“It is very important to have partnerships and utilize a team approach when dealing with security threat groups. Terrorism and threats from gangs can only be contained and controlled when law enforcement partners with various agencies to cripple their threats,” stated the Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) Reginald A. Wilkinson on September 4, 2003.
Gangs moved into Ohio in the early 1990s, starting with California groups, such as the Rolling 20 Crips. Then, Chicago gangs moved to the area bringing their sophisticated rules, codes and symbols, said Linda Schmidt, a member of the Ohio chapter of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association. (Jessie Balmert,Ohio University Post)
"More than 5,800 gangs with about 222,400 members commit crime in the Central Region, which includes Ohio," according to the 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment. Between 2004 and 2008, the percent of law enforcement agencies reporting gang activity in the Central Region increased from 45 percent to 55 percent. The most prevalent gangs are the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords, which includes mostly African-American men, according to the assessment.
Data from the Ohio study suggest that gang members' criminal careers begin with property offenses (e.g., auto theft, burglary) and progress within 1.5 to 2 years to drug-related crimes and violent crime. (C. Ronald Huff, Research in Brief)
Research shows that within an hour, Ohio's law enforcement officers will arrest approximately five teens, nearly 46,000 teens in a year. National youth-gang related homicides are up over 40 percent from 1999 to 2003, the latest year for which data are available. Law enforcement leaders recommend a one-two punch to address teen and gang crime: tough and close supervision combined with research-tested interventions that pull kids away. (www.fightcrime.org)
Ohio gangs operate in rural areas to avoid interstate highways, populated by the highly effective state highway patrol, preferring local roads similar to U.S. Route 33, said Schmidt. Rural areas are stocked with fertilizer and chemicals necessary to create drugs like methamphetamine, she added. Gangs also migrate to rural areas because fewer law enforcement groups patrol and those that do are less educated about gang activity, said Steve Coffman, president of the Ohio chapter of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association.
"They can kind of hide in plain sight," he said.
Powerful and well-organized Mexican drug-trafficking groups have seized control of drug distribution throughout Ohio, flooded local markets with increasingly cheap heroin and are using Columbus and Dayton as distribution hubs for southwestern Ohio and parts of Indiana, local and federal U.S. drug-enforcement officials say. Gang History
The Columbus Dispatch reports,"The situation in Ohio reflects a larger national trend: U.S. officials say Mexican cartels operate in at least 195 U.S. cities and dominate the drug trade in every region of the country except for isolated pockets such as the Northeast and southern Florida. The report predicts that heroin abuse will increase among white, suburban users." (Jeremy Schwartz, Cox News Service, August 18 2008)
Columbus has emerged as a regional distribution center for Mexican heroin supplied to markets throughout Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.
Distributors from other markets often travel to Columbus to purchase Mexican heroin to sell in their home areas, the report said. It may also be noted that inn Dayton, Mexican traffickers have replaced African-American gangs as the primary wholesale distributors of cocaine, marijuana and heroin.
A Few Gang Headlines:
1. The Hard Times Gang, mostly comprised of Somali immigrants, came to Athens County from Columbus within the past year to sell narcotics. The gang is responsible for burglaries, firearm theft and murder in the county said Detective Jerry Hallowell, Athens Country Sheriff's Office. (Jessie Balmert,The Post, April 4 2009)2. The Dayton Daily News reported that law enforcement agencies have connected assaults, drug trafficking, shootings and homicides to more than a dozen local street gangs. (Steve Bennish, Dayton Daily News, March 5 2008) 3. Toledo police say gang activity is picking up. Now, officers are toughening up tactics. (Lisa Rantala, wtol.com) 4. Swat raids have been made on drug gangs in Cleveland with ties to the Chicago-based Latin Kings. The raids disrupted a major Cleveland drug ring. (Ana Jackson, July 22 2009) 5. The Columbus City Police say they have 85 active criminal gangs and 1100 documented gang members. When CPD’s summer strike force was slashed, police decided to focus their resources on known gang members and known gang activity. (www2.nbc4i.com) 6. The Akron Police Department's Gang Unit has identified 30 gangs operating in the city. Hispanic Gangs
|Abbr||Full Name||Description||States with major activity|
|18||18th Street Gang||Formed in the 1960s in the Rampart district of Los Angeles, thought to be one of the most violent street gangs in the country. Members are tattooed with XVIII or 666 (when added up becomes 18). Heavily populated with illegal immigrants from south of the U.S.-Mexican border, the gang also includes Asians, African and Native Americans, as well as Whites. Some chapters are very well organized They are reputed to be well linked with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. According to Border Control.ORG, "In 1995, a report showed that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in Southern California included illegal aliens" 9 Today the group has a wide latino population, and retains a high percentage of illegal immigrants. The actual numbers of illegals is not known, however, due to sanctuary policies in many of the cities in which they prey.||California, Georgia, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington,|
