The attempted assassination of a South Carolina deputy sheriff was a gang initiation carried out by three illegal immigrants including a 15-year-old boy who was supposed to "kill a cop" in order to be admitted as a member, according to a confidential Department of Homeland Security advisory.
Lexington County, S.C., Deputy Sheriff Ted Xanthakis and his K-9 police dog, Arcos, were attacked by the three illegals armed with a 12-gauge shotgun during a Feb. 8 incident in West Columbia, S.C., shortly after 3 a.m. The deputy and his dog survived.
Two of the men were identified in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report as members of the Surenos gang, or SUR-13, a collection of Mexican-American street gangs with origins in the oldest barrios of Southern California.
Hundreds of SUR-13 gangs operate in California and have spread to many other parts of the country. The paramilitary organization has been described by federal law enforcement agencies as actively involved in illegal-immigrant and drug smuggling.
According to the ICE report, the attack occurred as the deputy responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle.
The 15-year-old and two others, Carlos Alfredo Diaz De Leon, 17, and Lucino Guzman Guttierrez, 20, were later arrested by sheriff's deputies and members of the U.S. Marshals Service. Diaz De Leon and Guzman Guttierrez were charged with assault and battery with intent to kill.
Deputy Xanthakis and his dog were in a marked patrol car at the time of the shooting.
The 15-year-old was taken to a pre-trial detention facility, where he was awaiting a hearing in family court. Prosecutors said they would recommend that the boy be prosecuted in family court on a charge of assault and battery with intent to kill.
Under state law, law enforcement officials cannot identify the boy because he is a juvenile.
Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts told reporters that Diaz De Leon, Guzman Guttierrez and the 15-year-old illegally entered the United States from Mexico. He said Diaz De Leon and Guzman Guttierrez were living in West Columbia and a search of their house netted items thought to have been stolen in vehicle break-ins in Lexington County, including a Global Positioning System devices and car stereo systems.
The sheriff also said that deputies recovered the shotgun that was used to shoot at Deputy Sheriff Xanthakis.
ICE detainers have been lodged against the adults.
The ICE report, made public Wednesday by the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), said interviews determined that the 15-year-old was the shooter and the incident was a gang initiation. It said gangs "have long posed a threat to public safety and law enforcement but the threat is now increasing in scope. ... Never before have the street gangs in South Carolina actively targeted law enforcement officers for gang initiation."
ICE agents, as part of a nationwide crackdown on gangs, have arrested members of SUR-13 in Tennessee and Georgia on charges ranging from felony theft and illegal re-entry after deportation to murder, attempted murder, carjacking, armed robbery and drug dealing.
William Gheen, president of ALIPAC, described the attack as the "beginning of America's nightmarish future as we descend into the type of anarchy found in Mexico.
"In Mexico, things have deteriorated so much that police are demoralized and are being killed by these gangs of a weekly basis," he said. "That's what happens when your nation loses respect for the rule of law as we see with the effect of millions of illegal aliens in America."
He said the U.S. needs to secure its border and enforce its immigration laws "or we will begin to lose more officers and as we loose officers, gang rule will replace the rule of law."
Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
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