|South Texas police target gangs with checkpoints|
SAN JUAN, Texas (AP) — For more than a year, police in a South Texas town have been targeting gang members with roadside checkpoints, raising questions of profiling and unreasonable searches.
The checkpoints set up periodically by San Juan police ostensibly check for insurance, seat belts and driver's licenses, but police Chief Juan Gonzalez said they are a tool in curtailing the area's gang activity. A number of gangs are active in the border town and its neighboring communities.
At the checkpoints, vehicles are stopped, drivers are questioned and sometimes asked to voluntarily allow police to photograph their gang tattoos. The information, once vetted, is added to a state gang database.
"I can tell you 99 percent of the people we stop, they actually tell us they're with whatever gang," Gonzalez told The McAllen Monitor (http://bit.ly/TzFD9l ). He characterized the checkpoints as a "non-conventional, but legal investigative approach."
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