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Funds target gang, youth violence
Capital - 11/14/2017
The Department of Justice has awarded Anne Arundel County$738,000 to combat gang and youth violence in Annapolis.
The County Executive's Office wrote in a release the grant will go toward funding "efforts to address growing youth gang violence in the City of Annapolis through public/private partnerships between Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, programs like Anne Arundel United and local nonprofits."
Annapolis has seen a slew of gang-related attacks and killings in recent months, with prosecutors alleging the majority are linked to the El Salvador-based gang, Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13.
Twelve county residents, with the majority being based in Annapolis, have been charged with crimes prosecutors say are tied to MS-13.
Five people have been charged with the beating death of Jennifer Rivera-Lopez, 21, of Annapolis, and all are alleged to be connected with the gang. A sixth person was arrested in North Carolina and is awaiting extradition back to Maryland, but law enforcement have not said if he is connected to the gang.
Four people face federal attempted murder charges as prosecutors say they attacked and stabbed two men in Annapolis last year in accordance with the gang.
A Severn man faces federal racketeering charges as police say he acted as a leader within the Maryland branches of the gang and is tied to various violent crimes, including a double homicide in Prince George's County.
Three men, including one of those charged in Rivera-Lopez's death, are charged with beating up a student outside of Annapolis High School for not joining the gang.
Tying the gang violence to a need for outreach within Annapolis youth population mirrors what leaders in law enforcement and the Hispanic community have been calling for as the majority of defendants are between 18 and 25 years old.
The Annapolis Police Department is hosting a meeting titled "How do I help my child" on Dec. 5 at Annapolis Middle School. The event targets parents in the Hispanic community and is "designed to strength family relations and increase school involvement."
Credit: By Phil Davis - firstname.lastname@example.org