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Police ask Senate for funding, surveillance changes to fight MS-13 gang

Local law enforcement officials asked senators on Wednesday for more federal funding, and even changes to federal surveillance laws to help them battle the MS-13 gang, which is responsible for a growing wave of violence and murder across the country.

Those requests were made in response to what Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said was a problem being fueled by poor border security, allowing members of the Central American gang to enter the U.S.

"During the committee's examination of America's unsecure borders we have learned how transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels exploit American policies and our lack of border security to advance their criminal agenda," Johnson said. He said the gang has even used U.S. schools to recruit members and carry out acts of violence.

Hagerstown man faces 28 charges in fatal shooting

An 18-year-old high school student was charged by Hagerstown police with first-degree murder and 27 other offenses for the gang-related, pre-dawn shooting Saturday of Eddie Jerome Ragland, the wounding of another man and endangering the lives of three other people, one of them a 13-month-old child.

Jason Scott Carter II of Washington Avenue was arrested Tuesday and put in the Washington County Detention Center. District Judge Terry A. Myers ordered Carter held without bond during a bond review hearing Wednesday.

"The court doesn't really have a choice in a case like this," Myers told Assistant Public Defender Dyan Owens, noting that one man was dead, another wounded and that a child was put at risk. Owens had asked Myers to set a $40,000 bond and pretrial supervision for the South Hagerstown High School senior.

Second arrest made in fatal Hagerstown shooting

Police have arrested and charged a second man in connection with an early-morning shooting that left a Hagerstown man dead last week.

Easton Eugene Blickenstaff, 19, of Hagerstown was found in Laurel, Md., and taken into custody without incident, according to a Hagerstown Police Department news release issued late Wednesday.

Blickenstaff is charged with first- and second-degree murder, attempted first- and second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first- and second-degree murder, first and second-degree assault and other related charges, police said in the release.

Blickenstaff faces a total of 53 charges, according to online court records.

MS-13 is turning Long Island into a homicide hotbed

WASHINGTON — The MS-13 gang is linked to a startling 38 percent of all the homicides in normally placid Suffolk County over the last 16 months, its besieged police chief told a startled Senate panel Wednesday.

Since Jan. 1, 2016, 17 of 45 murders in the county have been connected to the brutal gang, testified Police Commissioner Timothy Sini.

He said MS-13 engages in selling drugs, stealing and extortion, but unlike other gangs, the primary motivation isn’t to make money but to terrorize the community.

4 arrested, 2 wanted following 2-month investigation into Dover gang activity

At the culmination of a two-month investigation into activities and affiliations of a local gang, Dover Police announced Wednesday four individuals had been charged, and two were still being sought. 

Authorities said two homes in the first block of South Kirkwood Street were raided at 10:55 am. on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, and recovered were:

five firearms

16 grams of crack cocaine

34 Ecstasy/MDMA pills

120 milliliters of codine

12 oxycodone pills

35.3 grams of marijuana

marijuana plants being grown behind a residence

Still wanted are Anthony Daniels, on two counts possession of a firearm by a person prohibited and possession of a destructive weapon-sawed-off shotgun, and Shamarr Willingham, on charges of possession of firearm during commission of felony, possession of firearm by person prohibited, possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine, possession with intent to deliver mdma, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession with intent to deliver codine, and second-degree conspiracy. 

Two Hagerstown men sentenced in gang shooting

Two of four Hagerstown men charged in what Hagerstown police termed a gang-related drive-by shooting in November entered Alford pleas Monday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Kyle Ian Dorsey, 21, of Beachley Drive entered an Alford plea to second-degree assault and to carrying a handgun.

Circuit Judge Mark K. Boyer sentenced him to 10 years in prison, with all but one year and one day suspended.

Brayan Mengou, 18, of Gettysburg Way was sentenced by Boyer to two years in prison, with all but 174 days suspended, which he has served since his arrest.

Body found by birdwatcher was MS-13 gang member

The body found by a Queens birdwatcher over the weekend has been identified as an MS-13 gang member, officials said Tuesday.

Julio Vasquez, 16, of Queens was discovered in Alley Pond Park near 76th Avenue and Cloverdale Boulevard in Oakland Gardens on Sunday afternoon. His body was lying face-down and had at least 28 stab wounds to the back and chest, cops said. Authorities believe he may have been there for up to a week.

Vasquez had multiple prior arrests for gang assault, graffiti and weapons possession, which allowed police to identify him through fingerprints.

He was found wearing a long-sleeve hoodie, Armani blue jeans and Air Jordan sneakers. There was also a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball hat near his body. Vasquez has a tattoo on his chest of the word “Familia,” cops said.

MS-13 gang member faces 30 years for machete attack on Frederick couple

An admitted MS-13 gang member pleaded guilty to a machete attack that left a Frederick couple with permanent hand injuries.

Elmin Ivan Portillo Guiterrez pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to committing a violent crime in the aid of racketeering, according to a May 2 filing.

He faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is to be sentenced Aug. 25.

Portillo Guiterrez was acting on behalf of the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas clique of MS-13, a violent gang with roots in El Salvador, his plea agreement stated, when he participated in a bloody attack on Aug. 28, 2015, in Frederick.

Alexandria Immigrants, Police Appeal For Help With Local Gang Problem

At a roundtable in Alexandria yesterday, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine heard from both immigrants and law enforcement officials on the challenges they face from increased gang activity in the area.

