Gangs

Federal authorities have charged 37 alleged MS-13 gang members with murder, drug and other crimes. Arrests were made in the Charlotte area Wednesday morning after a federal grand jury handed up indictments a day earlier.

Sixteen alleged members were arrested Wednesday. Another 16 were in state custody on other state charges, and five remain at large.

All are charged with conspiracy to participate in racketeering. Other charges some face include assault and firearms violations.

Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer

A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted alleged gang members on racketeering and murder charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says six members of the United Blood Nation gang played a role in the murder of Lake Wylie couple in October to prevent the husband from testifying against gang members in a robbery case.

The indictment names 12 people as members of the United Blood Nation gang. All are charged with racketeering, and six are charged in the murder of Doug and Debbie London.

Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

Chester County, South Carolina, population 33,000, has a big city problem, gangs. They have become more violent and in November, a city councilman was shot in the head on a Chester street. Five reported gang members were charged in that fatal shooting which sparked residents to call for aggressive action.

In driving through Chester, especially during the day, it seems like the usual, sleepy rural town. But that changes at night when the gangs come out, says Lt. Johnny Neal of the Chester County Sherriff’s Department.

Gangs continue to be a problem in Chester County with drive-by shooting incidents increasing, including one in November that left a sitting city council member dead. Five reported gang members have been arrested in that case.

Last month the county sheriff asked the county council for money to hire more police officers. Instead, the county formed a gang task force. The task force held its first meeting Monday, Jan. 12. 

Why a task force instead of hiring additional officers?

City of Chester, SC

Chester, South Carolina has a population around 5,500. It is in many ways a classic small Southern city. Chartered in 1840, the town has plenty of history, from farming and textiles to railroads and the Civil War.

Chester also has a 21st century gang problem. On November 4th, Chester City Councilman Odell Williams was killed in a drive-by shooting. Authorities say all five suspects now charged in the killing have ties to a gang called “Roundtree Circle.”And, this is just the latest gang violence to hit the town of Chester – a teenager was killed earlier this year.  

chiesADIbeinasco / flickr

In 2011 the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department began exploring ways to merge several youth involvement organizations into a more cohesive, effective strategy of engaging at risk kids in our region. The result is the Youth Engagement Unit. About that same time the Hidden Valley Neighborhood was remaking itself from a bastion of perhaps the worst gang activity in the area to a stronger, safer place to live. We’ll look at how Hidden Valley came back from the brink and how CMPD and others are engaging youth to prevent juvenile criminal activity from occurring in the first place.

Tasnim Shamma

Mecklenburg County is the first in North Carolina to invoke a new law that allows police departments to prevent gang members from associating with each other in public or being near someone who is carrying drugs or guns.

A judge Thursday morning granted CMPD's request for a civil injunction against a north Charlotte gang called the Hidden Valley Kings.