FBI details threat from gangs in military: Says members of Illinois biker gangs in Iraq
January 20, 2007
BY FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter
Members of the Hells Angels, including an Army lieutenant colonel from Illinois, have served the U.S. military in Iraq. Another Iraq war veteran, a Marine who belongs to the Maniac Latin Disciples street gang, is charged with shooting three teens in Aurora.
They are examples of growing gang activity in the military, which “poses a threat to law enforcement officials and national security,” according to a new FBI report obtained by the Sun-Times.
“The military enlistment of gang members could ultimately lead to the worldwide expansion of U.S.-based gangs,” the report warned.
The report by the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center said gang members sneak into the military by failing to report criminal convictions or using fake documents. Some have sealed juvenile records unavailable to recruiters. And most of the recruiters are not properly trained to recognize gang affiliation, the report said.
“Military recruiters under pressure to meet recruiting goals have engaged in criminal violations such as overly aggressive recruiting tactics and document falsification,” said the report.
While gang members constitute a “fraction” of the military, the extent of the problem is difficult to gauge because the military is not required to provide the FBI with statistics on crime at military posts. Still, the FBI has documented disturbing examples of how gang members get into the military — and the crimes they commit in the service.
In 2005, for instance, a Latin Kings member was allegedly recruited into the Army at a Brooklyn, N.Y., courthouse while awaiting trial for assaulting a New York police officer with a razor. He was reportedly instructed by the recruiter to conceal his gang affiliation, the report said.
Reportedly steal weapons
Many members of the Illinois-based Outlaw Motorcycle Gang and the Hells Angels have military experience and have been known to recruit soldiers due to their explosives and firearms experience, the report said. One of the most violent gangs — the MS-13 — is increasing its presence on or near U.S. military installations, the FBI said.
Some gang members use their military positions to steal weapons and other equipment.
Last year, an Army soldier who is a gang member identified 60 to 70 gang-affiliated military personnel in his unit allegedly involved in the theft and sale of military weapons and supplies, the report said. The soldier said many of them were sergeants in charge of ammunition and grenade distribution and that commanders were aware of their actions.
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