- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2005

The peaceful suburbs of Washington, D.C., are beginning to look and feel like East Los Angeles. The violent illegal alien gang Mara Salvatrucha (or MS-13) has thoroughly penetrated the region — and its murderous members continue to be aided and abetted by reckless government officials at every level who refuse to enforce our immigration laws.

As I’ve reported over the past year, MS-13 is the most notorious criminal alien gang enterprise on the American landscape. The Justice Department’s (belated) summer crackdown on the crime racket has resulted in arrest of 515 MS-13 gang members who will be prosecuted for criminal cases and/or deported (many after having re-entered the country illegally despite multiple convictions and deportations).

At the local malls in Montgomery County, Md., where I live, gang stabbings are increasingly common. Earlier this summer, a spate of knifing attacks involving reputed MS-13 gangsters took place at a nearby Target store. Yes, Target — where the only fights shoppers should have to worry about are the tugs-of-war between soccer moms battling over Sonia Kashuk makeup bags on sale in Aisle 2.

MS-13 thugs are packing weapons far more lethal than blush brushes. The El Salvador-based syndicate has a special love affair with machetes. Earlier this month, a jury convicted one MS-13 member for a machete attack at a Fairfax County, Va., movie theater. The brutal crime left a rival gang member with three severed fingers. If MS-13 limited its violence to killing off its competitors, maybe the rest of us could afford to shrug off the illegal alien gang takeover of the mid-Atlantic corridor. But innocents from Boston to Raleigh have been caught up in the violence, and cops are in the crosshairs as well.

Last year, area law enforcement officials warned that MS-13 was planning to ambush Montgomery County, Md., cops during service calls. In June, I obtained leaked unclassified intelligence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Norfolk, Va., division reporting on a similar gang order in the Tidewater, Va., area:

“Reporting by a reliable Norfolk source indicates MS-13 members are planning to randomly attack local law enforcement officers in the Tidewater area. Threats of this nature have been termed by gang members as ‘green light’ notices. Green light notices have continued to increase, prompting the Virginia Gang Association to issue warnings to law enforcement in Virginia and the surrounding states. … Additional source information indicates local MS-13 members are equipped with weapons and ballistic vests.”

The gang is also infamous for “green lighting” potential prosecution witnesses, including Brenda Paz — an MS-13 member stabbed to death and dumped in the Shenandoah River in 2003 by gangsters while under she was under federal protection and preparing to testify against them.

Federal prosecutors earned praise last week for dramatic raids and grand jury indictments against 19 alleged, suburban Washington-area MS-13 members accused of participating in the beating death of a man at a cemetery; a driveby shooting that killed a boy; the kidnapping of two girls, one of whom was murdered; a daytime shooting at a high school; and stabbings and fatal shootings of rival gang members, according to The Washington Post. The feds are using racketeering laws to target the criminals.

The Post editorial board lauded the move (“not a moment to soon,” they opined), but using RICO laws against MS-13 is a rather convoluted solution to our underlying homeland security problems: unguarded borders, lack of illegal alien detention space, failure to track criminal illegal aliens, and a deportation system in shambles. On these matters, The Post —like most mainstream media heavyweights and Beltway elites — has little if anything to say.

And here, as elsewhere, while politicians pay lip service to protecting the public, they look the other way as illegal alien gang members get driver’s licenses, go to school (where they freely recruit new members), and congregate at taxpayer-subsidized illegal alien day labor centers — where local police are discouraged from inquiring about immigration status or reporting suspected illegal aliens to the Homeland Security Department.

Immigration schizophrenia is lethal. It’s spreading. And maybe, soon enough, coming to a Target near you.

Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of “Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores” (Regnery).

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