News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2008

Los Angeles International Chiefs of Police Summit on Transnational Gangs to Commence In Hollywood March 3rd – 5th, 2008

MAR 3 -- The second annual International Chiefs of Police Summit on Transnational Gangs will be held this week over a three-day period at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Hollywood, California. A press conference will be held today by law enforcement representing Los Angeles and other countries to officially start the Summit. During the Summit, local leaders and many international Chiefs of Police from Central America, Europe and North America will gather to renew discussions on how best to combat the global spread of gang-related criminal activity. The summit will conclude on Wednesday, March 5th.

Law enforcement officials at the local, state and federal level from Los Angeles and international cities directly impacted by the criminal activity of transnational gangs will attend the three-day summit, and will be joined by international Chiefs of Police from the nations of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Canada, Nicaragua and Spain, where MS-13 criminal activity and organized crime trends of other Central American gangs has increased.The Summit is being hosted by the following agencies: FBI and the National Gang Task Force  United States Department of Justice  Drug Enforcement Agency  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives  United States Marshals Service  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement  United States Department of State  Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department  Los Angeles Police Department Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office

The United States Attorney’s Office/U.S. Department of Justice, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office will also participate in the summit.

The objective of this year's Summit is to further enhance the established international partnerships and to strengthen methods of information and intelligence sharing and case development, as well as to provide a continuing forum in which gang prevention and rehabilitation initiatives can be discussed.

“Though violent crime is down in Los Angeles, the notorious birthplace of many gangs, the city is under siege by the constant threat of gangs, many of whose membership has grown to global proportions,” said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. “The FBI has risen to combat this worldwide crisis through the formation of the National Gang Task Force, and locally, through multi-agency task forces. We continue to see however, the news of shootings, robberies, extortions and innocent childrens’ lives cut short without warning and without sense. By coming together at these international meetings, we are doing more than just discussing the problem; we are helping each other create ways to rid the world of gang-related violence.”

United States Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien stated: "Working together with local law enforcement agencies, we are having an impact on the lives of people who live in gang-infested communities. In just the past few months, we have targeted the 18th Street Gang, MS-13 and other street gangs -- some of which have ties to other countries, some of which threaten to become trans-national. Thanks to inter-agency cooperation, we have incarcerated literally hundreds of gang members responsible for violent crimes, drug trafficking, extortion and other offenses. These are gangsters who will serve lengthy prison terms in the United States, and who will not be preying upon people here or in their home countries."

After the opening press conference, representatives of the Officer Exchange Program will sign a formal “memorandum of intent” to officially inaugurate the Officer Exchange Program which will officially begin in Los Angeles on March 8th, 2008. Representatives signing the memorandum include Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, Los Angleles Sheriff Leroy Baca and the Chief of the Salvadoran National Civilian Police, Franciso Roviera.

“We are extremely pleased to again participate in this summit on Transnational Gangs,” said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. “The summit provides an opportunity for law enforcement officials to come together to exchange information and share strategies on addressing the gang violence in our communities.” “Working closely with our local, state, and federal partners, we strive to focus our efforts on a deeply rooted problem with ties that often go back decades.”

“We in law enforcement are committed locally and internationally to suppressing violence in all its forms,” said Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Leroy Baca. “The high number of deaths from gang activity has reached a crisis point. Over the last decade, in Los Angeles County, we've lost more than 5,800 people to gang violence in comparison to less than 500 people to natural disasters. The growing gang violence is not just a policing issue. We recognize that we are only one part of a community-wide effort. Successful violence reduction takes coordination with all aspects of the community, including quality prevention, intervention, re-entry programs, and faith and community based counseling organizations. Whether it is a gang problem at the local level or the international level, the result is the same. We are facing a public health crisis. It is a crisis that needs to be treated with the same intensity and coordination of efforts that we would treat a major health crisis. We realize there is a need to understand this problem from a different perspective. Therefore, we are creating a Gang Emergency Operations Center in an effort to deal with the gang problem. With a holistic approach of centralizing information and everyone working together, we can really have positive results and create safer communities for everyone to enjoy.”

As a result of last year's Summit, U.S. law enforcement and its international partners have been able to push forward several initiatives, to include information- and intelligence-sharing initiatives, as demonstrated by the recently established Transnational Anti-Gang Center in El Salvador, and the "pilot" Officer Exchange Program between the El Salvador Civil National Police, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department. Additionally, last year's Summit provided a foundation for discussion of early gang intervention and prevention programming. Finally, last year's Summit generated discussion about the hundreds of national and international gang and violent crime fugitives that remain at large and seek refuge in the Untied States, Mexico and Central America. In order to address this particular issue, the Top 20 Fugitive Program is under development. It will be designed to capitalize on the partnerships established through the annual Transnational Gang Summit in locating and apprehending these fugitives.

"ICE is working side-by-side with our law enforcement partners in the United States and worldwide to combat the serious public safety risks posed by transnational street gangs," said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. "This summit gives us a unique opportunity to share ideas and develop new strategies to help combat gang crime and violence. Our goal, to put gangs on notice that these threats will not go unchallenged."

“The second annual Los Angeles Gang Summit shows the continued commitment from federal and local law enforcement agencies to fight against gang violence, said United States Marshal, Adam N. Torres. “The United States Marshals Service will continue to focus efforts to apprehend violent fugitives with gang affiliation, regardless of where they hide. Borders will not prevent us from bringing justice to those who commit violent crimes in our community.”

"Criminal street gangs have become an international crisis which requires an international response based on international cooperation," said Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, the City's chief prosecutor. "This summit will play a key role in moving us toward a future free from the scourge of criminal street gangs."

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole, based in Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address following the press conference, ceremonial signing and opening remarks. Throughout the Summit, attendees will meet in open forums to discuss intelligence sharing and new programs developed at the 2007 summit.

Presentations will be made by representatives of the FBI, ICE, ATF, State Department, U.S. Department of Justice, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Prisons, California Department of Justice and foreign police representatives and special guests in attendance. Summit participants will also be given LAPD/LASD tours of various Los Angeles facilities.

"Drug and gang violence continue to break apart families and communities," said Special Agent in Charge of DEA Los Angeles Timothy J. Landrum. "This summit allows the DEA and our law enforcement partners to focus and share our resources in order to effectively remove the threat of gangs in our neighborhoods."

“ATF is committed to working with our federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners to curb the threat of gang violence,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge, John A. Torres. “Through Project Safe Neighborhoods and the ATF-led Violent Crime Impact Team initiatives, we identify arrest and help prosecute violent criminals, reduce homicides and other violent gun crimes, and make our communities safer.”

As of January 2007, the FBI operates more than 140 Task Forces in its 56 field offices, focusing on violent crime and violent gangs. Safe Streets Task Forces are composed of more than 600 FBI Agents, scores of federal partners and 1150 local and state investigators, representing hundreds of law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Safe Streets Task Force efforts result in thousands of arrests and convictions each year.

###