Smuggling Mexico DEA ICE FDA[2015 Drug Threat Assessment  Continued from Part 78]

United States Justice Department Drug Enforcement Administration 

DEA Releases 2015 Drug Threat Assessment Transnational Criminal Organizations Mexican Dominican Columbian Asian

The US Drug Enforcement Administration 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) is a comprehensive report of the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs, the nonmedical use of CPDs, [Controlled Prescription Drugs] , money laundering, TCOs [Transnational Criminal Organization] , gangs , smuggling, seizures, investigations, arrests, drug purity or potency, and drug prices, in order to provide the most accurate data possible to policymakers, law enforcement authorities, and intelligence officials.

Part 79 United States Drug Enforcement Administration  Releases 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary  by Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations, Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations, Gangs, Cartels Active, Suburban and Rural Traffickers, numerous Bandas Criminales or Criminal Bands (BACRIM), Cali, Medellin, and Norte del Valle Cartels, and demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP)ii and the United Self-Defense Groups (AUC) , US Department of State Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (DFTO), Arellano-Felix Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation ,Border Brothers, California Mexican Mafia, Florencia 13 ,Logan Heights Gang, Sureños, Gulf Cartel Bloods, Crips, Emi, Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos, MS-13, Partido Revolucionario Mexicano,  Raza Unida, Texas Syndicate, Juarez Cartel (VCF Organization),Barrio Azteca, La Familia Michoacán, Eme  Los Cholos, Murder Inc., MS-13 , Sureños , Tango Blast.

Transnational Criminal Organizations

Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations

Mexican TCOs pose the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them. These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks. They control drug trafficking across the Southwest Border and are moving to expand their presence in the United States, particularly in heroin markets.

Mexican Cartels, Sinaloa, Gulf, Los Zetas, Los Caballeros Templarios, Jalisco Nueva Generacion, Juarez, Beltran-Leyva, La Familia Michoacana

Source: DEA

Boston, Massachusetts: Many of the local distribution groups are increasingly dealing with and receiving cocaine directly from Mexican organizations based in states such as Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Chicago, Illinois: Mexican TCOs pose the most significant threat. During 2014, Mexican organizations continued to dominate the wholesale distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, Mexico-produced marijuana, and heroin (both Mexican black tar and South American heroin) in Chicago.

Los Angeles, California: Mexican TCOs use the Los Angeles area as a strategic hub to facilitate the movement of drugs north and west, while also using Los Angeles for the subsequent smuggling of drug proceeds in the form of bulk cash back to Mexico.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Mexican TCOs are showing increasing interest in establishing distribution hubs in northeastern US cities such as Philadelphia. Intelligence indicates these TCOs may wish to bypass traditional hubs in the southeastern United States due to law enforcement pressure.

Mexican Cartels Active in the United States Transnational Criminal Organizations

In 2014, based on active law enforcement cases, the following major Mexican TCOs are operating in the United States: the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO), New Generation Jalisco Cartel (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación or CJNG) the Los Cuinis, Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo or CDG), Juarez Cartel, Michoacán Family (La Familia Michoacána or LFM), Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios or LCT), Los Zetas, and the Sinaloa Cartel. While all of these Mexican TCOs transport wholesale quantities of illicit drugs into the United States, the Sinaloa

Cartel appears to be the most active supplier. The Sinaloa Cartel leverages its expansive resources and dominance in Mexico to facilitate the smuggling and transportation of drugs throughout the United States.

Map 2 reflects data from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) program to depict the areas of influence in the United States for major Mexican cartels.

The CJNG (CJNG leadership had not been designated as a CPOT as of November 2014, therefore it is not depicted on this map) is quickly becoming one of the most powerful TCOs in Mexico and in some cases rivals Sinaloa Cartel trafficking operations in Asia, Europe, and Oceania. The CJNG by virtue of its growing power continues to expand its trafficking operations to the United States, with law enforcement increasingly reporting CJNG members and associates as sources of supply for drugs in the United States. Los Cuinis, an affiliate group of CJNG, provided the initial funding to facilitate the rise of CJNG.

