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Latin Kings and MS-13: Detectives Talk About Franconia’s Gang Problem

Detectives also urge public to report Insane Clown Posse bumper stickers

Fairfax County Police Department Gang Unit detectives speaking to Franconia’s Citizen Advisory Committee meeting last week brought bad news and good news. The bad: The Franconia area is threatened by Salvadoran gang MS-13, a group so notorious one detective called it a terrorist threat. The good: Gang activity in area high schools is at a new low.

The two detectives who spoke at the CAC meeting at the Franconia Government Center asked not to be photographed or named in this story for their own safety.

The detectives estimated there are more than 100 gangs in Fairfax County, and between 2,000 and 3,000 gang members. The Franconia District, which includes Kingstowne, Rose Hill and parts of Annandale and Lorton, has 13 gangs, according to the detectives showed.

While gang members in the area are rarely obvious, they can be spotted by a keen observer, one detective said.

“You will see them flagging out there,” the detective said, referring to gang members flashing handsigns or wearing gang colors.

Gang activity in local high schools is lower than it was a few years ago, according to one detective, although the gang list did include a group specific to Hayfield High School—the Latin Homies. One detective talked about the investigation of the Tiny Rascal Gang at Edison High School in 2010.

“We took care of those kids real quick,” he said.

Even Lee High School, which experienced a spate of gang graffiti after a 2007 murder at Springfield Mall tied to MS-13, has quieted down, detectives said.

Still, the detectives said the Franconia Police District continues to be threatened by gangs. MS-13 is the ”biggest threat right now” in the area, according to one detective. The gang is also active in the McLan and Mason districts.

Juggalos

Another detective said some crime in Franconia may be perpetrated by another, less traditional gang: people who listen to the rap group Insane Clown Posse.

Fans of the group, who call themselves “juggalos” or, for female fans, “juggalettes,” listen to “horrorcore” music, a subgenre of rap that focuses on gruesome topics like murder and rape, a detective said. He said juggalos have been responsible for assaults, robberies, child pornography, and even a murder in Fairfax County. He declined to name the murder case.

The detective cautioned that listening to the Insane Clown Posse, or even being a juggalo, does not mean a person is a criminal.

“Don’t freak out,” he advised people who might know a juggalo, saying listening to the music does not make a person a criminal. The detective described attending an ICP concert in Norfolk, Va., and being treated well by a juggalo who thought he was a fan.

“A lot of people consider them a cult,” he said. According to the detective, Rose Hill’s Gangster Disciples consider themselves juggalos.

The detectives said anyone who sees the “Hatchet Man,” an ICP symbol, should report it to Fairfax County police. The image, the silhouette of a running man carrying a hatchet or cleaver, can sometimes be seen on cars, according to the detective. He asked that people send them the license plate numbers of cars with the Hatchet Man logo.

“I’d just like to talk to [reported juggalos],” the detective said.

The detectives urged anyone with gang-related information to contact the unit at 703-246-2511.

