“GANGDOM” THRIVES IN VIEW OF CAPITOL — Michael E. Miller and Dan Morse @ WashPost Tell The Shockingly Ugly “Inside Story” Of How Gangs Terrorize The Undocumented Community In Langley Park, MD! — The Trump/Sessions “Gonzo” Approach To Immigration Seems Likely To Make Things Even Worse!


Miller & Morse write:

‘People here live in fear’: MS-13 menaces a community seven miles from the White House
By Michael E. Miller and Dan Morse December 20 at 8:00 AM

Abigail Bautista, 34, of Langley Park, Md., describes what MS-13 did to her and then to her son. “People here live in fear,” she said. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
It took Abigail Bautista less than a month of living in Langley Park to learn that her new neighborhood in Maryland had its own set of laws, written not in statutes but in gang graffiti and blood.

The Guatemalan mother of five was pushing a cart of merchandise along University Boulevard one winter morning in late 2012 when three young men approached.

“Do you know who we are?” one asked her in Spanish.

Bautista shook her head.

“We are La Mara Salvatrucha,” he said. “And here, there are rules.”

Pay $60 “rent” per week or there would be trouble, he said. Undocumented and afraid of being deported if she went to police, Bautista began handing over the cash.

She had heard of the international street gang growing up in Central America, where MS-13, as it’s known, controls cities through brutality and corruption. But she had lived for the better part of a decade in the United States without crossing its path.

Now, she realized, she’d unwittingly moved into MS-13 territory a mere seven miles from the White House.

As the gang has grown in strength in recent years, so has its sway over communities across the country. From Boston to Northern Virginia to Houston, a string of grisly MS-13 murders has highlighted its resurgence, drawing a response from the White House.

“One by one, we’re liberating our American towns,” President Trump said this summer in Long Island, where MS-13 has been linked to more than a dozen recent killings.

Left out of Trump’s speeches, however, is the fact that most of the gang’s victims are not Americans but undocumented immigrants like Bautista. And when it comes to the gang’s infamous motto of “kill, rape, control,” it’s the third — enforced daily through extortion and intimidation — that defines life for some immigrants in places such as Langley Park.

“They are preying on the communities that they are living in,” said Michael McElhenny, a supervisory special agent for the FBI in Maryland.

More than a decade after a string of MS-13 killings shook the heavily Latino neighborhood, Langley Park is still struggling to shake off the gang’s influence. Despite aggressive policing, the area continues to be plagued by MS-13 drug dealing, prostitution, robbery, extortion and murder, according to court records and interviews with residents, activists, prosecutors and gang experts, as well as local and federal law enforcement officials.

. . . .

Federal authorities say the racketeering case and two other recent MS-13 indictments show they are serious about again dismantling the gang in Maryland. But Bautista won’t be satisfied until authorities lock up the man she suspects of leading MS-13 in Langley Park.

Must Reads
5 stories you can’t afford to miss, every Saturday.
Sign up
Two weeks after her son’s body was found, and a few days before his vigil, she said, a letter was slipped under her door.

“If you keep talking, there will be consequences,” it warned in childlike handwriting, according to Bautista.

It was signed, she said, by the roofer.


Read the entire, much longer, article at the link.

One thing is clear: The gang problem isn’t going to be “solved” by having having clueless, anti-Hispanic, White Guys like Trump and Sessions uttering threats against the entire immigrant community from Washington.

No, the irony is that prosecutions and deportations, although they might rack up impressive statistics, really don’t bother gangs much. Gangs control big chunks of the prisons, both in the US and, even moreso, in the Northern Triangle. To some extent, a prison sentence is just a “temporary work reassignment.”

And, deportations: well that’s actually how the MS-13 grew, when the US deported LA gang members to El Salvador during the Reagan Administration without thinking about how to deal with the long term problem — how they would grow to control and terrorize the places to which they were being deported.

It doesn‘t take a “rocket scientist” (just someone smarter and less racist than Trump and Sessions) to figure out that the overheated anti-immigrant rhetoric that lumps gang members with generally law abiding workers and asylum applicants is a “made to order” recruitment tool for the MS-13 and other gangs.

