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The gang terrorist connection, part II
Published: 06/02/2008

T2 Editor’s Note: Last week, in his story "Ideological connections between gangs and terrorists," author Sgt. Lou Savelli, discussed the growing relationship between gangs and terrorist organizations. This week he concludes with further thoughts on how these highly threatening groups are committing dangerous crime across the nation.

This story is being shared with us by Gangs Across America, an online source providing strategies to combat gangs across the nation. From time to time, Corrections.com will publish articles from the Gangs Across America website.

Organized crime, gangs and terrorists

Many terrorists and suspected terrorists have been apprehended in possession of international driver’s licenses while countless others have avoided apprehension from law enforcement because of the use of such documents and lack of law enforcement knowledge about these documents.

The authentic version, which is the international driver’s permit, one result of the Geneva Convention, has been counterfeited and fraudulently developed by Eastern European Organized Crime (Russian) cells as a way to hide one’s true identity and has turned into a lucrative money maker being offered all over the world.

The international driver’s license, in a word, is a fake! The real thing, the international driver’s permit, made by the Automobile Association of America, is only a translation of a foreign language and must be accompanied by a valid driver’s license of a foreign country.

Numerous street gang members, like terrorists, across the U.S. use international driver’s licenses to hide their true identity from law enforcement.

America’s street gangs, yesterday’s terrorists

Members of one of America’s most violent street gangs, MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) may have come right from the battlegrounds of El Salvador to the streets of the United States attempting to escape the death squads of the then Salvadoran government.

Terrorist groups like the FMLN (Farabundo Marti Nacional Liberacion) and the FDR (Revolutionary Democracy Front) who were being aided by Nicaragua, Cuba, and the Soviet Union, have seen their members come to America and form the MS-13.

Recently, intelligence officials in Washington warned local and national law enforcement agencies that members of al-Qaeda terrorists have been observed in the company of members of MS-13 in El Salvador.

This has many concerned that the gang maybe smuggling Islamic terrorists into the U.S. It has long been believed that MS-13 controls many alien smuggling routes along Mexico.

Boston law enforcement officials are taking this information very seriously. In Boston, a city where MS-13 has a formidable presence, an al-Qaeda terrorist and Boston resident, Raed Hijazi, has been charged with training the suicide bombers in the attack on the USS Cole. Of course, the commercial jets that flew into the World Trade Center towers in New York City were hijacked from Logan International Airport, in Boston.

The theory that Salvadoran criminals manage to smuggle people over the border was bolstered when two Boston men described as MS-13 leaders were spotted on a few days before Christmas, a year after they were deported by Boston Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for gang-related crimes.

Ethnic connections

As evident in Toronto, Canada, certain ethnic neighborhoods are home to ethnic street gangs and there is a strong connection to terrorist groups. Toronto law enforcement officials report a continual problem with Sri Lankan street gangs involved in drugs, other criminal activities, and assaults on law enforcement officers.

These street gangs, some calling themselves the Tamil Tigers after the Sri Lankan terrorist group known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), are reportedly used to create funding for terrorist operations of LTTE as well as a recruiting ground for future terrorists. LTTE is alleged to have members living in the United States.

Within the U.S. borders, it is reported that members of the Netas gang (Asociacion Neta Pro Dereco Del Confinado is translated as the Neta Association for Inmates Rights) have been recruited by elder Puerto Rican terrorists belonging to the FALN (Fuerzas Armada Liberacion Nacional is translated as Armed Forces for the Liberation of the Nation).

The FALN is a Puerto Rican terrorist group responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the U.S. including several bombings in New York City, during the early 1980s, injuring NYPD officers.

Prisons as recruiting grounds If there ever was a breeding ground for discontented Americans, feeling hatred for the U.S. government, it is our prisons and jails. Many American inmates are ripe for the picking by an intelligent terrorist bent on recruiting for his/her terrorist organization.

Terrorist groups such as Al Fuqra, found in several states across the U.S., have successfully recruited members among America’s inmate population. Even Richard Reid, a British citizen, also known as the ‘Shoe Bomber’ was recruited in a British prison and converted to radical Islam.

He failed at his attempt to blow up a Miami bound airliner. It is reported, of late, that inmates have even taken on the names of terrorists as nicknames such as Osama bin Laden, The Jackal (Carlos), and Abu Zubayda. Terrorists recruiting heavily within our prison system, under the guise of the religion of Islam, was evident in the case of Jose ‘Pucho’ Padilla who became fascinated with Islam in prison. The Chicago street gang member of the Maniac Latin Disciples, dubbed “The Dirty Bomber” changed his name to Abdullah al-Muhajir after converting to Islam at a Florida mosque with ties to terrorism.

In 2002, Padilla was apprehended by counter-terrorism agents after they discovered he trained at al-Qaeda training camp and conspired to explode a “dirty bomb” within the borders of the United States.

Gangbusters, crime fighters as counter-terrorism officers

Terrorists need to commit crimes to exact their acts of terror and use the support of a variety of gangs. Consider the number one activity for most gangs in the United States, drugs!

Most gangs sells drugs and the majority of the drugs sold in the U.S. come from countries where terrorists are significant in the drug trade. Why wouldn’t these terrorists be involved in the drug trade in the US?

In my opinion, aggressively attacking gangs wherever they may be, coupled with the right degree of awareness to identify the signs of possible terrorist connections, will undoubtedly be successful in the fight against terror. Law enforcement officers proactively fighting gangs, and crime in general, will see a valued success in the future leading for a safer tomorrow in the communities where gangs have previously flourished and terrorists have been able to hide.

While gangs and terrorists have enjoyed a long connection, our law enforcement officials have only begun to fight. Gangsters and terrorists better beware!


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