If a random stranger walk around the streets of this farming town in the backwoods of Washington, he and his head will never come, that something might happen. On the streets of silence. Men spend a leisurely afternoon, trimming their beards in a barber shop in the city center. Motorists driving past fields of alfalfa and mint, meets a huge roadside billboard proclaiming Quincy epitome of "Land of unlimited possibilities."
However, in this remote place, with a population of only 6,700 souls, in the spring of last year, in broad daylight on a busy street, was shot and killed 25-year-old, a few months ago, police found a sawn-off shotgun, a group of teenagers who hid in the couch, and recently, According to the chief of police, was raped by a teenage girl.
Last summer, near Moses Lake, marshals (Marshals Service — a division of the Ministry of Justice, is the oldest federal law enforcement agency of the USA, translator's note, perevodika.ru) Surrounded the 50 alleged members of the gang, many of them were associated with the Mexican Mafia.
There is a small town Americana, earth spacious fields and church meetings where all are more frequent gang violence.
Grant County, with a population of about 89 000 people, hardly anything is released to the criminal map of the country. However, just last year, the county recorded about 100 cases of robbery and firearms, all of them? Including head injury 10-year-old boy when his parents' trailer was riddled with bullets, and the wounding of 13-year-old girls, someone fired from a passing car while she sat in her living room, connected with the activities of gangs.
"People think it's a great, safe community, but in the local" still waters "everything is hidden under the surface of the calm" says Creeper, 20-year-old boy who was expelled from school in Moses Lake, and, in due time, — a member of the gang Marijuanos 13 . "Believe me — we have a PL, LVL, Florencia, Marijuanos, Nortenos. Here in Lake Mozes, you can find anything you want. "
City officials disagree with that, they argue that such comments — nothing more than bravado and an attempt to intimidate.
"You can not say that we have no crime, but to call it a gangster, it would be an exaggeration," said city manager Moses Lake Joseph Gavinski. "Gangs are formed with criminal purposes. They have their own territory and they have the organization. I'm not sure this is exactly what we have in the city. "
Perhaps it is a question of terminology. According to the Sheriff's Department, the county, there are dozens of organized criminal groups, which include more than 500 people for 30 days this spring, there has been four shootings, two in the home invasion and murder of one, all of these cases are associated with one of the "teams" Moses Lake. At the annual spring festival in Moses Lake, held on Memorial Day, Deputy [manager] Joe Harris was impressed by the number of young people who openly demonstrate their gang colors.
"For a city that does not seem to have problems with crime groups, there were too many thugs — at least 8 or 10 gang," he says. "It was shocking."
Rural communities are a kind of an untapped resource in the gangster world, "Harris said, describing the changes he observed, he says that in the last four years, a group of little interconnected children are prone to fighting with each other, turned into real gang, with its own hierarchy, with regular meetings and assignments that are given to younger members — usually it's graffiti or burglary.
"They still have a kind of democracy. General meetings where they discuss different issues and vote on them, "says Harris. "But now they are actively involved in the drug trade and the sale of weapons, shooting from cars."
Most bandits operating in the county has grown so much that many of the teams meet twice a week to collect pocket money with "the boys", everyone wants to contribute and help buy more ammo before you get another list of what he has to steal (when they commit a burglary, the stolen stereos and usually weapons). Everyone hopes to climb the stairs of the "kid" — a street fighter, then — in authority, and finally become a respected NG, or "The real gangster» («Original Gangster»).
"You see these kids," says the Grinch (in his 30 years — he is "real gangster" in the gang Marijuanos), pointing to the crowd that had gathered in Quincy last winter to see how the Creeper get his sixth tattoo. "They see us sing, rap drink. They all want the same All you need to do is — to say, and they will kill. It is so simple. Because it is not our choice. This is the life. "
In the statewide area of the lower Yakima Valley, and, in particular, Sunnyside, is still ahead of Grant County for criminal activity. The city itself Yakima made a major breakthrough in solving the problem, but its success has become a curse for Grant County. The members of criminal gangs have found that here in the desert expanse where you can go where you want, you can freely and easily to transport drugs, weapons and hiding from the police. 2,700 square miles of open countryside patrolled by only five helpers sheriff, and in many towns and cities simply do not have a permanent police presence, such as in the Royal City (where there are 50 known gang members) or Mattaua, where 15-year-old was recently charged with attempted murder.
Plus poverty hovering at around 20 percent, and the provision of hanging around, disaffected young people, ready to shoot anyone for real money.
In the summer of 2009 was delayed 40 bandits, they took half the prison cells Grant County. Asking for providing federal assistance, local law enforcement agencies have described the county as a place where shootings occur every week, and the "discovery of the body can be identified, well, except that only the tattoo."
