An undercover officer KOLR10 News spoke with says Sureno gang members have found their way to Springfield.
Though they may not all have ties to each other, the presence of the highly organized Mexican mafia-directed gang could be a sign the community is headed for trouble.
The Mexican mafia is so powerful they are able to run their organization from within the California prison system.
“They do that through using Hispanic street gang members to conduct their dirty work,” says the undercover sergeant.
Some of those members have been traced to Springfield.
"We have identified multiple Sereno gang members in Springfield,” says the sergeant. “We don't really have an active Sureno set that we've identified."
You can see the signs on the street.
"Either in their name or in their symbols and tattoos they will use the number 13,” the sergeant says. “The letter ‘M” is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet."
They're running drugs.
“Obviously, the Mexican mafia controls these gangs and they're involved in all the drug trades whether it is marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, which we're starting to see now pretty regularly,” says the sergeant. “In fact, we are seeing that a lot more than we are seeing some of the other drugs, not meth, but heroin is quickly becoming the drug of choice in Springfield."
This undercover officer says the group is organized and violent.
“You follow orders,” he says. “If you don't there are consequences to pay. Sometimes it's death if you don't carry out an order."
And drugs aren't the only issues they bring.
"You have weapons trafficking,” says the sergeant. “They're also involved in human trafficking, smuggling."
The sergeant says their job is to make sure Springfield doesn't become part of this list.
“I think you should be concerned,” he says. “The farther south and west you go, the more problem, even in Missouri, the more Hispanic street gangs. Kansas City has a pretty significant Hispanic street gang population. Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City."
The undercover officer says taking a look at what is happening along the Mexican border in terms of gang violence is a good indication of what they are capable of.
The officer says it is not if, but when it starts spreading toward the center of the country that law enforcement here will be tested.
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