Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All indicted MS-13 gang members are convicted, sentenced

Group gone from Nashville, maybe not the suburbs?

The Tennessean reports here that all 14 defendants in a RICO criminal prosecution against local members of the MS-13 gang have been convicted and sentenced after entering guilty pleas. The racketeering (RICO) convictions bring longer criminal sentences than the individual acts of violence, which included "murder, attempted murder, and witness tampering." The original indictments were brought in 2007 (story here).

These 14 people constituted only "one percent of one percent of the Latino community in Nashville," according to a statement made by Jim Cavanaugh of the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to the Nashville City Paper (story here).

It had been hoped that these efforts eliminated MS-13's presence in Nashville. At the time of the indictments, Sgt. Gary Kemper of the Metro Police Gang unit told the City Paper that the arrestees constituted most of the local membership of the mostly Salvadoran gang. Kemper told the City Paper, "As far as the crime within the Hispanic gangs, it’s cut down, I’d say, 80 to 90 percent" (story here). And this 2008 press release from Metro Police stated that "[t]hanks largely to the efforts to the Gang Unit, this investigation and federal prosecution may have eradicated the presence of an MS-13 cell in the Middle Tennessee district."

But this story from a week ago reported that MS-13 and Brown Pride are active in Nashville suburb LaVergne. There is no mention of how many people are involved there.

Credit for the Nashville convictions was shared by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur and the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Tennessee; Trial Attorney John Han and the Criminal Division's Gang Unit; the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department's Gang Suppression Unit; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the Davidson County District Attorney General's Office.

Photo by emtboy9. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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