A bad sign of the times

Gang graffiti using tags of notorious and dangerous street gangs have appeared in Floyd County with the latest spray-painted on the side of a wall at The Village Green on Main Street.

“MM — Blood 4 Life” is, according to the Virginia State Police, a tag for a Bloods African American gang operating out of Roanoke but other gang experts say it could be a tag for La Eme, also known as the “Mexican Mafia. ” Along with MS-13, a Latin American gang, they are considered among the most dangerous by law enforcement officers who deal with gang violence.

Is this sign for real, the work of a “wannabe” or just a prank?

Hard to tell at this point but Roanoke-based community activist Jeff Artis says gang influence is growing in Southwestern Virginia and includes both La Eme and MS-13. Other gang experts say the appearance of gang graffiti means that gang has staked out an area as its own.

Floyd County Sheriff’s Department chief investigator Jeff Dalton says the Virginia State Police’s gang investigators believe the graffiti at the Village Green is a Bloods tag and does not feel it is from a Latin gang. Investigators who work with the Northern Virginia gang task force, however, say it would be a tag from La Eme. It depends on whether the top line of the graffiti is
“MM” or a three-point crown. However, MS-13 tags have appeared elsewhere in the county.

I’ll have a more complete story in this week’s Floyd Press.

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8 thoughts on “A bad sign of the times”

  1. If that grafitti was there the day after you reported it, then neither local authorities, nor the property owner take gang crime seriously. The VA State Police gang unit will tell you gang graffiti should be removed immediately else it will proliferate. VA now has fastest growing gang rate in the Country, but most people, including local law enforcement, choose to hide their heads and not face that.

    Gangs are already quite active in rural VA.

  2. I’m not suggesting that we all sit out on the front porch with loaded shotguns anticipating riotous gangs coming up the drive, but I do think a little vigilance and awareness is in order. If you see something, say something.
    This might very well be nothing but mischievousness. However, this should be taken seriously and kept in mind. Complacency toward stuff like this will only allow it to grow. If it’s poo-pooed and ignored, we might regret it one day.

  3. A lot can change within a year, but one year ago an employee of the Mexican restaurant in town told me that he was glad to get away from the gang subculture in major cities in nothern North Carolina. His perception at that time was that there were no such gangs in Floyd. Perhaps they are here now; I hope not.

  4. I have to agree with Mike. There are no Mexican criminal gangs in Floyd. Seriously, don’t worry about it. Worry about the roads and the schools and the “disabled” Deadneck guy from the trailer park who is going to steal your chainsaw so he can buy some Oxycontin. You’ll know that things have changed, and that they are here, when my brother-in-law doesn’t have to drive 5 hours to score some decent narcotics. And Yvonne, if that is a cheap shot at the restaurant folks, I think you should observe that as they are the only people in the food business in Floyd who are committed to being consistently open, they must be above suspicion. If you really want to worry about Mexicans and drugs, worry about this:
    These recent articles in the LA Times describe the new business model for Mexican drug trafficking into the rural US and I can see it happening here, so far it’s only reached West Virginia. But there wont be any gang signs or drive-bys, just ODs.

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