(U) Map 2. United States: Areas of Influence of major Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations within DEA Field Division Areas of Responsibility Transnational Criminal Organizations

Regional Dominant Cartel Field Offices color coded

Source: DEA

Operational Structure in the United States

While operating in the United States, Mexican TCOs actively seek to maintain low profiles and avoid violent confrontations between rival TCOs or US law enforcement.

Mexican TCO operations in the United States typically take the form of a supply chain system that functions on an as-needed basis. The system relies on compartmentalized operators in the supply chain who are only aware of their own specific function, and remain unaware of all other aspects of the operation. In most instances, transporters for the drug shipments are independent third parties who work for more than one Mexican TCO. Since operators in the supply chain are insulated from one another, if a transporter is arrested the transporter is easily replaced and unable to reveal the rest of the network to law enforcement.

The foundation of Mexican TCO operations in the United States is comprised of extended family and friends. Families affiliated with various Mexican TCOs in Mexico vouch for US-based relatives or friends that are deemed trustworthy enough to help run various aspects of the drug trafficking operations in the United States. Actual members of Mexican TCOs are usually sent to important US hub cities to manage stash houses containing drug shipments and bulk cash drug proceeds.

• Mexican TCOs serve primarily as wholesale suppliers of drugs and work with local US-based gangs for distribution. The US-based gangs maintain power in their territories and control retail drug markets.

Trafficking Methods

Mexican TCOs transport the bulk of their drugs over the Southwest Border through ports of entry (POEs) using passenger vehicles or tractor trailers. The drugs are typically secreted in hidden compartments when transported in passenger vehicles or comingled with legitimate goods when transported in tractor trailers. Once across the Southwest Border, the drugs are transported to stash houses in hub cities such as Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, and then transported via these same conveyances to distribution groups in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

Los Angeles, California: From Los Angeles, tractor trailers transport cocaine to Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. The Sinaloa Cartel employs drivers who are older US citizens to drive tractor trailers because they believe they draw less attention from law enforcement than younger drivers in passenger vehicles.

Phoenix, Arizona: In Arizona, transportation and smuggling activities also occur between the POEs in remote, inhospitable desert valleys separated by rugged mountainous terrain. One such location is the West Desert corridor, which is a sparsely populated area ideal for smuggling, as transportation groups use off-road vehicles, backpackers, and all terrain vehicles to move large amounts of marijuana for transport to the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas for further distribution. These transportation groups use lookouts and scouts on elevated locations to direct their cross-border smuggling activities with advanced radio communications to avoid law enforcement detection and apprehension.

Mexican TCOs also smuggle drugs across the Southwest Border using other methods. Marijuana is occasionally trafficked through subterranean tunnels connected to a network of safe houses on both the Mexico and the US sides of the border. Mexican TCOs also transport marijuana via commercial cargo trains and on small boats, often referred to as “pangas,” from the West Coast of Baja California north to the central California coast. Finally, Mexican TCOs have also transported drugs across the Southwest Border using ultralight aircraft.


2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary

Transnational Criminal Organization Mexican Traffickers Moving Into Suburban and Rural Areas

Law enforcement reporting indicates some Mexican trafficking organizations within the United States are relocating from major metropolitan areas to establish bases of operation in suburban or rural areas. Traffickers are relocating because they feel they can better conceal their operations in an area where law enforcement does not expect to find large trafficking organizations operating or are not accustomed to dealing with such organizations. The relocation also makes it difficult for large federal law enforcement agencies to target these organizations because the traffickers are removed from the federal agencies’ bases of operation in large cities. This trend has been noted by law enforcement in Dallas, San Francisco, eastern Washington State, western Colorado, and parts of North Carolina.