Kevin, a 16-year-old Guatemalan immigrant who spoke at the roundtable, explained to Sen. Kaine how the gang MS-13 recruits Central American immigrant students like him at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria and elsewhere in the community. Kevin agreed to be identified only by his first name, because he fears gang retaliation.

“There are some people who feel that, after you join them, you are going to be someone,” Kevin says.

Alleged Female Teen Gang Member Accused of Stabbing Love Rival Told Her ‘She Would See Her in Hell’

A 17-year-old Virginia girl allegedly killed a 15-year-old girl earlier this year by stabbing the victim in the stomach and neck 13 times, according to multiple reports.

According to The Washington Post, prosecutors alleged in court testimony Thursday that the suspect, Venus Romero Iraheta, used the same knife to carve away a tattoo on the skin of the victim, Damaris Alexandra Reyes Rivas. The tattoo memorialized a deceased alleged gang member with whom both girls had been romantically involved, prosecutors said.

Detectives alleged that Iraheta allegedly repeated her own name over and over again as she repeatedly stabbed Reyes Rivas on Jan. 8, according to the Post.

Iraheta, who will be tried as an adult following a ruling delivered Thursday, allegedly told Reyes Rivas that “she would see her in hell,” one law enforcement official testified, reports WUSA-9.

Unsealed Indictment Details MS-13 Gang Activity in Loudoun County

Extorting victims -- including so-called "rent payments" made after a gun was held to one victim's head: that was among the ways that one group of suspected MS-13 gang members operated in Leesburg, Virginia, according to an indictment that was recently unsealed. Federal agents say for gangs to survive they need funding; that leaves a trail of victims. And the Loudoun County commonwealth's attorney says he's seeing an increase in gang activity recently. News4 Northern Virginia bureau reporter David Culver details what the indictment shows about how gangs operate.

Suspected gang members charged with murder; guns also taken off streets

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The U.S. Marshals Office worked with the Norfolk Police Department to capture three people wanted for murder and to take several guns off the streets this week.

Police charged three people for a double shooting that took place in the 300 block of E. Olney Rd. on April 26.

Kaison Mitchel, 17, of Portsmouth died. A 17-year-old girl was hurt.

Marshals and officers took 18-year-old Robert Vick and Tranathan Holmes into custody on May 11 in Berkley, the same day that Holmes turned 18.

On May 12, they took the third person wanted for the murder into custody. He is a minor. Marshals and officers captured him after he tried running out the back door of home near the intersection of Indian River Road and Kempsville Road in Virginia Beach.

How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating the MS-13 Gang

Two years ago, a suburban Maryland county began to see a dramatic rise in killings attributed to MS-13, an international gang with ties to Central America.

In response, the Montgomery County Police Department assigned Capt. Paul Liquorie, a 23-year veteran of the police force, to lead a centralized street gang unit dedicated to stomping out the violence.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Liquorie, 49, director of the department’s Special Investigations Division, described law enforcement’s approach to combating MS-13 in this affluent county just outside Washington, D.C.

ICE arrests 1,378 suspected gang members in largest sweep to date

he Trump administration has concluded a six-week nationwide sweep of suspected gang members with 1,378 arrests — the largest such gang sweep conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to date.

The operation, which ran from March 26 through May 6, targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.  

“Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas, but in our suburbs and rural areas, too,” ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan said Thursday. “Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere.”

ICE: 52 gang members in DC, Maryland, Virginia during national operation

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the results of a national operation targeting gang members and associates, including a total of 52 local gang arrests made in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The operation lasted six weeks and concluded last weekend. It was the largest gang surge conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to date.

The operation started in March and for over the past six weeks, 1,378 people were arrested while $491,763 and 238 firearms were seized. Arrests were made nationwide and the operation targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.

ICE says there were 17 total gang arrests made by the D.C. field office, and 35 made by the Baltimore field office. Of the 17 made in the D.C. area, seven were criminal arrests and 10 were arrests for immigration violations. Of the arrests made in the Baltimore area, 14 were criminal arrests and 21 were arrests for immigration violation

Don't blame police for homicide rate

In a recent commentary in The Sun ("Civil rights safeguards in jeopardy," May 1), Cornell William Brooks, the president of the NAACP, condemns what he alleges to be abdication of the federal government's duty to pursue civil rights violations. In so doing, he exaggerates the extent of such violations and the role of the police in them. Most outrageously, he declares that "young black males are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than young white males." Mr. Brooks has either confused the ratios relating to black youth deaths by all homicides (21 to 1) with those relating to black homicide deaths at the hands of policemen (5 to 1), or has relied on a discredited study cherry-picking data from an FBI database disavowed by the agency that issued it and containing only a small fraction of the killings by police identified in newspaper investigations.

There have been several prize-winning journalistic investigations of killings by police, including those conducted by The Washington Post and Britain's Guardian newspaper. One such study alleges that throughout the nation, 465 whites and 233 blacks were killed by police in 2016. Another counts a total of 1,140 killings by police in 2015. Per million population of each group, the number of deaths from this cause was 2.9 among whites, 7.1 among blacks, and 3.5 among Latinos, or a disparity not of 21 to 1 but of 2.5 to 1. Among victims between the ages of 15 and 24, the Guardian reported a black police homicide death rate that was five times the white rate, not 21 times it. (In 2015, the nation's 1 million law enforcement officers were victims of as many as 129 homicides, a death rate nearly 10 times as great as that ascribed by the Guardian to young blacks victimized by the police).

May 2017