sentences of about 17 years in prison, Stein said.

Staff writer Dana Littlefield contributed to this report.

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/may/14/1m14gangbank234759-conspiracy-involving-gang-yield/

November 10, 2008

Filed under: gangs, marines — carterfsmith @ 5:05 pm

Friends paint different picture of Kevin Cox, suspect in the murder of Brooklyn-born Marine

Updated Monday, November 10th 2008, 4:46 PM

One of the four Marines accused of brutally murdering their Brooklyn-raised sergeant and wife was described Monday by friends as “sweet” and “caring.”

They also described 20-year-old Pvt. Kevin Cox as a follower who was “very easily influenced.”

“I couldn’t see him doing anything like this on his own,” said Maurice McDavid, 20, a college football player who grew up with Cox in DeKalb, Ill. “In high school, they put him in classes with me to make sure he was staying out of trouble.”

RELATED: DA: NOBODY DESERVES DEATH LIKE THIS

Jamaine Armbruster, 19, a student at Cal State University in Northridge, Calif., said she dated Cox last year and was stunned when he was implicated in the murders of Sgt. Jan Pawel Pietrzak and his wife, Quiana.

“I’m totally shocked to find out Kevin had anything to do with something like this,” she said. “He was a sweet guy and very caring.”

Cox, who last lived in Tennessee, and three other Marines based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., were charged last week with breaking into the Pietrzak home on Oct. 15. They allegedly executed the newlyweds after torturing them and raping the bride repeatedly.

Investigators say the motive was robbery, but the victims’ families don’t believe it.

RELATED: CONFESSION IN MURDER, TORTURE OF MARINE

Pietrzak, 24, who was born in Poland and raised in Bensonhurst, and his 26-year-old wife, had been married for just two months when they were murdered.

Pvt. Emrys John, 18, was identified as the triggerman who killed the couple by shooting them in the back of their heads. “Chillin waitin 4 da killin,” was the caption under a photo he posted on his MySpace web site.

Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20, told investiagtors he bound and gagged the couple and then debated with John whether to kill them. Cops are checking whether Miller has ties to the violent Crips street gang.

Pvt. Kesuan Sykes, 21, is nicknamed “Psycho” and admitted that he “cut” off Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak’s clothes, the court papers state.

All of the suspects say that Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak was sexually assaulted, but each says it was the other three who did it, according to court records.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/11/10/2008-11-10_friends_paint_different_picture_of_kevin.html

Filed under: gangs, marines — carterfsmith @ 5:05 pm

Friends paint different picture of Kevin Cox, suspect in the murder of Brooklyn-born Marine

Updated Monday, November 10th 2008, 4:46 PM

One of the four Marines accused of brutally murdering their Brooklyn-raised sergeant and wife was described Monday by friends as “sweet” and “caring.”

They also described 20-year-old Pvt. Kevin Cox as a follower who was “very easily influenced.”

“I couldn’t see him doing anything like this on his own,” said Maurice McDavid, 20, a college football player who grew up with Cox in DeKalb, Ill. “In high school, they put him in classes with me to make sure he was staying out of trouble.”

RELATED: DA: NOBODY DESERVES DEATH LIKE THIS

Jamaine Armbruster, 19, a student at Cal State University in Northridge, Calif., said she dated Cox last year and was stunned when he was implicated in the murders of Sgt. Jan Pawel Pietrzak and his wife, Quiana.

“I’m totally shocked to find out Kevin had anything to do with something like this,” she said. “He was a sweet guy and very caring.”

Cox, who last lived in Tennessee, and three other Marines based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., were charged last week with breaking into the Pietrzak home on Oct. 15. They allegedly executed the newlyweds after torturing them and raping the bride repeatedly.

Investigators say the motive was robbery, but the victims’ families don’t believe it.

RELATED: CONFESSION IN MURDER, TORTURE OF MARINE

Pietrzak, 24, who was born in Poland and raised in Bensonhurst, and his 26-year-old wife, had been married for just two months when they were murdered.

Pvt. Emrys John, 18, was identified as the triggerman who killed the couple by shooting them in the back of their heads. “Chillin waitin 4 da killin,” was the caption under a photo he posted on his MySpace web site.

Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20, told investiagtors he bound and gagged the couple and then debated with John whether to kill them. Cops are checking whether Miller has ties to the violent Crips street gang.

Pvt. Kesuan Sykes, 21, is nicknamed “Psycho” and admitted that he “cut” off Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak’s clothes, the court papers state.