|Norte||La Nuestra Famila||Established in 1960s at Soledad Prison, to protect inmates from the Mexican Mafia, a prison gang of mostly southern Californians. As the original members were released from prison, they began recruiting members into their street gangs. Due to the rivalry with the Mexican Mafia, there may be a link to or this is just another name for Nuestra Familia or the Norteños||California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,|
|LK||Latin Kings||The Almighty Latin Kings (and Queens) - Puerta Rican Immigrants, formed in 1940s. Today is one of the largest latino gangs and is found in most major cities of the states listed, coast to coast, north and south. Today the population is mostly Mexican, however, the spectrum includes Spanish, Caribbean, Latvian, Italian, Portuguese, or South American. 1980's, Felix Millet and Nelson Millan, two inmates in the Connecticut prison system, created the Almighty Latin King Nation of Connecticut. In 1986, Luis Felipe, calling himself King Blood, took the Connecticut King Manifesto and added a few of his own writings and prayers. He formed the Almighty Latin King Nation of New York State at the Collins Correctional Institution. He was serving a lengthy sentence for attempting to kill his live-in girlfriend. Within a few years, the Latin Kings spread through the New York State Prison system and onto the streets. New York City, by the early 1990's had several hundred members which grew into the thousands throughout New York State and nearby New Jersey by the mid 1990's. Today the group has a wide latino population, and retains a high percentage of illegal immigrants. The actual numbers of illegals is not known, however, due to sanctuary policies in many of the cities in which they prey.||Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin,|
|Solido||Los Solidos Nation||A merger of the Ghetto Brothers and Savage Nomads in Hartford, Connecticut, now calling each other Solido (Famly). Active in Hartford, New London, East Lyme, Norwich, New Britain and Waterbury, but have also spread to other states as members have fled from RICO investigations||Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont,|
|MS-13||Mara Salvatrucha||Family of Salvador - Associated with the southern "families" of Mexican National Gangs, the 13th letter is M and the S in MS-13 also stands for Sur or Sureno ("South"), with original links to El Salvadorian nationals who eventually crossed illegally into the U.S. across the U.S. Mexican Border. Today the group has a wide latino population, and retains a high percentage of illegal immigrants. The actual numbers of illegals is not known, however, due to sanctuary policies in many of the cities in which they prey.||Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington,|
|Netas||Netas||Puerta Rican group established in a Puerta Rican prison by Carlos Torres-Irriarte. An early rival of the Netas was Grupo 27 (Group 27) which eventually was blamed for Torres' murder in prison. By 1993, many chapters had merged into the Latin Kings (See Above)||Connecticut, New Jersey, New York|
|NF||Norteños||Northerners - Organized in Folsom Prison in 1968, later became a loose organization of north and south memberships -- i.e if you lied north of Bakersfield you were a northerner and when you went to prison you would join the northern prison gang, if you lived south of Bakersfield you were a Sureno, a southerner and that would be the prison gang you joined when you went to prison. Notice the inevitability of going to prison, these are not garden clubs. The Nortenos associate themselves with the number 14 (the letter N is the 14th letter), 4 dots in a tattoo, and will invariably call themselves a family ("Nuestra Familia" or La Nuestra Familia). Today the group has a wide latino population, and retains a high percentage of illegal immigrants. The actual numbers of illegals is not known, however, due to sanctuary policies in many of the cities in which they prey.||Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington,|
|MM||Sureños||Southerners - Also known as the Mexican Mafia. Formed by Rodolpho Cadena and Joe Morgan in the correctional facility at Tracy, California. They prison gang became the most powerful in the prison system and as members were released from prison they began to recruit in their home locals. When prisoners who were members of the Mexican Mafia were released they formed the Surenos gangs on the outside. Chief Rivals are the La Nuestra Familia (Northern Familes). Today the street gangs "graduate" to prison and become members of the Mexican Mafia. The Surenos control much of the illegal prison activities in the prison systems of nearly every state in the union. The members may be found wearing a MM tattoo or SUR for Surenos. They also may refer to other chapters as being part of Le Eme (The M). In the last few decades, conflicts with Black prison gangs has led to a loose alliance (for mutual protection) with such unusual partner as the Aryan Brotherhood a white supremacist prison gang and domestic terror group.||Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington|
|TS||Texas Syndicate||Originated in the early 1970s at Folsom Prison in California, mainly to protect members against non-native Texan prisoners who were preying upon them. Includes members from all over Latin America with largest populations in prison being Mexican, Colombian, and Cuban.||California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Washington|
|Note: Sources for information in this table are found in the sources section below, numbers 4, 5, 6|