Friday, January 11, 2008

Nashville MS-13 eviscerated by 14 arrests

Small group of vicious criminals brought down by racketeering charge

80-90% drop in activity

One percent of one percent of population

"The Latino community was very helpful"

The Nashville City Paper reported here that the arrest of fourteen MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha gang members has nearly wiped out that group in Nashville, and that the impact of the arrests will be felt nationwide. According to this press release, the men were indicted by a federal grand jury on just one racketeering charge related to murder and other violent crimes in Nashville.

Jim Cavanaugh with the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) told NewsChannel5 here that the MS-13 gang is not representative of the Hispanic population:
MS 13 makes up one percent of one percent of the Latino community in Nashville.
Cavanaugh said in another Nashville City Paper story that cooperation from the Hispanic members of the Nashville community helped the ATF and the Nashville police with the investigation:
The Latino community was very helpful ... The gang members certainly weren’t helpful, but they are a very, very small percentage of the Latino community in this city. Now, those who stepped forward can see the results.
More from the City Paper:
Almost a year ago, 14 members of the brutally violent El Salvadorian gang La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, were indicted on racketeering charges stemming from at least three murders, seven attempted murders and a rash of violence in Nashville.

Three of the 14 have been sentenced in the last two months, receiving 19- and 20-year sentences for their involvement in the attempted murders of rival gang members and a confidential informant.

Special Agent Jim Cavanaugh with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) said this is a significant step for Nashville, and more importantly, for the country.

“It’s significant that we got these long sentences for these violent gang members,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s very significant for Nashville and really for the country that we got these long sentences on these gangs members.”
This case in Nashville is only one of two cases nationally that’s slowed down the gang’s criminal activity.
One Metro Police gang expert said the indictment has curbed the criminal activity in Nashville among the Hispanic population, mainly because almost all members of the group here were included in the indictment.

“As far as the crime within the Hispanic gangs, it’s cut down, I’d say, 80 to 90 percent,” said Sgt. Gary Kemper of the Metro Police Gang unit.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office, with the Criminal Division’s Gang Squad of the Department of Justice. Assistance was provided by agents and prosecutors from the National Gang Targeting, Enforcement and Coordination Center (GangTECC). GangTECC is led by the Criminal Division, and is comprised of representatives from the ATF, Bureau of Prisons, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and ICE, among others.

Photo by Eylem Başak Ekinci. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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