Mexican TCOs will continue to dominate the trafficking of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States. There are no other organizations at this time with the infrastructure and power to challenge Mexican TCOs for control of the US drug market.

Mexican TCOs will continue to serve primarily as wholesale suppliers of drugs to the United States to distance themselves from US law enforcement. Mexican TCOs will continue to rely on US-based gangs to distribute drugs at the retail level.

Colombian Transnational Criminal Organizations Transnational Criminal Organizations

Trafficking Activities

Colombian TCOs supply wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin, primarily to Northeast drug markets. Typically, Colombian traffickers provide cocaine and heroin to Mexican and Dominican organizations outside the United States, which then assume responsibility for further transportation and distribution. Historically, Colombian TCOs dominated the cocaine and heroin markets in the Midwest and on the East Coast; however, Mexican TCOs continue to establish their control over many of these drug markets and are increasingly serving as sources of supply for the Colombian organizations.

Boston, Massachusetts: Colombian TCOs in New England continue to receive cocaine directly from Mexican organizations along the Southwest Border. In addition, multiple offices in the New England area report that Colombian organizations are still directly involved in wholesale distribution of powder and crack cocaine.

New York City, New York: Colombian organizations transport cocaine into New York City and serve as a primary source of wholesale quantities of cocaine. However, Mexican and Dominican trafficking organizations dominate the transportation of cocaine throughout the rest of New York State, limiting the role of Colombian organizations. Colombian organizations are also prominent transporters and distributors of wholesale quantities of heroin in New York City.

Colombian TCOs have increased their drug trafficking through the Caribbean over the past three years. By moving cocaine through the Caribbean, Colombian TCOs avoid inter-cartel violence in Mexico, increased law enforcement presence in Mexico and at the Southwest Border, and rising pressure against the Mexican drug cartels. Colombian, Dominican, and Puerto Rican organizations also traffic cocaine and heroin through Puerto Rico. In addition, some reporting indicates an increase in Colombian TCOs operating out of the Dominican Republic.

Miami, Florida: Colombian TCOs use Florida, specifically Miami and Orlando, as the point of arrival for South American cocaine and heroin transshipped through the Caribbean. Typically, cocaine shipments arrive in South Florida through a variety of maritime and airborne shipping methods, including commercial air passengers, commercial air cargo, airborne smuggling on private aircraft, maritime containerized cargo, and maritime conveyances such as speedboats, fishing vessels, and private luxury yachts. While there

have been reported instances of commingled heroin and cocaine shipments in 2014, the two drugs are generally shipped separately.

Organizational Structure

The Colombian drug trade in 2014 was dominated by numerous Bandas Criminales or Criminal Bands (BACRIM) whose members include the remnants of the Cali, Medellin, and Norte del Valle Cartels, and demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP)ii and the United Self-Defense Groups (AUC) associates. The BACRIMs engage in numerous, non-drug-related criminal activities, such as extortion and debt collection. Successful Colombian law enforcement operations since 2011 have neutralized many Colombian BACRIM leaders, while other BACRIMs have been co-opted by more powerful groups. Los Urabeños has emerged from this landscape as the largest, most powerful BACRIM and is currently assessed to be one of the major Colombian organizations supplying large quantities of illicit drugs to the United States. However, increased law enforcement attention and continued pressure from rival groups will challenge its ability to retain its position.

Moving forward, Colombian BACRIMs may continue to devolve into smaller, regionally-based groups with limited power and influence, and seek to further diversify their criminal activities. Currently, the BACRIMs continue to supply US markets with multi-ton quantities of cocaine and significant quantities of heroin. Colombian TCOs continue to serve as wholesale sources of supply for cocaine along the East Coast into key distribution hubs; however, they rely on third parties, primarily Mexican TCOs, for distribution throughout the United States. This is apparent in Mexican TCOs’ continued expansion into markets that were formerly controlled by Colombian TCOs. Similarly, Colombian TCOs along the East Coast are supplying Dominican traffickers, who then are in charge of further transportation and distribution.

