A federal jury this week convicted six members of the MS-13 gang, which prosecutors say terrorized San Francisco’s Mission District, on charges of racketeering and conspiracy. Three defendants were also found guilty of murder. Prosecutors used the testimony of informants — active gang members wearing wires — as part of their evidence. We talk with gang experts and a former gang member about the case.

MS-13 Gang Convictions 1 September,2011forum

Guests:
Justin Scheck, reporter for the Wall Street Journal who covered the MS-13 trial
Susan Cruz, former member of a transnational gang who started an organization to help rehabilitate former gang members in Los Angeles
Thomas W. Ward, lecturer in anthropology at the University of Southern California who has studied youth violence and gangs, globalization, gang intervention and prevention
Lauren Smiley, staff writer for SF Weekly
Steven Gruel, former federal prosecutor now in private practice and lead prosecutor in the Nuestra Familia prison gang case

  • 1347724830

    It looks very cool.

  • Ashilyrita

    Thanks for your story.

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  • Flaminfloozie

    These scum that pray on their own people should be charged severely & sent to Pelican Bay’s SHU so they can’t work with other gang members as is done in most state prisons. If an immigrant cannot come to America and contribute something – at least get a job – why the hell would any sane society allow admittance? Forming a gang or joining a gang is a cancer on the communities – they’re own people – they victimize and and repudiates any claim to citizenship.

  • Matt Silverthorne
    • Matt Silverthorne

      TABLE 3.1

      OIG Findings on Confidential Informant Guidelines
      Compliance Deficiencies in Select FBI Field Offices

       
      OIG Selection Criteria203
      Files Meeting
      Selection Criteria

      Number of Non-
      compliant Files
      Percent Non-
      compliant

      1
      Initial Suitability Reports & Recommendations (ISR&Rs) – Required Elements Not Addressed204
      44

      15
      34%

      2
      Instructions
      120
      59
      49%

      a
          Missing One or More Instructions
       
      27
      23%

      b
          Untimely Instructions

       

      33
      28%

      3
      Continuing Suitability Reports & Recommendations (CSR&Rs)
      96
      74

      77%

      a
          Missing One or More Reports
       
      57
      59%

      b

          Untimely Reports

       
      12
      13%

      c
          Required Element(s) Not Addressed
       
      20

      21%

      4
      Otherwise Illegal Activity (OIA)
      25
      15
      60%

      a
          OIA Authorized Prior to Source’s Conversion to CI Status

       
      4
      16%

      b
          Tier 1 Not Authorized by USAO
      2

      2
      100%

      c
          CI Did Not Sign Acknowledgement
       
      7
      28%

      d
          Instructions Not Timely Provided to CI After Authorization

       
      1
      4%

      e
          Instructions Not Provided to CI Upon Renewal

       
      2
      8%

      f
          Description of OIA Not Specific
       
      7
      28%

      g
          Not Authorized in Advance (Retroactive Authorization)
       

      5
      20%

      5
      UNAUTHORIZED ILLEGAL ACTIVITY

      12
      5
      42%

        a
          Notification from FBI – SAC to U.S. Attorney
      5
      5

      100%

        a(1)
            Not at SAC-USA Level205

       
      3
      60%

        a(2)
            Not Provided to USAO
       
      2
      40%

      6
      DEACTIVATION
      46

      17
      37%

        a
          Notification to CI

       
      16
      35%

        a(1)
            No Documentation of Notification to CI
       
      15
      33%

        a(2)
            Did Not Notify CI

       
      1
      2%

        b
          Reasons Not Documented
       

      1
      2%

        c
          No Coordination With USAO
       
      1
      2%

       
      TOTAL206

      120
      104
      87%

  • Fay

    I don’t get this argument that young people join gangs because they feel no hope for the future or feel like “the other”, as Susan Cruz states. What about staying in school and working – it is hard work – to get an education and career? Given the large and diverse Hispanic community, how can you say call them “the others”? There are vibrant communities of Hispanics who work and take care of their families. To join a gang is taking the easy way out – the coward’s way. Like De Niro said in character, “it’s the working man who’s the hero”. So ‘man up’ and stay in school, don’t drop out and complain you’re treated like a fool!

    • Matt Silverthorne

      What country do you live in?????

