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National Drug Intelligence Center
Attorney General's Report to Congress on the Growth of Violent Street Gangs in Suburban Areas
April 2008

Gang-Drug Trafficking Organization Connections Affecting Suburban Areas

The connections between Mexican and Asian DTOs, the principal suppliers of illicit drugs in the United States, and gangs, the primary retail-level distributors of drugs in many suburban areas, according to reports from law enforcement officials, are an increasing concern to federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. Mexican drug traffickers affiliated with the Federation, the Gulf Cartel, the Juárez Cartel, and the Tijuana Cartel are cultivating relationships with street gangs, prison gangs, and OMGs that operate in suburban areas. Traffickers affiliated with the Federation maintain close working relationships with members of domestic-based gangs located in the Southwest Region. For instance, federal law enforcement reporting indicates that the Guzmán-Loera DTO, a designated Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT), is recruiting Mexico-based members of the Barrio Azteca (BA) prison gang. Law enforcement officials are not certain of the role these gang members may take in the Guzmán-Loera DTO, but they believe that the BA members may be employed to smuggle cocaine and heroin from Juárez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, for eventual distribution in local drug markets and transportation to drug markets throughout the country. Federal law enforcement reporting further reveals that DTOs affiliated with the Federation also associate with the following prison gangs: Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos, California Mexican Mafia, and Texas Syndicate. Typically, these gangs obtain cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine from cartel members for distribution in most areas of the Southwest Region; they also transport significant quantities of these drugs to markets in other regions of the United States.

Traffickers affiliated with the Gulf Cartel are increasingly forging relationships with U.S.-based gangs as a means to maintain or increase their drug distribution operations. Gulf Cartel members are supplying drugs to Sureños 13 street gang members in several cities and suburban towns in the Midwest and Southwest Regions. Traffickers affiliated with the Juárez Cartel supply illicit drugs, including cocaine and marijuana, to various street gangs for distribution in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the Southwest, Midwest, Great Lakes, and Mid-Atlantic Regions. Gangs supplied by members of the Juárez Cartel include Oldies 13, Gallant Knights, Latin Kings, Neighborhood 90s Crips, and Shotgun Crips. Moreover, members of the Tijuana Cartel work with high-ranking associates of the California-based Mexican Mafia prison gang in controlling the drug trafficking activities of Hispanic street gang members (Sureños 13) in the Pacific and Southwest Regions.

Several foreign-based Asian criminal organizations and DTOs maintain working relationships with many U.S.-based Asian gangs that commonly distribute illicit drugs, primarily high-potency marijuana and MDMA, in urban and suburban areas. Asian criminal organizations and DTOs, primarily Vietnamese and Chinese, have emerged as significant sources of high-potency marijuana and MDMA in the United States. These groups use Asian gangs to transport and distribute the drugs in suburban and urban areas in the Southwest, New York/New Jersey, Mid-Atlantic, and Pacific Regions.9 For example, Wo Hop To and 14 K Triad members in Hong Kong maintain strong connections to U.S.-based Asian gangs--such as the Wah Ching, Black Dragons, Tiny Rascal Gangsters, and Black Star--whose members operate in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle as well as surrounding communities.

End Note

9. Asian gangs with ties to Chinese and Vietnamese traffickers include Asian Warriors, Black Star, Flying Dragons, Tiny Rascal Gangsters, Vietnam, Wah Ching, Black Dragons, and Asian Boyz.

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