While the BACRIM are involved in the production and transportation of cocaine to Central America and the Caribbean, the FARC-EP are increasingly working with Mexican TCOs to smuggle ton quantities of cocaine into the United States. Investigative reporting indicates a working relationship between multiple FARC fronts and Mexican TCOs, including the Los Zetas, BLO, CJNG, and the Sinaloa Cartel to transport cocaine into the United States.

The FARC is a US Department of State Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (DFTO). Transnational Criminal Organizations

Despite their lack of a traditional cartel structure, Colombian TCOs continue to have a presence in the United States along the East Coast. DEA reporting revealed a connection between Colombian TCOs operating in Colombia and Mexican TCOs. These reports detailed a business relationship between Los Urabeños and the FARC to distribute cocaine into the United States through Mexican TCOs. Inside of the United States, both Sinaloa and Juarez Cartel networks are used to transport and distribute the cocaine throughout the eastern United States.

Dominican Trafficking Organizations Transnational Criminal Organizations

Trafficking Activities Transnational Criminal Organizations

Dominican trafficking organizations are primarily active in the transportation and distribution of cocaine and heroin in cities along the East Coast. Dominican traffickers typically serve as cocaine and heroin distributors for Mexican and Colombian trafficking organizations.

Boston, Massachusetts: Dominican traffickers continue to dominate heroin distribution in the region. Local Dominican traffickers acquire heroin from Mexican sources on the Southwest Border, Dominican sources in New York, and South American sources via mail.

New Jersey: Dominican traffickers handle retail-level distribution of cocaine for Colombian TCOs and also supply local street gangs, who handle street-level distribution. Dominican organizations smuggle heroin into the United States by couriers who conceal heroin bundles on their persons, in their apparel, or in their luggage and then board commercial flights into Newark Liberty International Airport.

New York: Dominican traffickers are the dominant retail distributors of cocaine in the New York metropolitan area. Reporting also indicates Colombian and Mexican TCOs rely on Dominican traffickers to assist in the transportation of heroin throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Dominican trafficking organizations use couriers to smuggle heroin directly into John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York City from the Dominican Republic.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Local Dominican organizations dominate the mid-level distribution of cocaine and often bridge the gap between Philadelphia-based criminal organizations and Dominican sources of supply in New York.

Dominican trafficking organizations are involved in the diversion of CPDs. Reports from Atlanta, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia indicate Dominican traffickers engage in the diversion of CPDs. They typically traffic oxycodone, in response to the demand for opiates.

Boston, Massachusetts: Investigations indicate Dominican criminal organizations distribute hundreds of thousands of CPDs annually in the New England area. Some Dominican traffickers receive oxycodone shipments from Dominican counterparts based in New York City.

Organizational Structure

Dominican trafficking organizations typically operate under an organized hierarchical structure. The leader of a Dominican trafficking organization controls multiple cells, each comprised of approximately five individuals. These subordinates are typically friends and family members who are also ethnic Dominicans. This reliance on family reinforces the tightly organized structure of Dominican trafficking organizations, which produces efficient command and control capabilities.

Asian Trafficking Organizations Transnational Criminal Organizations

Asian TCOs operate mainly on the West Coast, but are increasingly spreading their operations throughout the United States. Asian TCOs are responsible for trafficking a variety of drugs, primarily marijuana and MDMA, with smaller-scale dealings in cocaine and methamphetamine. Asian TCOs engage in a variety of other illicit and violent crimes such as arms trafficking, assault, auto theft, cybercrime, money laundering, and murder.

Dallas, Texas: Hydroponic and traditional marijuana indoor grow houses are prevalent in the Dallas area, operated by Laotian and Vietnamese TCOs. The indoor grow operations are complex, with grows in multiple stages, allowing for frequent harvests of mature marijuana plants.

