Friday, May 1, 2009

Standing Up To The MS-13 Gang


Security camera catches robbery and assault

After MS-13 gang members robbed a Houston beauty salon at gunpoint last January and sexually assaulted a salon employee, one of the gang members went a step further: he took the owner’s picture so he knew exactly who she was. If she thought about going to the police, he said, she would be sorry. The owner was also told that from now on, she would be expected to pay $100 a week to the gang for “protection.”

“What happened to this woman — robbery and extortion at the hands of MS-13 — is not unusual,” explained the agent in charge of the FBI's Houston Gang and Violent Crime Squad. “But her response — to stand up to the gang — was very unusual.”

Though she feared for her life, the salon owner called the local police instead of paying the extortion money, and was put in touch with the FBI. After talking to agents, she decided to not be intimidated by the gang.

MS-13, whose formal name is Mara Salvatrucha, is one of the largest Hispanic street gangs in the United States. According to the 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment, there could be as many as 50,000 MS-13 members worldwide, with 10,000 members in the United States. The gang is known for its highly violent ways and members are involved in all kinds of illegal activities, including drugs, robbery, extortion, weapons trafficking, and murder.

Larger gangs exist in Houston but MS-13 is of particular concern because members are often heavily armed and well trained in the use of weapons and assault tactics.

Victims are usually so scared of MS-13 that they would rather pay extortion money than risk retribution. In Latin America, where MS-13 originated, such extortion schemes are common.

That is why the Houston salon owner’s story is so remarkable. Despite her fear, she was also angry that the same crimes she saw in her native El Salvador were happening in the United States. So she gave the task force surveillance tapes that showed the robbery and the faces of several gang members who had participated.

In a recently televised segment on MS-13 produced by the Spanish-language network Univision, the salon owner recounted her ordeal. "They threatened to kill me,” she said of the gang members. “And I am very afraid for my life and my family.” But she came forward, she said, because “I like to work and fight for what I want."

About a week after the robbery, with the owner refusing to pay protection money, two gang members drove by the salon and sprayed 17 bullets into the front door, shattering the windows of cars parked along the street in the process.

But thanks to the surveillance tape of the robbery and the salon owner’s cooperation, it didn’t take long to round up the gang members. In all, seven people were arrested, and six handguns and one shotgun were seized. The gang members face state charges of aggravated robbery — which can carry long prison sentences in Texas — and the possibilities of federal charges as well.

31 comments:

Silvia said...

SORRY, It is very upseting Gary how lack of knowledge and perspective you did this, and what happens to you ? about Latinoamerica,you cant generalize , or what happen in Canada means USA ????? with all my admiration and respect to both countries,and to you that you used to be opened mind , how offensive is this ,,,,!
FIRST . SAN SALVADOR DOESNT MEAN LATINOAMERICA , YOU ARE DOING A BIG MISTAKE TWISTING WORDS AND INVOLVING OTHER COUNTRIES THAT HAS ANYTHING RELATED TO IT .
MS-13 FACTS:

Origins: Formed by Salvadoran immigrants who fled to the USA during El Salvador's civil war in the 1980S. Name comes from Salvadoran references:
Mara: slang for a group of young people, or mob.
Salva: reference to El Salvador.
Trucha: slang for "on guard."
How many members?
•USA: Estimates up to 10,000.
• El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico: 50,000.
Where are they? 33 states, the District of Columbia. Largest concentrations in California, Virginia and New York.
Who are they? At first, exclusively immigrants from El Salvador. Now, members from Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
How members distinguish themselves: Tattoos bearing the number 13, the letter M or the letters MS, the phrase "Salvadoran Pride."
Criminal activities: Stealing and exporting cars from the USA, burglary, drug sales, home invasion, weapons smuggling, carjacking, extortion, murder, rape, witness intimidation, illegal firearm sales, aggravated assault.

Sources: FBI and National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations


LIKE A LATINOAMERICAN AND ARGENTINE , I HOPE YOU HAVE A BIT OF UNDERSTANDING AND RESPECT, AND PLEASE YOU ALWAYS CLAIMS ABOUT NO DISCRIMINATION , BUT YOU HAVE JUST DONE , PLEASE ANALYSIZE THE CRIME IN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FIRST HOW IS COMPOSED THEN KEEP ON TALKING OF MANY CASES WORST THAN THIS .

Technoid said...

I don't see one thing Gary said about Latin America nor any generalizations about such either. Silvia, let me generalize some, are you just another latin american without good English skils, geeze loiuse.

Gary Baumgarten said...

Silvia,

Last I checked, El Salvador, where M-13 originated, and the other nations you cited where the gang operates; Ecuador, Guatemala, Hondurus and Mexico are part of Latin America.

If a criminal entity was active in the UK, France and Germany, I believe it would be proper to say that they were headquartered in Europe. I guess, by your reasoning, that would be a sign of discrimination against, say, people in Spain.

