From http://www.wcnc.com by Sarah Hagen, August 28, 2015
Troubling new information has been released about a notoriously violent gang. Newly unsealed documents say M-S 13 is increasing its presence here in Charlotte– despite dozens of arrests by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.
MS-13 has been on federal radar for about 15 years now. FBI investigators say there’s been a rapid rise in MS-13 gang activity in our city. Earlier this year FBI agents in Charlotte arrested dozens of alleged gang members from the violent MS-13 street gang with indictments on charges of murder, racketeering and witness tampering.
“They are an international gang– probably the most violent in America,” said retired FBI Criminal Division Assistant Director Chris Swecker, who is no stranger to this topic.
He led the charge in 2006 when the FBI formed a national task force targeting MS-13.
“They were violent, killing witnesses in federal prosecutions– they use machetes.”
In the search warrants, it’s stated gang members had CMPD documents in their possession, names and addresses of officers, victims and witnesses, which were circled and crossed off with notes in Spanish.
FBI investigators say a 2008 roundup of gang members did have an impact but there are still young members attempting to reorganize.
“Sometimes when you disrupt the leadership you create leadership vacuums– younger members step up and get involved in violent confrontations,” said Swecker.
FBI officials say there are red flags to look for: gang colors: blue, black and white; the initials M-S; the number 13; or numbers that add up to 13, like 76 – that’s 7 plus 6.
Experts say it’s important to remain vigilant.
“We don’t want to become a place where gangs are well entrenched and dominate … they’ve been well contained up until now,” said Swecker.