Seattle, Washington: In May 2014, several search warrants were executed at residential locations targeting a large-scale Vietnamese TCO directing several indoor marijuana grow operations in residential homes. Law enforcement officials seized 1,154 marijuana plants, and arrested four TCO members.

Asian TCOs dominate the US market as the primary suppliers of MDMA in each region. MDMA is imported from China to Canada, or produced in Canada, and then smuggled into the United States, or smuggled directly into the United States via mail services. Asian TCOs traffic MDMA in both tablet and powder form.

Los Angeles, California: In May 2014, officers conducted a routine traffic stop and discovered 1,500 MDMA tablets in the vehicle. Members of an Asian TCO were transporting the MDMA tablets from California to Las Vegas. The TCO purchases MDMA in thousand-tablet quantities from Canada.

New Orleans, Louisiana: The New Orleans area continues to see wholesale quantities of MDMA trafficked by Asian TCOs. These TCOs primarily distribute MDMA in coastal communities and travel to Houston to obtain MDMA from larger distributors.

Washington, DC: Canada-based Asian TCOs continue to import wholesale quantities of MDMA—in tablet and powder forms—into the Washington, DC, area. In addition to importation from Canada, MDMA also enters the US via mail services from China.

Asian TCOs also traffic cocaine and methamphetamine, although in smaller quantities than marijuana and MDMA. Asian TCOs typically obtain ounce or gram quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexican sources of supply; in some cases, these groups obtain kilogram quantities.

Los Angeles, California: Asian TCOs in and around Orange County routinely receive bulk quantities of powder cocaine from sources of supply in Mexico. Asian TCOs, primarily Vietnamese, also convert powder cocaine into crack cocaine within their residences.

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: California-based Asian TCOs traffic ounce and pound quantities of methamphetamine using mail services.

Portland, Maine: Asian TCOs are working with Somali, Sudanese, and African American groups to distribute powder cocaine and crack cocaine in the Portland, Maine area.

Other Criminal Activity

Asian TCOs are involved in a variety of illicit and violent activities in addition to drug trafficking. Asian TCOs traffic weapons such as assault rifles, sub-machine guns, and pistols throughout the United States; these guns are sold for cash or traded in exchange for drugs. Asian TCOs are involved in human and sex trafficking, particularly young girls, from Asian countries into Mexico and into the United States. Asian TCOs also engage in various forms of computer fraud and cybercrime, and commit acts of credit card and identity fraud, as well as money laundering. These TCOs also commit neighborhood crimes such as home burglaries and automobile theft. In addition, Asian TCOs engage in violent crimes such as assaults, drive-by shootings, and murder.

(U) Seizure of Two Kilograms of MDMAi n New Orleans Transnational Criminal Organizations

EMS China

(U) Photo 1. Two kilogram package of MDMA seized.

Photo Source: DEA

In March 2014, DEA’s New Orleans Tactical Diversion Squad seized two kilograms of MDMA (See Photo 1) from a Chinese source of supply during a controlled delivery to a Vietnamese restaurant. Upon receipt of the package, the suspect, an employee of the restaurant, was observed writing something on the parcel and then leaving it behind at the bar. The suspect returned the following afternoon and, when detained, confessed that he had been instructed to write “Return to Sender” on the package upon receipt and then abandon it. This trafficking technique was intended to prevent law enforcement from associating or charging the package recipient with acceptance of drugs in the case of an immediate seizure upon delivery, and allows for a recipient to apply plausible deniability of a drug shipment. If there is no immediate seizure, the recipient will retrieve the package after a brief time.

Organizational Structure Transnational Criminal Organizations

Asian TCOs operate throughout the United States with concentrations on the East and West Coasts. Asia-based criminal groups partner with and recruit Asian-Americans in US immigrant communities to

[7] exploit US markets while blending in with existing communities. These groups continue to grow and are particularly expanding in communities in California where growth in the number of Asian immigrants has been the greatest. Many Asian TCOs seek to emulate the style and clothing worn by African American and Hispanic gangs.

