Officials: 62 known gang members live in Douglas
According to Undersheriff Paul Howell of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, there are 62 identified active gang members living in Douglas County.
In 2017, 39 gang-related arrests were made in the county.
Their residences are mostly situated in the Ranchos, North County, and Indian Hills.
“They’re allowed to live here if they don’t commit any crimes,” Howell said. “But we make sure to say hello — often.”
The number of identified gang members in the Valley has stayed consistent, Howell said, and has not increased over time.
“At one point, we had the outlaw motorcycle gang known as the Mongols that attempted to set up Gardnerville as the home for the world chapter,” Howell said. “They were involved in making child pornography. But now there are no Mongols, and also no Hell’s Angels, left in the Valley.”
Most of the known gang members are a part of the Eastwood Tokers, as well as California-born Nortenos and Surenos, said Howell, which are run by the Mexican Mafia. Apparently, there is a leadership change taking place, which is causing waves of violence throughout the gang communities.
“We don’t get them much for drug crimes here,” said Howell. “It’s more turf war issues.”
Together with Carson and Lyon county, the Tri-County Gang Unit is focused on suppressing gang-related criminal activity, and preventing children from joining gangs by speaking to them in schools as a way to dissuade them from illegal activity in the future.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Joe Duffy is one of the founding members of the gang unit.
According to the Carson City Sheriff’s office, “the three counties established a single, multi-jurisdictional gang unit which is not bound by jurisdictional limits. The Officers from each agency have been entrusted by the Sheriffs to investigate cases anywhere in these three counties. This ability minimizes time lag, which is critical in gang suppression cases.”
This year, Howell said he received a letter of complaint from a known gang member, citing harassment by an officer.
“All I can say is, that individual had tinted windows, and sure, we know he’s a gang member, so we stop him to say hello now and again,” Howell said. “We want these people to know we’ll be keeping an eye on them.”