    • Will

      From my experience, the people you are talking about, don’t necessarily share your point of view. =(
      So I find it hard that your logic would even be effective in convincing/ someone whose in that lifestyle or is considering being in a gang.
      I agree with you! It is the easy way out, but at a such a high cost. 

  • Matt Silverthorne

    87% NON-COMPLIANCE of handling CI’s
    OIG Findings on Confidential Informant Guidelines
    Compliance Deficiencies in Select FBI Field Offices

  • Peter DuMont / STAR ALLIANCE

    I am struck contemplating the sheer COST of even one conviction, necessary as it may be, in human TIME and TALENT, as well as money.  How much more EFFECTIVE will it be to provide sufficiently strong, civic (i.e., non-factional) PEACE EDUCATION and INSPIRATION to youth — to give them a sense of hope, direction, and belonging within mainstream society? 

  • Christine Bush

    I find it very telling how at ease Steven Gruel has become with categorizing gang members as “low lifes”.  To me, this is the problem.  Using the public airwaves to de-humanize human beings, however flawed they might be.  This program is more disgusting than any crime being discussed.

    • Richard in East Bay

      Your statement ” This program is more disgusting than any crime being discussed” strikes me as disconnected with reality. Do you find murder of human beings less “disgusting” than people on a radio show using labels on people?

  • Andrew

    Is it really hard to say “informant” instead of snitch or rat? How can we expect these informants to change their lives if we call them snitches and rats after they cooperate with law enforcement?

  • Will

    Growing up in the Mission District in San Francisco, I personally experience how gangs/clicks/organize crime affect everyday life. It is very sad to see how the community was defenseless against random waves of acts of violence from gangs. So, in part I applaud the MS13 gang convictions, but realize that will not be enough to eradicate the gangs from the neighborhood. If only there were youth programs, ie Big Brother that would target the youth who are more at risk of joining gangs. 

  • DK

    What is the source for ths statistic during the program that only 1% of gang members commit crime (or was it violent crime)?

  • Fay

    They just read my comment on the air. I know Hispanic is a word invented by the Nixon administration. Use of that word was shorthand for the sake of brevity. Salvadoran-Americans  can learn in high school just like every other immigrant group! American society is a grind – school and work – no argument there. But claiming gangs are your option b/c no one understands your ethnicity is nuts. I will argue its more *depression* than almighty racial identity that is put forth so often as the issue as though having pride in your nation of origin actual achieves anything. You’re still left with the work and can always return to your home country WITH an education. Kids need specific attention to guidance counseling so that they may find their own place in society – and understand there’s value to completing their education and learning what they can do best. If you drop out, you’ve hobbled yourself so severely, that the prophecy of “being seen as the other and  looked down upon” becomes self-fulfilling.Fay

  • Lupe

    The eradication of gangs has to start in schools.  Everyday California schools have an extraordinary opportunity to influence and teach children but sadly we have experienced continued disinvestment in public shools and park and recreation programs in our inner cities.  My parents are immigrant Latino, with little education but were lucky to raise their family in Oakland when industrial and canning jobs were plenty.  I received a catholic school education where I was taught to read and write with proficiency  and assimilated quickly into  American culture (choclate chip cookies, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheerleading squads).  My point is we need to use the venue that schools provide us to educate kids so they gain confidence by their own right and learn that there is a world larger than their immediate environment in which they can gainfully participate. 

  • Anita Rincon-DuMont

    I am a LatinoAmerican, having a lot a friends from Centro America, especially from Salvador.
    About the gangs, in particular MS-13, we feel ashamed and concern about the violence and crimes commited by the gang members.
    Even if they are citizens, they should obey the United States laws. If not, they should be deported or send to prison to pay for their crimes, no excuses.
    These gang members NOT represent us. Many people from Salvador came to the USA fleeing the civil war in their country. They are very grateful to live in the United States and all the opportunities they have here,where they were able to work hard and had a future for them and they children.

  • JF

    Pretty ignorant statements on this show by supposedly well educated guests. The fact is that violent crime stats in the Mission have declined radically since these guys were rounded up. No one has said that this is the end of MS13 and the USC proffs comments in this direction are ludicrous. Of course this is an ongoing problem and new members will probably step up again, but fror now and the last couple of years the Mission is a safer place. Lastly don’t forget these guys killed total innocents along with other gang members and to focus on the “well yeah, but..” aspects of this says more about the guests than the reality of gang crime and it’s victims.

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