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Saturday, 26 April 2008

Sur 13's and the Norte 14's identified as the most violent in Port Arthur.

Port Arthur police report that 6 of the most violent gang members are now in custody with the Texas Youth Commission awaiting trial on various charges. Port Arthur Police say they're not only using manpower, but technology and federal resources to combat a growing gang problem. Sur 13's and the Norte 14's. They are Hispanic gangs police have identified as the most violent in the city.A major development in the war against drugs in Port Arthur is the police department's close working relationship with federal agents.. both Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Immigration and Customs.Since many of the gang members are not legal citizens, Port Arthur police provide federal agents with the evidence they need to deport them as quickly as possible. Hispanic gang Sur 13, or Sorenos 13, which means south, originated in Southern California."Sur 13 is real violent," said Sgt. Gaspard. "They've been doing everything from robberies to assaults."A quick internet search turns up a wealth of information about the original gang and its rival, Norte 14, which originated in Northern California. Gang members postedthe video.
Both are operating in Port Arthur, and the majority of Nortes are surprisingly young. Many are in their early to mid teens - some even younger."These kids are usually starting at 8, 9, 10 years old, and it's usually influenced by an older brother, older cousin or a neighbor," said Sgt. Gaspard."This is a classic sign," said Ofc. Mike Hebert. "All the stop signs you see start popping up with '14' all over the place."Ofc. Mike Hebert and Heather Primm, two Street Crimes officers, are taking us to a Hispanic neighborhood where the gangs thrive."The majority of the people there are good, hard working people," said Ofc. Hebert. "Even though a lot of them are illegal immigrants, they still want to live the American dream."But Hebert says about ten percent of the illegals here bring their vices from Mexico with them, primarily drugs and gangsHow are people affected by these gangs infiltrating their neighborhoods? You don't have to look very far to find out. One house has been shot up seven times in recent years."You're sitting at your dinner table and all of a sudden you hear gunshots and stuff," said Johnnie Constanzo.Johnnie Constanzo has been living here 30 years. He refuses to leave, even though his house has been the target of seven drive by shootings. So far, no one has been hurt."I've been here all my life, made Port Arthur my home, and I'm going to let some punks, thugs run me out? I'm not going to move somewhere else only for this to happen there," said Constanzo. "I'm going to stand my ground."Friday night at 6 we'll find out what unusual method Port Arthur Police used to solve this most recent drive by shooting in only a matter of days.You'll also see how the gang unit is using technology to help battle the problem, and why its close relationship with federal agents is so important.Why are these young people interested in gangs in the first place? What's in it for them?In Port Arthur, it's more to attain social status than anything else. In fact, police tell us many of the teenagers have after-school jobs and wait until they get off work to commit crimes, primarily burglaries, to get guns they can't get anywhere else.But it starts at a very early age. One of the most disturbing pictures police showed us is one of a young girl who couldn't be more than three or four, and someone has already started dressing her in gang colors.
Port Arthur Police tell us they expect the gangs to begin moving north into the relatively quiet areas of mid-Jefferson County.


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