In the following Case Studiy I look at domestic criminal organizations or gangs through the lens of Irregular Warfare (IW). These groups are viewed as criminal organizations or street gangs and are closely monitored and targeted by federal, state and local law enforcement.
These groups, from an IW perspective, are best viewed as non-state actors operating their organizations on an international business model. The players on their “boards” deal in million and billion dollar industries, have operational intelligence and counter intelligence networks, have national and international commercial practices, intensive and effective social media presence, and clear channels of communication as well as significant liquid assets at their disposal.
As part of this study, I conducted a series of interviews with members of these groups. The purpose of the interviews was to gain a greater understanding of these groups and where they stand on issues like insurgency, and to see if they have any form of social responsibility to the United States as a nation or as citizens.
The following is a compilation of information from several interviews with members of the CRIPS organization that are familiar with the leadership, history, activities and their perception of other organization position on the IW battlefield in the United States.
Affiliations and Social Responsibility
The organizations sense of social responsibility to the Black community is unquestionable. In terms of domestic security, members could see themselves as fighting alongside U.S. Soldiers in the near future, but not alongside law enforcement. As a whole the organization spoke of great respect for US military members but had little or no respect for law enforcement at the local, state or federal level. The consensus appeared to be that law enforcement was corrupt, self-serving and inept.
The organizations biggest opposition is Mexican and Central American gangs that are centrally controlled by leadership in Mexico and have align themselves with Islamic groups for profit and street control. The CRIPS view the Spanish gangs as having no social responsibility, will seek to control or destroy anything they cannot control. The interviewee felt that Latin gangs had an agenda to escalate unrest, referring to a central authority out of Mexico that had organized and equipped several of the Latin Gangs, including MS13, and were using a Muslim group’s assistance.
Interviewee(s) discussed the stance of Albanian groups, local and US wide, and they are subservient to Russian interests and would work with Islamic groups directly or indirectly.
In contrast, the CRIPS see themselves as socially responsible and willing to work with rivals towards common goals, such as ending black on black violence.
Structure and Training
The group trains regularly, but they had knowledge that groups like MS-13 and other groups who now have the assistance of Islamic cadre to arm, equip and train groups on the west coast and work across the US for control of drug and other criminal activities.
Conclusion of Interview
The interviewee seemed convinced that within a few years CRIP gang members would be fighting alongside US military forces inside the United States. He made reference to his belief that the CRIPS would be a valuable intelligence network to the military once they hit the ground and that the CRIPS would act as a type of special unit to assist the military. It was made clear however, that no one from the CRIPS, 80th street or 64th street, would ever fight alongside Local, State or Federal Law Enforcement as the CRIPS felt law enforcement would not fare well in the initial wave of violence and would either run, fall or be absorbed by the military.
Relevance to IW, OPE, and Counter-terrorism (CT)
The description of the Islamic groups reflects the methodology and TTP’s of Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) most notably as well as Al-Qaida (AQ) and its use of proxy groups. There have been several discussions within the last 3 years of a push by LH along the US Mexican border as well as LH and AQ connection with the Columbian Cartels. The rise of Opium distribution and confiscation along the US border and the border controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel does lend to an Afghan/Pakistan connection that has been looked at by the DEA and NORTHCOM for the last 3 years. The rumor that Sinaloa and Columbia cartels have been working together for some time appear to have some weight. A description by a member of a HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) team member in 2014 indicated that there has been more heroin across the border in this region in the previous 9 months than the previous 9 years combined. The interviewee, who noted that from 2013 to 2016 the availability or heroin increased while its price declined steadily, affirmed this observation.