FBI Warns Local Police on New Strategy Used by MS-13 Gang
EDINBURG – U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a suspected cop killer at the Falfurrias checkpoint. Authorities say he’s also an MS-13 gang member.
The arrest comes as the FBI confirms a new wave of MS-13 gang members are headed to the United States.
Those gang members are headed to larger cities up north, but to get there, they have to travel through the Rio Grande Valley. This means local police officers also deal with the threat of "transnational gangs."
The tattoos of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang members don't go unnoticed in the eyes of the law.
"When it comes to the types of crimes they commit and the violence that they have it's pretty serious,” said Palm Valley Police Chief Alvaro Garcia.
The Palm Valley Police Department is made up of only 10 officers. Garcia didn't know about the FBI warning of younger MS-13 gang members taking a stronger approach.
"Eventually it will make it's (the warning) way down to us. At some point either through an FBI alert through Border Patrol or joint Operation Centers. Eventually, that information will come down to us but you know sometimes that the way the government works. Sometimes it does take a little while to trickle down to us,” said Garcia.
Garcia explained gang members use minors to exploit loopholes in the law when they come through Texas.
"As you know in Texas if you're under 17, you're a minor and you’re treated differently in the criminal justice system than as an adult. So on purpose, they send those kids down,” said Garcia.
Garcia works with the state and Border Patrol to identify gang members.
“Here in the Rio Grande Valley, MS-13 is the number one gang we apprehend,” said Border Patrol Agent Robert Rodriguez.
This month, Border Patrol apprehends and identifies several MS-13 gang members through the International Security Forces.
"The Border Patrol uses numerous databases to verify immigration history, criminal history and whether or not a subject may have an active warrant,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez explained the database uncovered that an MS-13 gang member killed a Salvadoran police officer and his daughter.
"The Border Patrol has seen a decrease in overall apprehensions. The Rio Grande Valley sector has seen an increase in the number of MS-13 gang members that we are apprehending,” said Rodriguez.
Garcia said he'll keep training his officers to identify this threat. Border Patrol will also utilize their resources to stop them from entering the community.
Rodriguez explained the MS-13 gang members they apprehend range in ages from juveniles to older members.