May 17, 2023

GANGS IN THE SOUTH: 155 Arrests Made in anti-gang operation in Central Texas

Therese Apel

Photo: United States Marshals Facebook Page

There were 155 arrests made in Central Texas recently during Operation Washout 3.0, a national anti-gang, anti-violent crime initiative involving local, state, and federal agencies.

The operation focuses on getting active gang members and violent offenders off the streets, focusing on major offenses such as homicide, assault, sexual offenses, and significant drug crime.

Fox 44 News reports that for Operation Washout 3.0, the U.S. Marshals, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Mclennan County Sheriff’s Office, the Waco Police Department and the Killeen Police Department combined forces to serve outstanding felony warrants.

“Typically, when these violent offenders with some influence in the community are put away, crime is seized. Crime goes down,” says Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian.

That’s not a phenomenon only seen in Texas. Mississippi police chiefs and sheriffs will tell you that after such an operation in their jurisdiction, crime always goes down for a while. Also, it points to the fact that generally most of the crime is being committed by a small group of criminals, more often than not involved in organized crime.

This year, the operation was conducted in Texas from May 1 through May 5. It resulted in 155 arrests of violent offenders. Statistics say eight were validated gang members. Authorities confiscated 25 firearms, 7.9 kilograms of narcotics and nearly $12,000.

Validation is a process law enforcement uses to be able to confirm gang membership for records. Any number of validations is subject to officers actually working to do the validations, which are not hard or time consuming, but do require actual paperwork.

There’s also the challenge of jurisdictions admitting whether they do have a problem with STGs, or “security threat groups,” which is a fairly recent term for gangs originating in the prison system. As violent crime is increasing across the country, more law enforcement leaders seem to be stepping up to find out more if they weren’t already involved in gang suppression.

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