All of the suspects say that Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak was sexually assaulted, but each says it was the other three who did it, according to court records.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/11/10/2008-11-10_friends_paint_different_picture_of_kevin.html

October 31, 2008

I-Team Investigates Gangs In The Military

Filed under: air force, gang member, gangs in the military, juwan johnson, marines — carterfsmith @ 9:16 am

Response: Dept. Of Defense


10News I-Team Investigates Gangs In The Military

POSTED: 4:10 pm PDT October 30, 2008
UPDATED: 6:14 am PDT October 31, 2008

They endure grueling tests of strength, are trained to kill, and pledge their absolute loyalty.”Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Mara Salvatrucha, 18th street, all the big ones are in,” says Carter Smith, an Army veteran who spent 22 years in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division.American street gangs have gone global, and increasingly, they’re in the service of Uncle Sam.”There are a lot of them out there, already in the ranks,” cautions Hunter Glass, a veteran and gang detective out of Nashville who now works as a consultant on gang behavior. The U.S. Air Force is among his clients.

Sailors, Marines, soldiers, even women, are flaunting their gang ties, while in uniform.”In the combat zone, they will support each other, but as soon as they are off the battle field, all bets are off,” says Glass.10News obtained video taken on base at Fort Bragg, which shows Bloods and Gangster Disciples on the dance floor. First they are throwing gang sings; then they throw punches.Glass spoke to the Army officer who took the video who was assaulted while taping it.”There is nothing glamorous about being a gang member, “Glass says. “It’s about money, it’s about profit.”He says gang members in the military have a sworn allegiance, not solely to the President of the United States, but to their gang set.

The initiations are brutal. 10News showed videotape of a jump-in, where gang members continuously beat a new recruit for six agonizing minutes. He has to take the beating. Once it’s over, the gangsters’ ritual includes a blessing over their newest member. Gangs in the military use the same initiation.

Carter Smith warns, “They’ll actually send people into the military to be recruiters in the military.”That’s what T.J. Leyden did while serving for 3 years as a Marine at Camp Pendleton. Reformed now, he was then a racist and a leader of a white power gang.”Everyone totally knew what I was doing,” says Leyden. “And I recruited 12 active members of the United States military to join a white supremacy group.”

It was a violent recruitment into a gang which cost Stephanie Cockrell her son, Army Sgt. Juwan Johnson.”What did I do? What should I have done? What happened? What went wrong?” she still asks herself.Juwan Johnson grew up on the tough streets of Baltimore. His mother warned him over the years to say away from the gangsters hanging out on the corner. She never thought to repeat that warning when he joined the U.S. Army.”

There are gangs here in the streets,” she says. “But in the military? I was in the military, I don’t remember a gang in the military!”She spent five years in the Army herself, and thought the experience would be a good one for her son. Sgt. Johnson spent 6 years in the Army and served 18 months in Iraq. His mom still watches the home video she took of him during a brief visit home.”Thank you, and I love you all,” he says on camera to his large extended family, during a family picnic.He had only two weeks left in the service when offers to join a gang swayed him. So he ended up in a park outside a base in Germany, where his life would end as he was “jumped in” to the Gangster Disciples. They beat him to death. Eleven soldiers and airmen took part.”And after they beat him to death, they took him back to the barracks, and they went out to clubs to dance,” exclaims Cockrell, with disbelief.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been a drain on the U.S. military, forcing relaxation of standards, “moral waivers”, to join. More service personnel have criminal records and gang ties than in years past.” My concern is when they get out,” adds Carter Smith.In the 1990’s, while working as an Army criminal intelligence officer, he was one of the first to uncover the growth of street gangs in the ranks. He says the general estimate is that about 1 percent of the U.S. Armed Forces are gang members, 13,000 to 14,000 of them, roughly the population of Solana Beach.”

They will have been trained to do lots of things from the basic support, logistics, and transportation, to the use of weapons,” he warns. According to the National Gang Intelligence Center and the Army Criminal Investigation Command, “Gang related activity in the U.S. military is increasing … posing a threat to law enforcement officials and national security.” The gang activity ranges from graffiti you can see in pictures from Iraq, to shootouts and murder much closer to home.”Crimes involving military soldiers have been on the rise, and violent crimes at that,” says Hunter Glass.In San Diego, an ex-Marine marksman, Nathanial Guillen, and active member of the Bloods, shot a rival gang member to death in La Mesa. He was found guilty of murder in 2006.In Northern California, a Camp Pendleton Marine and gang member named Andres Raya ambushed police with military tactics and a high power riffle, murdering police Sgt. Howard Stevenson. Raya was killed in the shoot out.

