Anne Arundel County targeting violent gangs with new task force

The war on gangs is getting a boost in Maryland as Anne Arundel County's top officers are teaming up with the FBI and state leaders to form a task force targeting gang members.

Authorities said the task force plans to flood neighborhoods in Anne Arundel County and will target gang members individually. Police said every city in the county is dealing with a gang problem so officers plan to disrupt gang members at their homes and where they do business.

"MS 13 is a violent gang so certainly that will be part of our efforts moving forward," Anne Arundel County Chief Timothy Altomare said. "We're going after violent gangs."

Altomare said eradicating gang violence was the county's new priority now that county leaders believe they have the heroin crisis under control. Leaders described the new task force's mission as an all-out assault on gang members.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said the county would work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when encountering gang members who are in the country illegally.

"Anne Arundel County does believe in cooperating with Homeland Security and assuring that criminals who are also illegal aliens are repatriated to their countries of origin. We do not want criminal, illegal immigrants in this county or in this state," Schuh said.

Authorities said they have been investigating several incidents in recent months that could be linked to MS 13. They urged people who are victims of gang violence to not comply with the gang's demands, but instead to call police. Officials said victims of gang violence who are in the country illegally should not be afraid to call authorities.