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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.

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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