CALEE: Grant Mann
Grant Mann of the FBI's Safe Streets and Gangs Unit describes the Central American Law Enforcement Exchange.
The Central American Law Enforcement Exchange. This is a concept that has really been around for quite a while. The idea was to bring law enforcement officers working on transnational gang cases, bring them together so they can share ideas, share intelligence, and work towards finding better ways to go after these transnational gangs.
We have found that over the years this has opened up a lot of doors for us. Investigators come to the Central American Law Enforcement Exchange; they spend time together for a series of weeks talking about cases, talking about intelligence.
And what you see happen is something really quite amazing.
As these guys are talking cases, etcetera, they really start making connections, connections they never saw were there before. So someone from Boston says you know the guy you are talking about down in Houston, that’s a guy we’ve heard of on our case.
Or hey, that guy you guys are focusing on in prison in El Salvador, our guys are taking direction from him. How can we better focus in? How can we bring all of
our resources together to go after these guys?
There is no doubt that the problems in El Salvador have an effect on what happens in the United States. A couple of examples of that are, first of all, there are gang members here in El Salvador who continue to direct the operations of gang cliques in the United States, in certain cities in the United States. That means they can order hits on people who aren’t doing what they say they are supposed to do.
They can tell people who to extort. They can give directions about the gang organization and structure, about recruiting. And this definitely has an effect in our communities in the United States.
As gang members export that violence from El Salvador. As some of these gang members make their way across the border and come into our cities, they bring that violence
with them. And they bring a lot of that direction to these gangs. And so it certainly has an effect on our country.
I think that’s part of our goal here is to really give everyone a chance to receive this kind of training, to work together, so that in the future we really are facilitating better cooperation between all the law enforcement agencies. And I think ultimately that is the most important thing that we are doing here, right, is we’re working together.
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