Real TalkOn March 22, Real Talk will feature the Houston Area Multi-Agency Gang Task Force, which investigates MS-13 gang activities such as homicide, extortion and racketeering.
Real Talk w/CJ: Houston Area Multi-Agency Gang Task Force
Wed, Mar 22, 2017
Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom
On March 1, two members of the MS-13 gang were charged with murder in the death of a 14-year old girl found lying in the road in Southwest Houston. Prosecutors said that the girl was kidnapped, sexual assaulted, and killed by members of the MS-13 gang as part of a satanic ritual.
This case is just one tragic piece of the gang activity in the region, which is combatted by the Houston Area Multi-Agency Gang Task Force. The task force includes the Houston Police Department; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Intelligence Services; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the U.S. Marshals Service, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Initiatives. Together with the U.S. Attorney and the Harris County District Attorney’s Special Crimes Bureau, they pursue investigation and prosecution of state and federal cases involving gangs, including extortion, murder, racketeering and many other crimes.
Members of a team that targets the M-13 gang will discuss their careers in their agencies and with the task force at the next Real Talk w/CJ. MS-13, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, is one of the largest criminal organizations in the world and has more than 6,000 members in 46 states in the country. Initiated in the Rampart area of Los Angeles near the Stapleton Center, the gang spread in Central America after its leaders were deported to El Salvador. It currently is estimated to have 30,000 members, mostly in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and the U.S.
Among the law enforcement agents to participate in Real Talk are:
- Jose D., a Houston Police Sergeant, who has been working on gang issues for 24 years. In addition to serving on the Task Force, Jose D. is a member of the Hostage Negotiation Team which responses to SWAT situations. He credits his training in hostage negotiation with teaching him active listening, a valuable tool in interviewing. Before joining HPD after graduation from Sam Houston State University, he was an intelligence officer at the Wynne Unit, working on the gangs at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
- Jorge O., a 7.5-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, is assigned to the Major Offenders Task Force targeting Central American gangs. He recently returned from a temporary assignment with the State Department in El Salvador assisting with the investigations of 50 police officers murdered in the line of duty in that country over the last two years. During his career, Jorge O. also worked for the Robbery Division and as an Investigative First Responder.