Police Report Spike in Gang Activity

Posted: Aug 26, 2014 9:59 PM

PHARR - Police departments in the Rio Grande Valley are concerned about an increase in gang activity.

The San Juan Police Department reported there is an increase in three specific gangs. The department's gang unit keeps tabs on local gang activity. Investigators said they've noticed a spike in the numbers Tengo Valluco, 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13).

"It's an area of concern for local agencies," a San Juan police officer said.

The officer said there has been a significant increase in the number of Tango Vallucos in the area since last year. The gang has its origins in prisons.

The officer said the gang members are involved in human smuggling and narcotics.

He said the number of MS-13 and 18th Street gangs members are increasing. He said those gang members are coming in from Central America and are looking to take advantage of the border crisis.

San Juan police arrested two MS-13 members recently.

"What you're seeing is an increase in gang members attempting to cross into the United States," the officer said.
Experts said some gang members crossing through the Valley are staying in the region.

"Since they cannot get any legal jobs, they prompt to get any type of money however they can ... committing robberies, distribution of narcotics," the officer said.
The officer said more gang members may be heading to the region.

Officials said the number of MS-13 and 18th Street gang members jumped by more than 100 percent.