According to a Silver Spring Patch report, the federal government has a new tool in the fight against the violent gang MS-13, which has a strong presence in Montgomery and Prince George’s County in Maryland. In October, the violent gang was the first criminal street gang to be named a transnational criminal organization by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and this designation allows the government to seize the assets of the group and freeze property. This designation also states that anyone who conducts business with the gang may be sanctioned and face federal prosecution.
The supervisor of the Montgomery County Police Department’s gang unit says the designation is important because it strikes at the gang’s finances, an essential part in “taking down gangs.”
In the state of MD, MS-13 activity has been reported in 13 of 23 counties and the city of Baltimore. Though federal orders are attacking MS-13’s financial power, the report notes that on a state level Maryland does not have strong enough laws dealing with the property and assets of gangs or gang laws in general. Public affairs director for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office explains that some critics have said gang statutes in the state “need to be more specific and have more teeth to them.”
He adds that it is still difficult to pursue gang members in the state when they act on individual crimes. However, local police departments do work with each other as well as other federal agencies to combat gang problems, and the new designation may help take aim at the finances of gangs in the state.
New laws and regulations are continually being passed on the state and federal level, which may mean a person facing criminal charges can face severe penalties and punishment. The criminal defense lawyers in Montgomery County of Alpert Schreyer firmly believe in protecting the rights of anyone facing criminal charges and will work to ensure your rights are upheld during your case. For professional assistance in your case, call (301) 321-7277 to speak with a member of our legal team.