Frederick County Sheriff Worried About Montco Gangs

Alan Suderman, Washington Examiner, November 2, 2009

Montgomery County’s relatively welcoming stance on illegal immigration may be attracting gangs that are causing problems for its stricter neighbor, said Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.

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He pointed to two recent armed robberies in Frederick by Montgomery County members of the Latin Kings, a notoriously violent street gang that typically has illegal immigrants as members, as examples of what he said could be a growing problem.

In an August armed robbery of the Philly Cheesesteak Factory on Urbana Pike, one of the robbers hit a victim in the head with a hammer, police said. And a store owner was shot at after an armed robbery by some of the same suspects nine days later in Point of Rocks, according to news accounts.

The suspects then fled to Montgomery County, where three were caught soon after, police said. Criminal investigators later obtained indictments against four teenagers and a 20-year-old who police say were involved in one or both robberies.

Jenkins said he was concerned that the Montgomery County Police Department’s policies could be making the county an attractive base for violent gangs to commit crimes in neighboring Frederick.

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Montgomery County allows its officers to contact ICE only if they arrest someone for violent or handgun-related crimes and not based on an “individual’s legal status and/or perceived gang affiliation.” No such limits exist for Frederick County sheriff’s deputies.

Montgomery County’s rank-and-file police officers are “disgusted” at what they perceive to be a politically motivated immigration policy that ties their hands as law enforcement officials, according to Walt Bader, past president of the Fraternal Order of Police union.

A report issued by Northern Virginia law enforcement officials last week said anecdotal evidence suggested that anti-gang policing measures in Virginia, including referring suspected illegal immigrants to ICE, had led to gangs fleeing to Maryland and the District, where immigration enforcement isn’t as strict.

But Montgomery County officials and immigrants rights groups argue that aggressive immigration tactics by local police departments lead to a loss of trust from immigrants, the vast majority of whom aren’t in gangs.

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The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force just released a report which claims that due to tougher laws and a concerted effort by law enforcement, many illegal alien gangs are leaving Virginia for the safe havens of Maryland.

The report said: “Many gang members from Northern Virginia are moving or driving to Prince George’s and other Maryland counties, into the District of Columbia or further south and west into Virginia to avoid dealing with police departments that are unrelenting in their efforts to keep gangs under control.”

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However, as a direct result of Maryland’s continued lax attitude toward illegal immigration, the state’s sanctuary cities, and lack of cooperation with federal authorities, violent crimes committed by illegal aliens have recently soared.

Maryland is also one of a handful of states which issues driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Additionally, the Maryland State Board of Education recently announced that they will not allow county school districts to count the number of illegal alien students registered in their respective districts.

Several high profile murders committed by illegal aliens in Montgomery County, MD forced city officials to change their policy in reporting criminal aliens to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, as Judicial Watch recently pointed-out, Montgomery County police only report illegal aliens to the feds when they have been arrested for a very serious crime such as rape or murder.

Illegal aliens arrested for burglary, simple assault, and most weapons violations are still not reported to ICE for deportation. {snip}

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According to the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office, there are 40 active gangs in Montgomery County with a total of about 1,150 members.

Chief of the FBI’s MS-13 National Gang Task Force, Aaron Escorza recently said that gangs “know what law enforcement is doing. Word of mouth spreads quickly.” Illegal alien gangs are now spreading the word that Maryland is part of the “wild wild East.”

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The Congressional Research Service has listed the following cities and counties that have “don’t ask, don’t tell” sanctuary policies in place:

-Anchorage, Alaska

-Fairbanks, Alaska

-Chandler, Arizona

-Tucson, Arizona

-Fresno, California

-Los Angeles, California

-San Bernardino, California

-San Diego, California

-San Jose, California

-Sonoma County, California

-Denver, Colorado

-Durango, Colorado

-Lafayette, Colorado

-Chicago, Illinois

-Cicero, Illinois

-Evanston, Illinois

-Cambridge, Massachusetts

-Orleans, Massachusetts

-Portland, Maine

-Baltimore, Maryland

-Takoma Park, Maryland

-Ann Arbor, Michigan

-Detroit, Michigan

-Minneapolis, Minnesota

-Durham, North Carolina

-Albuquerque, New Mexico

-Aztec, New Mexico

-Rio Ariba County, New Mexico

-Santa Fe, New Mexico

-Rio Arriba County, New Mexico

-Sante Fe, New Mexico

-New York, New York

-Ashland, Oregon

-Gaston, Oregon

-Marion County, Oregon

-Austin, Texas

-El Cenizo, Texas

-Houston, Texas

-Katy, Texas

-Seattle, Washington

-Madison, Wisconsin.

Both Alaska and Oregon have state-wide policies that forbid state agencies from using resources to enforce federal immigration law. Oregon law, however, does provide an exception to allow law enforcement officers to share information on immigration status with federal authorities with those arrested for criminal offenses.

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