Asian TCOs tend to prioritize financial gain over other incentives and may travel outside of their established territories, even across state lines, to conduct operations. A distinguishing feature of Asian TCOs is the lack of stigma attached to social mobility; many members pursue higher education or professional careers.

Gangs Transnational Criminal Organizations

State, local, and federal law enforcement reporting indicates that gangs continue to expand, develop, and grow more sophisticated in their criminal enterprises. The National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) assesses that the US gang composition is approximately 88 percent street gang members, 9.5 percent prison gang members, and 2.5 percent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG) members. There are approximately 1.4 million active street, prison, and OMG gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs in the United States. Though gangs are involved in a multitude of criminal activities, street-level drug trafficking and distribution continues to be their main source of revenue, and they commit violent crimes, such as robbery, assault, threats, and intimidation, in furtherance of those ends. To a lesser degree, gangs also engage in lower-risk crimes, such as prostitution, counterfeiting, extortion, and tax fraud to supplement their profits.

Gulfport, Mississippi: In February 2014, a joint federal, state, and local law enforcement operation disrupted a violent cocaine trafficking organization that was operating throughout Forrest and Lamar Counties in Mississippi, with the arrest of five Black Gangster Disciples (BGD) members. According to reporting, members of the BGD routinely committed violent crimes in the area, to include armed home invasions and commercial robberies, burglary, aggravated assault with a weapon, and firearms violations in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities.

Sacramento, California: In August 2014, federal indictments were issued against members of the Vagos OMG for conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute methamphetamine. The investigation targeted three Sacramento-area chapters of the Vagos that were involved in the distribution of methamphetamine, the purchase of illegal weapons, and the trafficking of stolen motorcycles.

Gang Collaboration

Street gangs are generally structured along racial, ethnic, or geographical lines, and, historically, the rivalry between gangs and the competition for territory has spurred incidents of violence and murder. Today, in an effort to expand their criminal enterprises and increase profits, many gangs are establishing mutually beneficial relationships to further their criminal activities.

California: In February 2014, a multi-agency investigation involving the DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) into the gun and methamphetamine-trafficking activities of individuals with ties to the Oriental Killer Boys, the Oriental Mob Crips, the Viet Boys, the Tiny Oriental Crips, the Logan Heights Calle Treinta, and Linda Vista Crips culminated with the arrest of 45 persons. The illegal trafficking operation reached from California to Minnesota, Hawaii, and Guam.

Gangs Nationwide

Street gangs continue to expand nationwide to increase profit and attain dominance in the drug trade, to establish new territory, and to seek legitimate employment to supplement their illicit income. Gangs have now migrated to every major city in the country, where they continue to perpetuate crime and violence.

Los Angeles, California: The California Attorney General’s Office reports that in Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies have identified over 10,000 gang members and 500 gangs. In August 2013, there were approximately 186,000 gang members and approximately 4,900 gangs in California, making the state one of the most gang-dense states in the country.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: In 2013, the Philadelphia Police Department Criminal Intelligence Unit identified approximately 169 gangs operating within the city and in the immediate suburbs, representing an increase of over 76 percent from 2009 figures. These gangs are known to control heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drug distribution.

Fresno, California: The Fresno Bulldogs street gang is the largest Hispanic gang operating in central California, with membership estimated at 5,000 to 6,000. The street-level distribution of crack, methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin is a primary source of income for the gang members, who are also involved in assault, burglary, homicide, and robbery.

Gangs and Social Media Transnational Criminal Organizations

Gangs continue to adapt to changing social and economic conditions, using new technologies to advance their criminal activities and evade law enforcement. Gang members routinely use social networking sites to further their illicit operations— such as drug trafficking, extortion, identity theft, money laundering, and prostitution—threaten rivals, showcase their gang activities, recruit new members, expose informants, and monitor law enforcement.