By the way, the victim of this heinous crime is, herself, a native of El Salvador, so it escapes me how this story reflects any prejudice on my part. It is based on information provided to me by the FBI and I believe it to be a fair and accurate description of the courage displayed by one woman in Houston who would not be threatened nor intimidated.

I stand by the story.

Boaz Frankel said...

Sylvia,

Lets not forget that you come from a country, Argentina, that hides Nazi SS officers who are still active in the 3rd Reich's youth organization movement...adding to that you seem to all most be supporting the MS 13 Gang. You should think before commenting with your allmost unreadable English.

Silvia said...

This is what you wrote Gary: Victims are usually so scared of MS-13 that they would rather pay extortion money than risk retribution. In Latin America, where MS-13 originated, such extortion schemes are common.

You cant say this ,because it is not true ,( it is not common such extortion schemes ) just this is my point , if you refer to a country or some, point them not the region or continent.
Try to be more cautious when you refer to Latinoamerica as you dont like others call you other names where are you from or what you are , just this . My source is FBI , as well by the way and explained very well the origin of this group like many others that were allowed for other reasons that it would be interesting why they came to USA as well , there are many interests involved people cant invade USA if they are such criminals is because they were allowed by corrupted americans .

and sorry for my english , to the other comment , i wish you speak 5 languages as well and try to respect the opinions of others who really know what we talk about . And if you think that speaking english fluently means to have skills ???? wowow , and yes i m very proud argentine and latinoamerican ,mother ,professional who is giving allot of jobs to american people right now .thank you
Best Regards

Silvia said...

It is funny Boaz , you cant get over, remember when you ask me for a help , for all people attacking you ? come on ,I should put a lawyer for defending you , Boaz dont mess up with me OK? your lack of knowledge about Nazi is horrible ,do you know they are could be processed thanked to our country ? how you are able to work , I will make my ambassador Timmerman in Washington DC if you know he is jewish , to let you know How important is our Jewish Community as many others and explain you or better said , teach you and you stop with your false propaganda of MY Country , i know you boaz you are bleeding ,,,,but you cant do with me like you do with others for having a red hat .sorry , Gary how is the heading of this blog ? we can comment if we are agree or disagree ,,,,

Anonymous said...

MS-13 — the focus of a nationwide crackdown by FBI and federal immigration agents — has become known in recent years for home invasion robberies, drug dealing and machete attacks on its enemies. But what happened in Houston on Nov. 2, FBI and Houston police officials say, has heightened concerns that MS-13 could be far more dangerous than thought. silvia Please check your sources a bit mose carefully..
Bob Clifford, who directs the FBI unit created last year to combat MS-13, says the battle symbolized MS-13's development from a smattering of loosely organized cells across the nation to an increasingly efficient and dangerous organization that has become a significant threat to public safety.

"Our worst suspicions about MS-13 have been confirmed" by the Houston shooting and other recent gang-related incidents, Clifford says. This was not long in houston texas ...
why is it when there is some negative media about some one's country people just get their panies in an uproar ...yes there is crime in the usa and no one tried to deny it..but this gnag is no diff then the MOB and if one can sit here and down play the intense violent ways of this group well yes we do know your country silvia has been a safe haven for nazi's has it not? lets not white wash what is and one question what does your job have to do with this when did this become personal? do run this group is this how you employ ppl in the usa when you sit in ARGENTINA? maybe this is a case of delusions of grandeur
Just felt i needed to commet..:)

Anonymous said...
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silviaterigi said...

who said i m the one sit in argentina ,,, ? do you know about business and management in the global world ,, i dont need to explain ,,Gary knows me very well , anonymous , who ever you are , you dont have a clue what i helped to Gary with my limited english ,, and being in Argentina , where he would love to come.. do you want the recordings of him? .. dont attack my country for such a fool as Boaz , who has no idea , about the Nazi i suggest you get some books to read ,do you know the AMIA ? HERE ,,, Argentina was and is the heaven of many cultures , many inmigrants , EVERYONE .but it is the example of HUMAN RIGHTS , so please read more , before needing to comment with false information.
I know Gary too much than anyone who can write here , so please , just i made a point to his comment as we use to do and we discuss so far so good , thank you ,, very much

Boaz Frankel said...

Sylvia....I doubt if you know your local mailman let alone a congressman...lol. Argentina an example of human rights ??? In Argentina if you are arrested the police beat you half to death before you can see a lawyer lol.

Anonymous said...
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Silvia said...
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Boaz Frankel said...
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Silvia said...
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Anonymous said...

silva you stated where you are. What i know about international management and business has nothing to do with the topic being discussed nor do i care how well cary knows you or not. I was commenting on the topic at hand and i commented on your appeasement of this gang...
Clifford says "it would be dangerous to look at MS-13 as just another street gang." and you need to face facts..your country hide nazi's and they are still alive and well in YOUR country:) I also did not know one has to be friends with gary to post on his blog...my info is not false my info is from a fbi agent please read what i wrote again...or so i have to translate it to spanish?
thanks for you comments:)

Anonymous said...

correct of garys name GARY not CARY

Bob said...

