Newly released DPS report highlights growing gang problem in Ang - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Newly released DPS report highlights growing gang problem in Angelina, Nacogdoches counties

Posted: Updated:
Gang graffiti on a building on Nacogdoches Main Street (Source: KTRE Staff) Gang graffiti on a building on Nacogdoches Main Street (Source: KTRE Staff)
Gang graffiti on a dumpster in Nacogdoches (Source: KTRE Staff) Gang graffiti on a dumpster in Nacogdoches (Source: KTRE Staff)
A gang member shows off his tattoos. (Source: MGN Online) A gang member shows off his tattoos. (Source: MGN Online)
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

A new report released from the Texas Department of Public Safety shed some new light on a growing gang problem in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties.

The 40-page report is compiled from reports from various departments around the state. 

East Texas News talked with local law enforcement today about the growing numbers and why one of them believes the problem may only escalate.

When you drive around East Texas, you can see the evidence of gangs.

"It's not that we have particular gangs," said Lt. Pete Maskunas of the Angelina County Sheriff's Office. "For the lack of a better term, we have a buffet of everybody."

And the new state report agrees. It states that Angelina and Nacogdoches counties rank high in gang activity. 

According to the report, Bloods, Crips, and the Aryan Brotherhood are the biggest concerns. However, Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said Latin Kings and MS 13 are also on the rise. 

"We are very proactive in identifying our gang members," Bridges said. "I think that is why the numbers show what they show."

So why are the numbers so high? The answer - U.S. 59. 

"I have walked the highway for over 20 years," Bridges said. "It has always been a major corridor for drugs. It's one of the top highways if not the top highway in the nation for criminal activity." 

And with the planned expansion of U.S. 59 to Interstate 69, the problem could grow. 

"That is a boom for us as an economic development, but with that increase in population and economics, comes an increase in that criminal element," Maskunas said.

Previous East Texas News reports also back up the study. Last summer, a homeowner was robbed. The culprits were suspected Houston gang members training a Lufkin gang, Maskunas said. And just last week, three people shot were shot near Winston Park, and Lufkin Police officers believe the incident was gang-related. 

But should there be concern for a coming turf war? Maskunas said not yet. 

"We have had reports through intelligence sources that there are gangs trying to establish territory, and if they are met with rival gangs there will be problems," Maskunas said. 

If it does come, Maskunas said the Angelina County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies will be ready.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow
KTRE logo

KTRE

358 TV Road,
Pollok TX 75969

FCC Public File
publicfile@ktre.com
936-853-8639
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTRE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.