Gangs that were once bloody rivals now are cooperating to wring profits from the sale of illegal drugs and weapons, law-enforcement officials and gang experts tell the Wall Street Journal. In some cases, gangs that investigators believed to be sworn enemies share neighborhoods and strike business deals. The collaboration even crosses racial lines, remarkable in a gang world where racial divisions are sharp and clashes are often racially motivated.
“You see African-Americans dealing with Hispanics on obtaining narcotics and weapons. We’re seeing Hispanic gang members involved with the Eastern European criminal figures,” said FBI agent Robert Clark in Los Angeles. “Where they see opportunities to collaborate, they do.” Gang-related violence is at a 30-year low in Los Angeles, according to experts. Gang-related homicides in Los Angeles totaled 128 through October of this year, compared with 312 in all of 2002. Gangs may be committing less violence because they are partnering on criminal activity, creating new challenges for law enforcement. “Now, instead of having 200 guys that are arch-enemies with 200 other guys, you have 400 guys working together against law enforcement,” said a sheriff’s detective.