How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating the MS-13 Gang

May 15, 2017 Topic: Security Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: MarylandMS-13GangsViolenceLifestyleImmigration

How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating the MS-13 Gang

The Trump administration repeatedly has invoked the threat of MS-13, making the gang a central focus of its effort to enforce immigration laws aggressively.

One of the things I have been trying to emphasize is that the community’s silence is the gang’s strength.

Q: The Trump administration has pledged to aggressively target MS-13 and to deport its members. Can tougher immigration enforcement help combat MS-13 in Montgomery County?

A: I don’t really want to go there. But I will say, clearly, if you look not only at Montgomery County, but other law enforcement agencies across the U.S. that have large immigrant populations, they have all taken the same stance that it’s hard enough for the community to come forward to tell us activities that are going on with the gang.

If that same community also fears they will be deported if they come forward, that is just one other factor that prevents us from getting an understanding of what is going on in those communities, and it’s one more reason for the community not to go forward.

Q: How would you assess the progress you have made in combating MS-13? Do you think MS-13 will always have a presence in Montgomery County?

A: I think we are in a good place right now. Some of the things the [Trump] administration has been talking about have been ongoing in Montgomery County and the greater D.C. area.

We are using all our resources at the local and federal level to go after MS-13. The violence, it’s clear to us that it is something that can’t be tolerated in the community.

I don’t know if we can totally eliminate MS-13, but you can target the gang and its hierarchy and put pressure on them.

With every successful prosecution and case we bring that tells [MS-13] that they can’t continue to operate the way they have, we are sending the message that law enforcement won’t tolerate this.

The more successful we have community participation in some of these prosecutions, the more that will help us as well. When the greater community comes forward and says, “Look, we have had enough and we will come to the police to help,” that is a positive sign as well.

This first appeared in The Daily Signal here.