When Pigs Fly: Rival L.A. Gangs Collaborate To Make That Paper

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Categories: For Your Information, News

This is certainly an interesting read:

After nearly two decades fighting gangs, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Robert Lyons thought he had seen it all. Until he saw members of the Bloods and the Crips — rival gangs that spent years in brutal conflict — meeting amiably in a restaurant.

“They were talking. There was hugging and high-fiving. It was unbelievable,” Mr. Lyons said. He has heard a refrain from gang members: Red (the Bloods) and blue (the Crips) make green (money). Gangs that were once bloody rivals now are cooperating to wring profits from the sale of illegal drugs and weapons, law-enforcement officials and gang experts say. In some cases, gangs that investigators believed to be sworn enemies share neighborhoods and strike business deals. The collaboration even crosses racial lines, remarkable in a gang world where racial divisions are sharp and clashes are often racially motivated. But intensifying pressure from police has also prompted gangs to work together, said Jorja Leap, a University of California, Los Angeles professor and gang expert. “They really are united against what they perceive to be a common enemy — law enforcement,” said Ms. Leap, who now advises Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca on gangs. Ms. Leap said gangs form links to survive — and to maximize profits. “The market is tougher and they’re consolidating,” she said.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said gangs are “treating their activities more like businesses than before. In business, you work with whoever you have to.” This collaboration can make tracking gang crime and dismantling gangs more complicated. Members of street gangs are showing up unexpectedly in health-care and credit-card fraud investigations, which have traditionally been run by Eastern European crime rings.

During a two-year investigation of the Athens Park Bloods, an African-American gang entrenched in south Los Angeles, investigators learned the members had formed a pact with a Hispanic gang called Barrio 13. Eventually, 22 people were charged — 20 African-Americans and two Hispanics.

“They shared the same guns, the same narcotics, the same neighborhood,” said Mr. Lyons, the sheriff’s detective.

Red and blue make green. SMH.

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