Tuesday, September 21, 2004

One of my out of town readers just sent me an item from the Brownsville, Texas paper, The Herald. On September 3, Emma Perez-Trevino wrote about contacts between AL-QAIDA and the MARA SALVATRUCHA, a street gang with sets in Los Angeles, Texas, the US-MEXICO border and as far away as Virginia, New York and Boston. Just so you know, MS has a lot of sets, some of whom operate under the Sureno flag. Others don't. Look for the MS13 placa to determine if they're Sureno. Non-affiliates drop the 13.

The information on this possible alliance came from the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security. According to a member of that committee, Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz, a Democrat from Texas, "We have been in contact wtih El Salvadoran officials and they have verified that Al-Qaida has been active in these gangs."

Ortiz, along with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Jim Turner, both Texas Democrats, have asked for more cooperation between the Border Patrol, the FBI and the CIA. All three pols called the OTM policy (Other Than Mexican), "nothing more than a conduit for terrorists." Apparently, 80% to 90% of the 25,000 OTMs arrested on the U.S. side of the border are released on their own recognizance with nothing more than a promise to appear for a hearing. Guess how many actually show up.

For the complete story, a Google search for the Brownsville Herald will take you to the site. I don't do links.

The concept of streets gangs making alliances with foreign powers is not new. In 1987, four members of Chicago's El Rukn gang were convicted of accepting $2.5 million from Lybia to plan and execute terrorist attacks in the U.S. That same year, Jeff Fort, founder of the Blackstone Rangers traveled to Lybia where Muammar Qaddafi presented him with a rocket launcher. The FBI intercepted the weapon and arrested Fort. Louis Farrakhan made the introductions and accompanied Fort to Lybia. More recently, Jose Padilla, a Chicago street gangster was arrested for trying to organize a dirty bomb attack in the U.S.

On the other side of the coin, Italian mobster Lucky Luciano made a deal with the Government during the war. In exchange for his help in gathering intelligence and putting friends on the ground prior to the invasion of Sicily, Luciano was allowed to leave prison and deported at the end of the war. Even without the aid of the internet and satellite phones, Luciano had no trouble calling the shots to his New York crime family from his villa in Palermo.

We'll see what develops with the MS.

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