Those are only two examples.”They’re gang members at heart, they’re not going to be changing. It’s what they live for, what they believe,” says Glass.Officially, no branch of the service allows gangs. However, criminal courts are reducing felony charges to misdemeanors, allowing gangsters who promise to reform to join the military rather than go to prison.Glass adds, “Are they good in a fight? Yes that’s right, but when dog fighting becomes illegal, what do you do with the dogs?”

http://www.10news.com/news/17852021/detail.html

I-Team Investigates Gangs In The Military

Filed under: air force, gang member, gangs in the military, juwan johnson, marines — carterfsmith @ 9:16 am

Response: Dept. Of Defense


10News I-Team Investigates Gangs In The Military

POSTED: 4:10 pm PDT October 30, 2008
UPDATED: 6:14 am PDT October 31, 2008

They endure grueling tests of strength, are trained to kill, and pledge their absolute loyalty.”Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Mara Salvatrucha, 18th street, all the big ones are in,” says Carter Smith, an Army veteran who spent 22 years in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division.American street gangs have gone global, and increasingly, they’re in the service of Uncle Sam.”There are a lot of them out there, already in the ranks,” cautions Hunter Glass, a veteran and gang detective out of Nashville who now works as a consultant on gang behavior. The U.S. Air Force is among his clients.

Sailors, Marines, soldiers, even women, are flaunting their gang ties, while in uniform.”In the combat zone, they will support each other, but as soon as they are off the battle field, all bets are off,” says Glass.10News obtained video taken on base at Fort Bragg, which shows Bloods and Gangster Disciples on the dance floor. First they are throwing gang sings; then they throw punches.Glass spoke to the Army officer who took the video who was assaulted while taping it.”There is nothing glamorous about being a gang member, “Glass says. “It’s about money, it’s about profit.”He says gang members in the military have a sworn allegiance, not solely to the President of the United States, but to their gang set.

The initiations are brutal. 10News showed videotape of a jump-in, where gang members continuously beat a new recruit for six agonizing minutes. He has to take the beating. Once it’s over, the gangsters’ ritual includes a blessing over their newest member. Gangs in the military use the same initiation.

Carter Smith warns, “They’ll actually send people into the military to be recruiters in the military.”That’s what T.J. Leyden did while serving for 3 years as a Marine at Camp Pendleton. Reformed now, he was then a racist and a leader of a white power gang.”Everyone totally knew what I was doing,” says Leyden. “And I recruited 12 active members of the United States military to join a white supremacy group.”

It was a violent recruitment into a gang which cost Stephanie Cockrell her son, Army Sgt. Juwan Johnson.”What did I do? What should I have done? What happened? What went wrong?” she still asks herself.Juwan Johnson grew up on the tough streets of Baltimore. His mother warned him over the years to say away from the gangsters hanging out on the corner. She never thought to repeat that warning when he joined the U.S. Army.”

There are gangs here in the streets,” she says. “But in the military? I was in the military, I don’t remember a gang in the military!”She spent five years in the Army herself, and thought the experience would be a good one for her son. Sgt. Johnson spent 6 years in the Army and served 18 months in Iraq. His mom still watches the home video she took of him during a brief visit home.”Thank you, and I love you all,” he says on camera to his large extended family, during a family picnic.He had only two weeks left in the service when offers to join a gang swayed him. So he ended up in a park outside a base in Germany, where his life would end as he was “jumped in” to the Gangster Disciples. They beat him to death. Eleven soldiers and airmen took part.”And after they beat him to death, they took him back to the barracks, and they went out to clubs to dance,” exclaims Cockrell, with disbelief.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been a drain on the U.S. military, forcing relaxation of standards, “moral waivers”, to join. More service personnel have criminal records and gang ties than in years past.” My concern is when they get out,” adds Carter Smith.In the 1990’s, while working as an Army criminal intelligence officer, he was one of the first to uncover the growth of street gangs in the ranks. He says the general estimate is that about 1 percent of the U.S. Armed Forces are gang members, 13,000 to 14,000 of them, roughly the population of Solana Beach.”

They will have been trained to do lots of things from the basic support, logistics, and transportation, to the use of weapons,” he warns. According to the National Gang Intelligence Center and the Army Criminal Investigation Command, “Gang related activity in the U.S. military is increasing … posing a threat to law enforcement officials and national security.” The gang activity ranges from graffiti you can see in pictures from Iraq, to shootouts and murder much closer to home.”Crimes involving military soldiers have been on the rise, and violent crimes at that,” says Hunter Glass.In San Diego, an ex-Marine marksman, Nathanial Guillen, and active member of the Bloods, shot a rival gang member to death in La Mesa. He was found guilty of murder in 2006.In Northern California, a Camp Pendleton Marine and gang member named Andres Raya ambushed police with military tactics and a high power riffle, murdering police Sgt. Howard Stevenson. Raya was killed in the shoot out.

Those are only two examples.”They’re gang members at heart, they’re not going to be changing. It’s what they live for, what they believe,” says Glass.Officially, no branch of the service allows gangs. However, criminal courts are reducing felony charges to misdemeanors, allowing gangsters who promise to reform to join the military rather than go to prison.Glass adds, “Are they good in a fight? Yes that’s right, but when dog fighting becomes illegal, what do you do with the dogs?”

http://www.10news.com/news/17852021/detail.html

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-1664726990057276007&hl=en&fs=true

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=9126224303396571205&hl=en&fs=true

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