I think we are all missing the point of the story. It took a lot of courage for this woman to stand up to a bunch of thugs, and I for one applaud her.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Boaz Frankel said...

Sylvia missed the point..completely.....

Anonymous said...

bob i am not a thug i read garys post and i read all the other comments and i made my comments based on that...bob !

Anonymous said...

Silvia said...

i really laugh to that post , i guess who you are but you are so chicken need to be anonymous, i have all the proofs of what is going on here with people that try to threat ,
dont worry you will know soon in person
thank you !
is this a threat? give me a break..lol this is getting childish silvia..really now is this what you teach ppl who u hire in the usa? since u r the expert of international management? hahahaha

Boaz Frankel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
silviaterigi said...

sorry if you missundestood , when i mean you will know soon in person , only Gary and his best friend who I respect allot knows what i refer to . in a very positive way . :)

thank you !
thank you Bob !

Boaz Frankel said...
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Aerial Epiphany - Ana from Florida said...

It is so brave of this woman to stand up to those MS-13 gang extortionists. Hopefully more people like her will stand up to those criminal minded individuals.

Jannhere said...

Its to bad MS13 was not stopped years ago. I dont understand why they are not considered terrorists. Gosh maybe if we had paid attention as to who is coming into our country. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

HELLO ALL, JUST COMPLETED READING ALL THESE LIVELY POSTS ON HERE. THE SUBJECT WAS THE BRAVE WOMAN IN HOUSTON, WHO STOOD UP TO M13 AND BROUGHT THEM DOWN BY GOING TO THE POLICE AND FBI. I HAVE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE ,AS TO WHAT GANGS CAN DO TO A CITY OF 30,000, RIGHT HERE IN HAZLETON PA. HAVING LIVED IN NORTH JERSEY BEFORE COMING TO PA , I WAS FAMILIAR WITH GANGS AND THEIR TERRORISTIC WORK, IN NJ AND NY. WHILE WORKING AS A VOLUNTEER IN CENTRAL HARLEM ON 146TH ST ,WITH A STORE FRONT COMMUNITY CENTER. 5.000 PEOPLE ON 1 SQUARE BLOCK.i WOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE, ALMOST ALL OF THEM GOOD. HOWEVER, ON 4 SEPARATE OCCASIONS I WAS HELD AT KNIFE POINT AND OR GUN POINT BY CITY THUGS FROM OFF THE BLOCK. AND EACH TIME,I WAS UNHARMED, AS i CALLED OUTLOUD, IN THE NAME OF JESUS , GET BEHIND ME SATAN.SO I DO KNOW FIRST HAND OF THE TERROR THAT GANGS CAN AND WILL CAUSE TO THE ORDINARY CITIZEN, JUST MINDING HER/HIS BUSINESS. NOW HERE IN HAZLETON pA ARE AT LEAST 5 GAngs including m13!!!!the NYC police in central harlem were amazed with my accounts and believed that i had magical powers! NO I JUST WAS THERE TO DO GOD;S WORK AND WALKED AMONG THESE PEOPLE UNAFRAID. I ONLY SHARE THIS, BECAUSE IT IS MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, AND WAS 1 MORE LESSON IN HUMAN RELATIONS BARBARA ERB jAMIE_38

Anonymous said...

Seems America brought over more then its share of former Nazi's scientists and bio engineers after WW2 to set up a 4th Reich and bring about WW3.

This time they have used many different nations, races and religions to further this agenda. Its hard to see much difference between now and then. Similarities of Germany had Fatherland Security/US has Homeland Security, Germany Reichstag fire/US 911, self inflicted wounds as a pretext for war. Enabling the Enemies Act/Patriot Act not to mention the Bush family's documented funding of Hitler's rise to power while a board member of Brown Brothers Harriman bank.

Those who know or pay no attention to history are doomed to repeat it. Who is more of a threat unchecked Govt or gangs? Only time will tell, or will both be used to further the break down of society and the economy as a pretext for martial law, to enable a merger of North American countries. Novus Ordo Seclorum (a new age has begun) after an Order out of Chaos.

Anonymous said...

Good blog Gary. It's unfortunate what has transpired in response to it. A misunderstanding turning into a personal attack was totally unnecessary. I was actually unaware of the MS-13 gang and their activities. Thank you Gary.

Anonymous said...

This seems rather irrelevant at this point, but don't any of you know that MS-13 originated in Los Angeles, USA? It wasn't until people of Salvadoran descent were deported back to El Salvador that the gang spread to Central (Latin) America. The gang mentality of MS-13 is distinctly American (as in USA.) By the way, I am Latino from California.