j February 22, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Juggalos are no more a gang then fans of any other music group what a crock have fun on your witch hunt
cheichele February 22, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Agree with J. Just because some juggalos "have been responsible for assaults, robberies, child pornography, and even a murder," doesn't prove a thing. Unfortunately, a few bad apples labels us all. The media allows extremely too much propaganda to be distributed to its audience. (I know, it's their job). I am not in a gang or cult. I don't do drugs nor have I ever killed anybody. I've never stolen anything, let alone robbed anybody. I'm in my 3rd year at college studying Criminal Justice after which I plan to be a probation officer while attending law school. I'm proud to be a juggalette. I just wish I didn't have to be labeled by a few idiots. There are plenty of people who are not juggalos committing the same crimes.
Susan Francis February 23, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Mr. Sommer's article does not accurately represent the presentation made by the detectives at the meeting. I was at that meeting, and I am dismayed by the sensationalism and inaccuracies in Mr. Sommer's article. The two comments above are only two cases in point.
Will Sommer February 23, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Hi Susan! I think I gave an accurate portrayal of the meeting, but I'd love to hear more about your concerns by email or in the comments here.
Storm Wooten February 24, 2011 at 05:10 AM
There is a song by Insane Clown Posse called "To Catch a Predator" where they rap about how much they hate pedophiles. Also, There is a word for stalking people for the way they dress or decorate their car, its called profiling. Juggalos are just a group of people who listen to ICP music. Anyone who participates in gang activity is not welcome
Ndidi February 28, 2011 at 04:11 PM
1st paragraph, 5th line --> should be Salvadorian, not Salvadoran
William Callahan February 28, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Hi, Ndidi. "Salvadoran" is in fact correct, but we appreciate the sentiment.
Wigger Mann March 01, 2011 at 06:50 PM
"The detectives said anyone who sees the “Hatchet Man,” an ICP symbol, should report it to Fairfax County police." I've got the number on speed dial ;-) Hopefully the cops will start cracking down on these thug punks.
William Callahan March 01, 2011 at 07:08 PM
The comment that was previously here has been deleted for violating our terms.
Storm Wooten March 03, 2011 at 07:28 AM
I'll repeat what someone else said above, Have fun on your witch hunt
John April 04, 2011 at 10:34 AM
cheichele Think u so much at least u know who we really are and what where really about unlike every one els who wants to call it something its not so they can say this is bad and try to countrole Weee... The People so yeah thanks girl and rember keep your head up and b stronge
Mike April 04, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Gangs aren't welcome here period. I am on the lookout for the hatchet man or any of the other scum.
Mike April 04, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Parent, it is called "text-English." This is how they communicate via their phones texting and it carries into forums such as this.
Storm Wooten April 06, 2011 at 05:56 PM
As I said previously, that's called profiling. Having a Hatchet Runner on your car is the equivalent of having an AC/DC sticker on your car. It doesn't mean that you're a gang-banger, it means that you like that type of music
Storm Wooten April 06, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I'm on John's side on this argument but I do wish he would use better grammar...
Storm Wooten April 06, 2011 at 05:59 PM
There's no excuse for it, I can't stand improper grammar.
Rose-Hillian April 09, 2011 at 01:47 PM
I hate the thought of gangs in my home town! I try to compare the youth today to my era, I was a so called hippie back in the day and listened that devil music as some called it, and still do, so even though I don't care for all of todays music, I get it, so I think the thing about the ICP is a hot mess!! Oh yeah I also still use slang. Back in the day us hippies were like a family to each other and all about peace. Gangs claim to be to family to each other today, but family doesn't kill one another, do home invasions, jump people in or not let them out, or any of the other violent things that belonging to a gang involves, so don't be fooled by all the hype help fight gangs by not joining one!
Storm Wooten April 09, 2011 at 05:41 PM
Again, Juggalos aren't really a gang, ANYONE claiming otherwise is misrepresenting us. There was no initiation when I decided to be a Juggalo, I listened to some music I liked and met some people who like the same music. We hang out, we don't steal from or hurt anyone, and I can quit hanging out with them anytime I want, although I wouldn't because they're some of my best friends, that's what Juggalos mean when they say "Family". I would do just about anything for my friends, whether they're Juggalos or not.
Joanne Thompson September 14, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Isn't freedom of speech wonderful? And, we learn as we read and listen!
Mike October 30, 2011 at 03:27 AM
The FBI now calls them a gang: http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/28/fbi-report-warns-of-growing-juggalo-threat/
Justin Hephner August 15, 2013 at 02:19 PM
I am a 43 year old grandfather of three. I have worked and paid taxes all my life. I have owned 3 successful buisnesses. I am a Juggalo. The absolute ridiculousness of calling Juggalos a gang appalls me. The culture may be very different than what you expect or are used to, and very outside the mainstream, but at its core its about tolerance and love for your fellow man. To live and let live and not interfere with the happiness of others while experiencing your own. There may be some juggalos that have committed crimes, and appalling ones, but to label anyone with a hatchetman a gangster is absurd.
Mike January 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM
The FBI thinks different.

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