U.S. To Run Antigang Unit In Charlotte


A permanent federal anti-gang office will open in Charlotte by the end of the summer, reports the Charlotte Observer. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office takes over for a temporary unit established in 2005 that has partnered with local police to disrupt gangs originating in Latin America, particularly the Mara Salvatrucha 13, Surenos, Brown Pride, SUR-13 and Latin King street gangs.

That part-time unit has arrested 70 transnational gang members in the 2009 fiscal year. “You get rid of it in one place, and it pops up in another,” said U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.). “This gives them a long-term game plan to keep the pressure on all the time.” Charlotte Police Capt. Steve Willis said Charlotte has two different gang problems: “homegrown” gangs made up of people from the area, and other gangs mostly made up of people who brought their gang affiliations from California or Mexico. The benefit of more ICE involvement is the ability to use immigration and customs laws to target the latter group, Willis said.

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