The Federal Office for Control of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said growth in requests for assistance from regional law enforcement agencies that work on gang crime with a weapon. "There is a perception that this is a growing problem," said spokeswoman Cheryl Bishop.
But whatever financial support has not received county grant from the federal government, it still runs out. For example, Harris, who returned to regular patrol in July, is not able to fund the collection of data on the gangsters, although problems in the Auteuil area is growing.
"We tried to get myself a federal task force for many years," he says. "But the problem is money. Federal agencies are focusing their efforts in the cities, because, frankly, the local crime statistics do not impress anyone. Over the past 30 days, we had two murders, two in home invasion, and six or seven shootings, all of this has to do with gangster gangs. In Seattle, they looked and said, "So what?" But look at it in per capita terms. "
Although some groups of tightly engaged drugs or weapons, but still their main activities — graffiti, bullying, petty theft — has a much greater impact on the daily lives: "They just suck the life out of the community," said Quincy Police Chief Richard Ackerman. "Innocent people are living in fear."
Not everyone in the city agree with his words. Some dissatisfied "blunt" conversation police chief. The owner of the wine bar wonders why the media "dokapyvayuts" to Quincy. Kurt Morris, a local real estate agent, admits the facts of fire, but described them as minor annoyances. "We are tired of this," he says. "This is — a headache. But if I'm afraid to walk at night? No "
Indeed, most of the people living here thinking the same thing. Ackerman diligently paints graffiti, and people on the streets feel safe.
But not Creeper, who is afraid to go to the store almost every village district, for fear of running into a member of a rival gang. He says he did away with the life, and is now focused on to find a job and forget about the past. However, it is not yet renounced the gang that became his family many years ago when he was a shy, chubby kid who bullied at school.
"When you're a boy, you run with the boys, trying to make a name for themselves and authority," he says. "When I was accepted, I already knew what was going on inside. Foreign people hear about us only the bad. And we do the same thing as people do in any family. Setting up a barbecue. Water skiing. Even in the paper they write that our gang more organized, more structured than others. We keep our guys in check under control. We have our code of conduct that we do not break. "
First of all, the code requires that criminal activity remains within the gang.
"It should not touch your family. You do not drag her into the house. Punctures happen, but then the band assembled and disassembled with the intruder, whoever he was, "explains Creeper. "Innocent people are not to blame. You can not "run down" on them — .. especially children and women. "
But to the cops, of course, such a code of honor does not apply. Two years ago, members of a gang regularly cruised the streets of the quiet in Moses Lake, home to several patrol, slowly driving past their houses, they taunted the officers, including music on the power and throwing bottles of beer on the manicured lawns.
This behavior infuriated Harris most. "It was one of those lines that must not be crossed, and they crossed the line," he says. "It used to be a mutual respect: I catch you, but do not go and do not shake your family, but you do not come to my house."
Now it is not so. Four bandits recently attacked two officers on their way to school soccer game in Mattaua says Harris.
A few months ago, fearing gang violence, after which the entire floor of his house was filled with blood, Creeper, tried to start a new life, he moved with his parents to the new location. But the break with the past is not easy. Creeper — all covered with tattoos dropout, expelled from ninth grade school, and the prospects to get a job for him is very limited, while the probability to cross with one of the gang — no.
"From Moses Lake finished" his mother says. "When he moved here, he did not tell anyone about where he is, but it's a small town — .. Everyone knows each other. When my son went to the house of our neighbor, there were four guys from the local gangs and they wanted to fight. It was very, very frustrating for him. "
If at the creeper gangster life has left a feeling of fear and confusion, then it has affected his family even more. The last ten years of his mother and father were to protect your home from thieves who lived with them and protect them from the attacks of his youngest son's cronies Creeper (at one point they even used the restraining solution). The more they fought, the deeper the Creeper gets involved in gang life.
"We felt completely alone," his mother says. "Then, it seems, there was no information about what to do to stop it, the only answer — to leave. The gang just stalked him since elementary school. By high school it was all over. "
Even now, though, as she said — the worst is over, the family is in turmoil, and the Creeper once again moved. "It's just feels like everything is collapsing," says his mother. "My husband is constantly working — so far — … to buy food or son to help him pay the bills. I do not know if he would ever get a job. We have made mistakes. I think we have to set alarms on the windows, so he could not run off into the street. But you can not lock them in a closet, until they turn 35. "
Law-abiding people here in the county, began to finally get together and loudly, albeit cautiously, to say that the gang complicate their lives, make it uncomfortable. Although most of the crimes committed against other criminals, such atrocities as killing a 16-year-old boy last year in Beverly (village with a population of 620 people), or — Kill the body and the release of 17-year-old boy on the side of the road in the direction of Desert Aire, at least — do not help realtors, travel agents or city authorities, who are trying to position his district as a resort area for families.
