18 suspected Wichita Falls gang members in custody - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

18 suspected Wichita Falls gang members in custody

Wichita Falls_Eighteen suspected gang members and their buddies are off the streets of Wichita Falls Thursday following a massive law enforcement collaboration.  About 150 police officers, sheriff's deputies, and the FBI, ATF, and immigration agents targeted the Puro ‘Lil Mafia (PLM) gang.  They were armed with federal and state indictments.

Authorities say the PLM Gang is responsible for many violent gun crimes, and the recruitment of young boys and girls into their gang.  7News has been following the effort to fight gangs in the Falls for several years, and since October, 2007, police and federal authorities say they have been tracking this particular gang's activity.

Just last year, the city secured an injunction against the PLM Gang to further crack down on their members' crimes.  Now, several members face time in prison.  Seven homes were searched during the Wednesday morning takedown, and the message from law enforcement and the Wichita Falls Police Chief was abundantly clear.  "We will not tolerate anybody shooting up Wichita Falls."

Shooting up Wichita Falls is what the PLM Gang is accused of doing.  "The vast majority of them carry weapons constantly, like the chief talked about," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Taly Haffar.  "Doing drive-bys they always have guns in their cars, they're always walking around with guns on them - it's a big problem," he said.  "It's bad enough that the other gang members that they're shooting at get hit, but we have innocent citizens out there who get hit," said Chief Dennis Bachman.  "We shouldn't have a community like that anywhere in the United States."

With federal authorities involved, the U.S. Attorney's Office sought to crack down on a growing trend in Wichita Falls and the rest of the country.  It's called "Straw Gun Purchases."  "...where somebody is buying a firearm, and telling the firearms' dealer they're purchasing it for themselves, and they turn around and hand it off to a convicted felon or somebody else who is not allowed to possess a firearm," said Afar.

Wednesday's announcement included indictments for "straw" purchases.  "If you're going to commit crimes in Wichita Falls, you might expect to go to jail and prison," Bachman said.  "We believe this will dismantle - if not completely destroy - this street gang," said Afar.

Authorities say some of the arrests were attributed to drugs - specifically large amounts of powdered cocaine.  In all, they say 14 people face federal charges, including a man from Illinois.  7News is told that he is an associate of the gang.  Four more people face state charges, and more arrests are expected.

Bachman says that while it always is good to have bad guys off the street, he considers today's operation a success because no one was hurt.

Count on 7News to keep you updated.
  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Wells Fargo fined $1B for mortgage, auto lending abuses

    Wells Fargo fined $1B for mortgage, auto lending abuses

    Friday, April 20 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-04-20 13:33:09 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 4:04 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:04:50 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File). FILE - This Aug. 11, 2017, file photo shows a sign at a Wells Fargo bank location in Philadelphia. The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting Thursday, April 19, 2018, that federal regulators plan to fine Well...(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File). FILE - This Aug. 11, 2017, file photo shows a sign at a Wells Fargo bank location in Philadelphia. The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting Thursday, April 19, 2018, that federal regulators plan to fine Well...

    Wells Fargo fined a combined $1 billion by federal regulators for abuses tied to its mortgage and auto lending businesses.

    Wells Fargo fined a combined $1 billion by federal regulators for abuses tied to its mortgage and auto lending businesses.

  • Students begin school walkouts on Columbine anniversary

    Students begin school walkouts on Columbine anniversary

    Friday, April 20 2018 12:26 AM EDT2018-04-20 04:26:49 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 4:04 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:04:46 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

  • Kushner Cos. subpoenaed by feds after AP report

    Kushner Cos. subpoenaed by feds after AP report

    Thursday, April 19 2018 11:12 PM EDT2018-04-20 03:12:45 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 4:04 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:04:04 GMT
    The Kushner Cos. is confirming it was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information related to documents about its buildings in New York City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)The Kushner Cos. is confirming it was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information related to documents about its buildings in New York City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    The Kushner Cos. is confirming it was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information related to documents about its buildings in New York City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)The Kushner Cos. is confirming it was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information related to documents about its buildings in New York City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    The Kushner Cos. is confirming it was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information related to an Associated Press report that the company filed dozens of false documents about its buildings in New York City.

    The Kushner Cos. is confirming it was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information related to an Associated Press report that the company filed dozens of false documents about its buildings in New York City.

Powered by Frankly