”Trump and Sessions don’t respect you and don’t want you in America. They don’t even like the ‘good’ immigrants, so don’t waste your time on the false ‘American Dream.’ We’re you’re ‘REAL’ family that isn’t afraid of Trump, and will give you power, respect, and control, as long as you remain loyal to us. What’s Trump got to offer Hispanic youth?”

Reducing gang violence will require a nuanced, time consuming, labor intensive multi-cultural approach that:

  • Treats Hispanic youth, documented and undocumented, with respect and shows them they are valued by society;
  • Provides positive role models from the Hispanic community;
  • Gives youth viable alternatives to gangs;
  • Gains the trust of all members of the Hispanic community, whether documented or not;
  • Involves bilingualism, more Hispanic police officers, and potentially dangerous undocover operations in the community;
  • Recognizes and deals with the problems of gang control in US prisons;
  • Deals with the difficult question of what happens when we deport gang members back to the Norther Triangle.

With respect to the latter point, if we merely send U.S. gang members back to terrorize communities in the Northern Triangle, that will lead more terrorized community members to flee to the U.S. The cycle will continue.

The Trump Administration’s ham-handed immigration policies taken from the “White Nationalist restrictionist playbook” will likely only exaberrate the problem of gangs and gang violence in the long run.






Dan Morse reports for the Washington Post:

“Maryland prosecutors have dropped child pornography charges against Rockville teenager Henry Sanchez Milian, quietly ending a case that erupted onto the national stage when Sanchez Milian and a friend — who each entered the country illegally last year — were accused of raping a classmate in a school bathroom.

“I am grateful to God,” Sanchez Milian’s stepmother, Lorena Hernandez, said outside of court Friday. “Now there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

With the dismissed charges, Sanchez Milian no longer faces any counts from incidents that unfolded on March 16, when a 14-year-old student at Rockville High School told school officials and detectives she had been forced into a bathroom stall, held down and attacked.

Sanchez Milian, 18 at the time, and Jose Montano, 17 at the time, were charged by Montgomery County police with rape and sex offense counts, punishable by life in prison. Montano was charged as an adult.

In the two months that followed, however, prosecutors studied high school surveillance video, reviewed phone records, spoke to the girl and others, and concluded the original claims could not be corroborated. Defense attorneys had been telling prosecutors for weeks that the sex acts had been consensual.

Henry Sanchez Milian (Montgomery County Police)
In May, prosecutors dropped the rape case but filed charges against the suspects related to possession of child pornography. According to their new case, ­before March 16, Montano had engaged in lewd text exchanges with the 14-year-old, and she sent him images of herself unclothed. Montano then forwarded the ­images to Sanchez Milian, prosecutors said.

Defense attorneys did not deny that sequence of events, but they blasted prosecutors for what they said was a stretch of child pornography laws designed to go after adults. Montano’s attorneys resolved his pornography case in juvenile court when he admitted to possessing one of the images.

But Sanchez Milian — who had stayed in the adult court system — was facing trial on child pornography charges at the end of October. His defense attorneys had dug in for a fight, establishing in hearings that they had the legal right to call the girl to the witness stand for questioning about whether the images in the texts were of her.


Read the full story at the link.




WashPost: GANGS — A Complicated Problem With No Easy Solution — Budget Cuts Undermine Some Local Programs!


Michael E. Miller, Dan Morse, and Justin Jouvenal report:

“The increasing MS-13 violence has become a flash point in a national debate over immigration. President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have vowed to eradicate the gang, while immigrant advocates say the young people are being scapegoated to further an anti-immigrant agenda.

Danny’s case illustrates just how difficult the balance between compassion and safety can be. Was he a child who needed help? Or a gang member who shouldn’t have been here?

“Do you close the doors to all law-abiding folks who just want to be here and make a better life . . . and in the process keep out the handful who are going to wreak havoc on our community?” asked one federal prosecutor, who is not permitted to speak publicly and has handled numerous MS-13 cases. “Or do you open the doors and you let in good folks and some bad along with the good?”


Read the entire, much longer, article at the link.

it does seem short sighted to save a few bucks by cutting some of the few programs specifically designed to address this issue.