FBI Warns NC Police Chiefs About Possible Gang Retaliation
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Brandon Devone Smith, a member of the Blood Nation gang, according to the FBI, was shot and killed after he shot and wounded a sheriff's detective in October. It happened in Wilmington. In November, the FBI put police chiefs across the state, including Rodney Monroe, on alert that the gang may be seeking revenge on officers. "They're trying to intimidate law enforcement, trying to intimidate those who cooperate with us, to address the heinous crimes that these gangs commit," says Charlotte FBI Special Agent in Charge John Strong. "When they're emboldened, it makes us even more committed than ever to take appropriate action, to identify the crimes they're committing and hold them accountable to those," says Strong.
The FBI works hand in hand with agencies across the state in special task forces to combat gangs. The agency brings the power of federal prosecution, instead of state, to the table. Strong says, "They (gang members) are intimidated by the federal system, because there are long sentences and they have to serve the entire sentence, they don't have parole after a short period of time."
Strong says in addition to location, gang behavior has changed, too. "They still have colors to wear, but it's not so much you see that showing up, and if you show up in a certain neighborhood wearing the wrong color, you're gonna be shot. That's not so much the case as it was years ago. As a matter of fact, we're actually seeing the gang members working together, members of different gangs working together, to commit crimes such as distribution of narcotics," says Strong.
Strong says the FBI works dozens of gang-related cases across the state every day. He describes gangs as having a revolving door of members, meaning they aren't going away anytime soon.