Monday, November 07, 2005

OK, This Cannot Be Good News

Gangs Using Military For Training, Experts Say

Military Says Gang Members Weeded Out

SAN DIEGO -- One of the country's leading gang experts says gangs around the country are sending their members to the military to learn urban warfare.

Richard Valdemar, a 30-year-veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, travels the country lecturing and teaching police about military-trained gang members. Valdemar and other gang experts say gangs are encouraging members to join the military for training and access to weapons.

The military's current emphasis on urban warfare plays into the street-fighting mentality of gangs, experts say.

"When individuals go into the military, they are taught how to use weapons, defensive tactics, and the use of a lot of sophisticated techniques," said LaRae Quy, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "They take that back on the streets with them. This is a legitimate concern for law enforcement."

Valdemar cites former Camp Pendleton Marine Sgt. Jesse Quintanilla as just one high-profile example. A military court sentenced Quintanilla to death in 1996 for killing his executive officer and wounding his commanding officer.

When interrogators asked Quintanilla why he committed the crimes, Quintanilla said it was for "his brown brothers," according to Valdemar. Quintanilla showed them a tattoo on his chest with the word "Sureno," a reference to a California gang, according to court documents.
Of course, one might wonder why gang members take a step down to join the military to learn about urban warfare, but hey, I guess it's three free square ones, and you get to legally shoot cool guns...