Monday was one of the few times county officials have addressed the gang directly after police arrested suspected MS-13 members tied to three murders of Annapolis-area residents.
Schuh said the arrests were a result of “the already strong partnerships to combat gangs that we have been building in this county for more than three years.”
County police spokesman Marc Limansky said Schuh’s comments were based on numbers kept internally at the department.
But he added that, despite their being charged, he would not release names of those arrested on suspicion of being a MS-13 member in fear of jeopardizing the larger investigation into the gang. The Capital has reported on more than a dozen alleged MS-13 members linked to violent crimes in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.
State’s Attorney Wes Adams said MCIN is a “natural outgrowth” of the Strategic Targeted Investigation on Narcotics and Gangs, or STING, which the county created last year after a similar $250,000 grant.
At the time, the gang task force was announced the day before police charged five people with killing Jennifer Rivera-Lopez, 21, of Annapolis, earlier that year. All are believed to be MS-13 members by law enforcement.
Adams’ office will be awarded about $300,000 under the grant. The core of STING was a piece of software Adams said would better integrate crime reporting data from various levels of law enforcement.
The goal was to incorporate federal, state and local data to be more efficient when tracking criminal enterprises across jurisdictions, something officials stressed again Monday with the new funding.
Altomare said the department is looking at its own software to better integrate cross-jurisdictional data. He said the goal is to have other county police departments to be aware and even alert investigators in other jurisdictions to gang activity.
The chief said the department will “get better and stronger at using the existing intelligence out there and sharing it across jurisdictional lines so that we’re better in the region.”
“So that line on a map won’t stop us at going after the bad guys,” he added.
The chief said $60,000 of the grant will go toward allowing county police officers to be more mobile in pursuing criminals, adding county residents will “see us more freely go to” states like New York, Texas and North Carolina.
Officers have arrested alleged MS-13 members linked to Maryland crimes in New York and North Carolina. A Severn man was charged with going to Texas on behalf of the gang to beat a man who angered the gang.
About a dozen people, including at least two minors, have been arrested for the murders of Jennifer Rivera-Lopez, Jose Hernandez-Portillo and Neris Giovani Bonilla-Palacios. They were Annapolis area residents found buried in makeshift graves in Crownsville and around the city.