Latin Gang Threat In DEM City

A Latin street gang with origins in Venezuela could be forming an alliance — at least temporarily — with the brutal gang MS-13 in New York City, an FBI agent has warned.

Members of a bloodthirsty gang called Tren de Aragua have been streaming across the open southern border in recent years, the New York Post reported.

In New York City, the gang has already set up operations and is actively using organized methods to steal mobile phones and then ship them back to South America where they can be resold for cash.

But the gang’s modus operandi goes far beyond phone scams and petty theft.

The name translates to “Train of Aragua,” which is a reference to where the gang started in a prison in the north-central Venezuelan state of Aragua.

Members soon spread to Colombia, Peru and other countries, and they tend to leave a body count in areas where they operate — relying in large part on human smuggling and sex trafficking to make cash.

Thanks to the Biden administration’s lax border policies, they have officially set up shop in New York, and an FBI agent told the Post the agency is concerned about an alliance with the infamous MS-13.

“While these gangs wouldn’t normally mix, it’s always going to be a concern as the gang [Tren de Aragua] expands in strength and establishes a foothold,” FBI agent John Morales of the FBI El Paso field office told the Post.

Morales added, “Right now we are working with our local law enforcement partners and sharing intelligence in order to stop the growth of Tren de Aragua.”

Members of the gang have taken advantage of the border crisis to cross into the U.S. and move in on areas such as New York City.

But en route to sanctuary cities, they first extort fellow Venezuelans along the way, Morales said.

“Their first victims are their fellow Venezuelans,” the agent explained.

MS-13 has had a foothold in the U.S. for decades. It remains unclear what benefit the gang might have by working with another Latin American street gang.

Another expert on the matter told the Post he fears the two gangs and perhaps others could soon be fighting a turf war on American soil.

Security consultant Robert Almonte, a former U.S. marshal also based in El Paso, put the situation bluntly when speaking about the gang’s American presence.

“They are already coming over as hardened criminals,” Almonte explained. “But they [Tren de Aragua] could certainly be trying to recruit others to join the gang in the U.S.”

He concluded, “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that they could form alliances with other gangs, but what’s more likely to happen is that turf wars break out as each gang fights to control their own criminal enterprise.”

American police officers nationwide have fought gang violence for decades with very limited success.

But with a flood of millions of unvetted migrants crossing the border for more than three straight years, many cities that are already home to gang violence might end up with even more criminals walking the streets.

According to Street Gangs, a website that tries to track groups and which neighborhoods they run, there were already more than 120 gangs operating in New York City before the arrival of Tren de Aragua.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported the gang was found in 2012 in one prison but is now in several countries.

The group said of Tren de Aragua, “Wherever it has appeared, the gang has brought kidnapping, drug dealing, human trafficking, contract killings, and extortion along with it.”

As far as the gang’s ability to compete with or work alongside existing gangs in a place such as New York, OCCRP noted that Tren de Aragua “has managed to go toe-to-toe with established groups, obtained heavy weaponry, and expanded outside its home country.”

“The gang has set off a wave of terror in countries including Chile, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru, sometimes partnering up with other notorious gangs,” OCCRP states.

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