"This is a huge problem," says business owner in downtown Quincy, whose ongoing concern has grown so much that he asked for permission to buy weapons and now walks with a gun on the job. "Over the past six months there have been two murders, ax, shots heard every week. Maybe in a city like Seattle, such things are perceived easier, but we are a small community. And quality of life is deteriorating because of this. "
It also affects the value of the property, he said. "I will not hide in our family have been talking about how to get out of town. We talked about it. But now the height of the economic crisis. My house is not worth as much as before, so I can not sell it right now. I feel trapped. "
Harris also knows the people who, because of rampant youth gangs, left or abandoned plans to retire in Grant County. However, his disappointment tinged with a grudging respect for the ingenuity and drive his opponents. One gang member bragged to him that his team is using police scanners: "You guys have to catch us up to the blue in the face, because we know that you are going to do before you start," he said. And the officer could not argue with that.
Even the police chief Ackerman, who moved to Quincy in 2009, was impressed when he saw the reality. Veteran police officer, who retired after 32 years in the Los Angeles Police Department before coming to town for an interview, did some research on the future place of work and have never found a single word about gangs. But the train around the neighborhood, he correctly identified their presence.
"Any law enforcement officer with the experience of seeing some signs will say -" Yes, it's gangster district. It is immediately obvious as the nose on your face, "he says.
"If we do not start now to do something to deal with this, we will go in the same county as the Yakima Valley, the people want to admit it or not."
Spring of this year, Savage (Savage), a gang member Marijuanos, together with other gangsters, travels to Moses Lake. After a long period of "courtship", Savage finally came to her and became a full member, but in May he was arrested and imprisoned, which prevented the holding of "rite of passage".
Chivo (Chivo) or Sureno, moved to Grant County of Los Angeles when he was 8. Shortly after the move, Chivo and his three gang-related uncle, attacked a group of gangsters from rival gangs, a case that Chivo would prefer to forget.
The Grinch, a 29-year-old leader Marijuanos — one of the hundreds of bands that pay homage to the Mexican Mafia, depicts the firing of a gun at one of rap parties in Quincy. Like many members of Marijuanos, Grinch earnest rapper and he has a prospect of success in the music industry.
Creeper (Creeper), who was a member of the gang Marijuanos, connecting with friends at a secret location in Moses Lake, where they say they often smoke marijuana. Gangster nicknames used in the article instead of real names to protect the family and friends of these young people.
Chabs and Chivo portray boxing in the parking lot in Quincy. Although it is not yet a full member of the gang Marijuanos, Chabsa recently attacked by a group of members of the opposing gang.
The gang members Marijuanos go behind the houses they painted graffiti in May 2010. While most of the gang activity of gangs in these small towns in Grant County is not so noticeable, residents are becoming increasingly concerned about her.
Young people involved with local gangs, commit "cruise" around Lake Mozes, not much caring about what they might encounter with the law. According to the Sheriff's Department, the county, there are dozens of organized criminal groups, which include more than 500 people for 30 days this spring, there has been four shootings, two in the home invasion and murder of one, all of these cases are associated with one of the "teams" Moses Lake.
Last fall Creeper lived in this house in Moses Lake, which is used by a number of young people associated with the gang. Today, he says that with the life pokocheno, but still worried about possible clashes with members of rival gangs.
Front yard of a house in Moses Lake, which is used by a number of young people associated with the gang.
Beginning in 2010, Creeper with his then-girlfriend's daughter in her arms.
Creeper smoking a cigarette, looking out of the tree house in the backyard of a childhood friend in Mozes Lake, in December 2009. Parents Creeper many times kicked him out of the house for his gangster business, and he lived anywhere.
The gang leaves its marks on the walls of houses and barns in Grant County, in September 2009. Vast open spaces and the weak police cover-up attracted a gang that can operate here without any risk to face the law.
Creeper girlfriend, Sarah, looks like her daughter Creeper walks into a room, in a house he shared with several other members of the gang. The girl's mother does not move from the sofa, and that put the door to the end of a party with drugs, fights with other gangs and "entertainment."
December 2009, the gang members hang out in one of the many homes Moses Lake. All of them have been abandoned parents. Poverty and the lack of supervision by parents or the police — the main reason that teens come in gangs.
Spooky (Spooky), a gang member Marijuanos, smokes at the door of his friend's family home in Moses Lake. Essentially, Spooky was homeless at an early age and lived in the families of their friends until missed the gang.