Prince George’s County, Maryland: In September 2013, the Prince George’s County, Maryland PD reported local Mara Salvatrucha (MS)-13 members were conducting surveillance, using digital cameras in mobile phones, of law enforcement officers to determine how close a gang member could get to an officer before the officer noticed or confronted him.

(U) Gang Terminology Transnational Criminal Organizations

The term “Gang” refers to a group of three or more individuals, whose members collectively use a group identity of a common name, slogan, tattoo, style or color of clothing, or hand sign, and the purpose of their association is to engage in criminal activity and use violence or intimidation to further their criminal objectives.

The term “Prison Gang” refers to a criminal organization that originated within the penal system and has continued to operate within correctional facilities throughout the United States. Prison gangs are self-perpetuating criminal entities that can continue their operations outside the confines of the penal system.

The term “Outlaw Motorcycle Gang” refers to highly-structured organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises, such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking. There are more than 300 active OMGs in the United States.

Prison Gangs Transnational Criminal Organizations

Typically, a prison gang consists of a select group of inmates who have an organized hierarchy, who are governed by an established code of conduct, and who are structured along racial or ethnic lines with the major racial categories of African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic. The primary prison gangs in federal and state prison systems are the Aryan Brotherhood (AB), the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), the California Mexican Mafia (“Eme”), the Texas Mexican Mafia (occasionally referenced as TMM but more commonly known as “Emi;” not to be confused with Eme), the Nuestra Familia (NF), and the Texas Syndicate (TS). All of these gangs are highly active and influential in correctional facilities at state and federal levels nationwide, as well as participating in criminal activity on the streets once they have been released. The smuggling of contraband, such as drugs, weapons, and cell phones, into prisons furthers the gangs’ money-making activities both inside and outside of the facilities.

Baltimore, Maryland: BGF members, along with corrections officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center, were charged in a wide-ranging drug smuggling plot, in which inmates and corrections officers worked together to smuggle drugs and cell phones into the jail.

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs)

According to the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC), law enforcement reporting indicates that OMGs are considered a lower threat to public safety when compared to street or prison gangs, primarily due to lower OMG membership numbers. However, the threat to communities increases in areas of the country where OMGs are attempting to expand into rival territory. OMGs in the Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northwest regions present a significant threat. Despite their smaller numbers, OMGs continue to be problematic due to the solid organizational structure, criminal sophistication, and their use of violence to further their criminal activities and protect their interests.

• In June 2014, members of the rival OMGs Wheels of Soul and the Pagans engaged in a violent brawl at a Pennsylvania park, where citizens were also holding graduation parties, baby showers, and birthday parties. Gunshots were fired, and although no one was struck, two gang members were hospitalized, one after being hit in the head with an ax handle.

• In December 2014, four members of the Hells Angels were arrested on suspicion of drugs and firearms possession after leaving a Christmas toy drive in Ventura County, CA. Loaded firearms, brass knuckles, and methamphetamine were confiscated during the arrests.

Based on information provided to the NGIC by law enforcement, OMG members or associates have been employed, or attempted to seek employment, with military, law enforcement, corrections, and judiciary agencies to acquire training and get access to weapons and sensitive information.

• OMG members or associates who have been employed with the military or have attempted such employment include: the Bandidos, Devils Disciples, Hells Angels, Iron Horsemen, Mongols, Outlaws, Pagans, Sin City Disciples, Vagos and Warlocks.

• OMG members or associates who have been employed with law enforcement or have attempted such employment include: the Diablos and Hells Angels. Employment with law enforcement most commonly occurs through non-sworn civilian positions.

Though drug trafficking continues to provide the biggest source of revenue for OMGs, many gangs appear to also be diversifying their activities to include crimes with a potential for low-risk detection and high-profit gains. These sources of revenue can include prostitution or human trafficking, mortgage and tax fraud, and the production and sale of counterfeit goods, to include such items as designer clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, cosmetics, DVDs, electronics, and medicine.

