Gang Expert Describes Gangs in RGV

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WESLACO - A gang expert said many people in the Rio Grande Valley may not realize gangs are more prevalent than they think.

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security executed a nationwide crackdown on gangs. Federal law enforcement agents picked up more than 1,300 accused gang members across the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said many of the suspected gang members belonged to groups like the Crips, Bloods, Surenos and MS-13.

Gang expert Maryanne Denner said the Rio Grande Valley is home to a few street gangs, such as Tri-City Bombers, Po Boys and Latin Kings

President Donald Trump said MS-13 is among the most ruthless street gangs in the nation. According to Denner, the gang has a presence in the Valley, but most of its members are trying to get out of town.

"They want to come to Houston, where it's a lot larger, and they can blend in. And they can do business better," explained Denner.

Denner added many gang members are business savvy. "They've got to launder the money somehow," she said. "They may own strip clubs. They may own restaurants. They may own a movie theater."

Denner said some gangs aren't always involved in crime, as some run legitimate businesses.

Denner told CHANNEL 5 NEWS gang crackdowns by federal law enforcement is fairly routine. Of the more than 1,300 possible gang members arrested, more than 900 were U.S. citizens. Nearly 450 were from 21 other countries, including locations in Asia, Africa and Europe.


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