Hillsborough Sherriff David Gee talks about gangs and drugs By Mitch E. Perry03/01/06
Last week in the Town N Country part of Hillsborough County, 2 Former Leto High School students, 16 year old Sebastian Luengas and 20 year old Michael Lee Roberts, were killed by 2 other Teenagers in what detectives called a gang-related shooting.
In the wake of those deaths, Hillsborough County Sherriff David Gee addressed the County Commission today to discuss the growing problem of gang violence in the County, and what his department is trying to do about.
Gee said the Sherriffâ€™s Department has has been working to crack down on gang activity, where nationally recognized gangs like MS-13 and the Latin Kings are now starting to infiltrate Hillsborough.(roll tape#1 o.q.â€?make those arrestsâ€?)
Gee said his department, in partnership with the Tampa Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI has applied for a 2 and a half million million dollar grant from the Justice Department to combat gang violence, including outreach into the schools. He says the County is not in bad shape in comparison to other parts of the state and country in dealing with gangs, but said it was incumbent to stay on top of the problem (roll tape#2 o.q.â€?to deal with soâ€?)
County Commissioner Kathy Castor, who represents the Town N Country area, asked Gee how prevalent are drugs in leading to such violence (roll tape#3 o.q.â€?a good source of fundsâ€?)
In recent years, Methamphetamine has become the drug of choice in rural america that has had devastating consequences across the countryâ€¦And for years now locally, Polk County has had the biggest problem in the stateâ€¦But Hillsborough Sherriff David Gee says the problem has shifted westward, and is a major concern (roll tape#4 o.q.â€?of Marijuuna â€œ)
Commissioner Ronda Storms said that she had been working on the issue of gangs in Eastern and Southern Hillsborough County for the past couple of yearsâ€¦.And said that a more direct response to â€œtaggingâ€? grafitti of gang members is needed (Roll tape#5 o.q.â€?q.â€?tagged over itâ€?)
Commissioner Mark Sharpe Asked Gee what methods and measures the Sherriffâ€™s Department was trying to use to stem the rise of gang activityâ€¦.Sherriff Gee said his department does have awareness and training , but says they need to get to target kids when they are at a very tender age (roll tape#6 o.q. â€œtheyâ€™re hardenedâ€?)
The Commission then voted on Kathy Castorâ€™s motion to have the Sherriffâ€™s department do an analysis of they need more manpower to deal with drugs and gangs in the County.