• According to open source reporting, the president of the Kansas City chapter of the Sons of Silence was sentenced to federal prison for a 2014 indictment charging him with transporting a child victim across state lines to engage in prostitution.

• In January 2013, an indictment was filed in the Southern District of Indiana charging 51 individuals associated with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club with a wide variety of offenses, including racketeering, mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, drug charges, wire fraud, witness tampering, and operating an illegal gambling operations.

According to the NGIC, some OMGs collaborate with transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) in Mexico and Central America. Although these relationships vary in nature, most are based on gang and TCO alliances, geographic convenience money-making opportunities, and business efficiency. Their criminal enterprises include such activities as drug trafficking, extortion, enforcement, debt collection, and money laundering.

• Law enforcement reporting in 2013 indicated the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington, which lies in close proximity to the Canadian border, allows for a constant flow of drug trafficking throughout the reservation. TCOs transport cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine north and south through the area, aided by Hispanic gangs and OMGs, such as the Bandidos.

• Based on NGIC reporting, the Bandidos OMG has been known to partner with the Los Zetas Mexican TCO in furtherance of their criminal activities.

Gangs and Controlled Prescription Drugs Transnational Criminal Organizations

                  Street gang members have capitalized on the increased CPD abuse problem in the United States by trafficking prescription opioids, specifically hydrocodone and oxycodone. Numerous methods are used to obtain the drugs, including unscrupulous physicians, pill mills, prescription fraud, robbery, and burglary.

Gangs and Cartels Transnational Criminal Organizations

National-level gangs and neighborhood gangs continue to form relationships with Mexican TCOs to increase profits for the gangs through drug distribution and transportation, for the enforcement of drug payments, and for protection of drug transportation corridors from use by rival gangs. Law enforcement reporting in many states indicates that US gang and Mexican TCO relationships are opportunistic in nature, rather than based on an exclusive association with the TCO. Many gangs rely on Mexican TCOs as their primary drug source of supply, and Mexican TCOs depend on the street-level gangs, many of which already have a customer base, for drug distribution. This arrangement allows the highest-ranking members of Mexican TCOs to remain in Mexico where they can avoid US law enforcement action.

In Texas, the top four gangs—Tango Blast (TB) and Tango cliques, TS, Emi, and BA—pose the greatest threat to Texas due to their relationships with Mexican TCOs, as well as large membership numbers, high levels of transnational criminal activity, and organizational effectiveness. Most of these relationships are based on opportunity or personal relationships, rather than an exclusive cartel/street-gang agreement. Activities the street gangs carry out for the cartels include drug trafficking, weapons and human smuggling, and contract murder.

According to the NGIC, links between Mexican Cartels and TCOs, and US-based gangs include, but are not limited to:

U) Table 1. Mexican Cartel and Gang Connections  Transnational Criminal Organizations 

Cartel/TCO & Gang

Arellano-Felix Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation ,,Border Brothers, ,California Mexican Mafia, Florencia 13 ,,Logan Heights Gang, Sureños

Gulf Cartel Bloods, ,Crips, ,Emi, Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos, ,MS-13, ,Partido Revolucionario Mexicano

Raza Unida, Texas Syndicate

Juarez Cartel (VCF Organization) Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, ,Barrio Azteca, ,Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos

La Familia Michoacán Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, ,Crips ,Eme  Los Cholos ,,Murder Inc., MS-13 , Sureños , Tango Blast

Los Zetas Aryan Brotherhood of Texas ,Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation ,Bandidos Motorcycle Club ,Bloods ,

Crips ,Eme ,Emi ,Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos , MS-13 ,Sureños , Norteños, Texas Syndicate

Sinaloa Cartel Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation,  Border Brothers , Bloods , Eme , Crips, MS-13,  Sureños, Tango Blast, United Blood Nation

Source: 2013 National Gang Report, National Gang Intelligence Center

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[2015 Drug Threat Assessment continues next at Part 80]