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Update- Gang Activity in the United States

Gang activity in the United States continues to grow at an alarming rate. Historically, gangs were thought to be composed primarily of adolescents who banded together to conduct criminal activity for protection and profit. But, today, gangs are placed into two groups: prison gangs and street gangs. Gangs find community and focus and become breeding grounds for recruitment for criminal and terrorism-related activities. Chris Swecker, Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigative Division, stated, “Today, gangs are more violent, more organized, and more widespread than ever before. There are approximately 30,000 gangs, with 800,000 members, impacting 2,500 communities across the U.S.” EK Gangs are not only in large metro areas, but sparsely populated states like Oregon and Kansas. A gang that was borne in the prison system of Oregon is the EK or European Kindred (Group Profile forthcoming), which is now identified as a major security threat. In 1998, an inmate at the Oregon State Penitentiary developed the concept for the group for what he felt was the need to bring white inmates together to protect themselves from black inmates. When he was transferred to the Snake River Correctional Institute, he brought the idea to another inmate and formed EK. Their doctrine is White Supremacist mixed with Christian Identity, “skinhead” ideology and Odinism, which is based on a deity in Norse theology. EK has members throughout the Oregon prison system. Four members form a “table,” which makes decisions within each prison institution and forms the leadership for recruitment, enforcement, debt collection, and day-to-day operations. Members are identified by: ? A shield tattoo that can be either prominent or hidden. The shield is earned by performing some type of duty ordered by the table. ? 511 on their knuckles or wrists. The numbers represent the 5th and 11th letter of the alphabet. The EK objectives reportedly set within the tables of the prison system are: ? Protection of EK members from black inmates of the Oregon prison system ? Extortion of inmates and prison staff ? Selling protection ? Recruitment of new members ? Lucrative smuggling as tobacco and drugs According to Chuck Cogburn, Lead Intelligence Analyst with the Oregon Department of Justice, the “EK has about 325 documented members; however, EK members have stated there are about 900 members throughout the United States.” Fifteen to twenty EK members have been released from prisons in the past 90 days. Many convicts dedicate themselves to planning future crimes, often wanting revenge that can lead to the birth of a “homegrown” terrorist. Case in point is the history Gale Nettles. Three years ago, he sketched his deadly plan in the sand of a Mississippi prison yard. He planned to bomb the 28-story Chicago federal courthouse after his incarceration. He told his plans to a fellow inmate including the location of where he planned to park the truck to bring down the building. He wanted to create a bomb more powerful that the one Timothy McVeigh detonated eight years earlier in Oklahoma City . The inmate he reported his plan to told authorities, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Chicago planned to keep him under surveillance after he was released from prison. His prison contact assisted FBI agents in setting up a sting operation. Nettles printed counterfeit dollars to purchase ammonium nitrate. He bought 2,000 pounds of a harmless fertilizer from an undercover agent. His second plan was to be introduced to an al-Qaeda member so he could hand over the bomb-making material, thinking he could get top dollar for the sale. An FBI agent posed as the al-Qaeda operative, and Nettles went as

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OODA Analyst

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