Gangland (2007) s01e02 Episode Script

You Rat,You Die, MS13

male narrator: Central America: On the streets of El salvador, four young men Beat another man.
They laugh as they kick and Punch him in the head and body.
This brutal assault is part of A gang initiation ritual.
The man on the ground is about To join la mara salvatrucha, one Of the most feared and vicious Gangs in the world.
Their crimes? Unspeakable.
Theiremorse? Nonexistent.
they want to be the top gang.
They want to be the one with the Most killings, the most murders.
narrator: On the streets, They're known as ms-13.
Terror is their trademark, and Members as young as eight years Old are taught the rules.
if they tell you to go shoot That cop, you better go Shoot him.
narrator: The gang has an International reach, but it's Found a cozy new home: The Wealthy neighborhoods of Northern virginia.
you have your Inner-city gangs Going out to the suburbs.
narrator: As ms-13 becomes More organized and more Structured, the message is Clear.
They intend to stay.
And in rarely seen footage, you Will get an inside look at one Of the nation's most brutal Gangs.
narrator: July 13, 2003: Along the banks of the Shenandoah river, a fisherman Makes a gruesome discovery: The Body of a young pregnant woman.
She's been stabbed 16 times.
Her head is nearly severed.
Investigators know the teenager.
She's brenda paz, and she's been Assassinated for giving insight Into the secret world of one of The nation's most violent gangs, Ms-13.
It's payback for having broken Their cardinal rule.
this gang does have a code.
If you rat, you die.
narrator: The murder of Brenda paz is nothing new for The notorious ms-13.
Their origins are in Los angeles, but the gang's Reach extends far across The United States.
Supervisory special agent brian Truchon heads an fbi task force That is devoted exclusively to Ms-13.
you have ms-13 membership in At least 42 different states And between the United States And central america, somewhere In the region of 100,000 Members.
They are one of the most Dangerous gangs that we are Currently dealing with.
narrator: Once confined to The inner city, the gang now Contaminates the most unexpected Turf: Suburban communities Unaccustomed to dealing with Gang violence.
In alexandria, virginia, an Ms-13 member led the gang rape And murder of a 24-year-old Woman.
In a suburb of boston, three Members of ms-13 raped two Disabled girls.
No community is immune, not Even those on the doorstep of Our nation's capital.
For the millions who work in and Around washington, d.
, the Suburbs of northern virginia Seem idyllic, a shelter from the Grind of the city.
It's here in the working-class Neighborhoods that ms-13 is Turning a corner of this seeming Paradise into a battlefield.
Experts believe there are more Than 2,000 members in northern Virginia.
Detective victor ignacio, who Has investigated ms-13 for ten Years, says that like most Gangs, ms-13 represents a tiny Minority in these communities.
the hispanic community in the Metro area, not just here but All over the country, are very Hardworking people.
The ms population, when you Compare it to the hispanic Population, I wouldn't even say It's a 0.
narrator: Despite their Numbers, ms-13 has wreaked havoc With machete attacks, Shoot-outs, and vicious Assassinations.
In 2002, ms-13 pumped A rival gang member Full of.
38-caliber bullets.
They shot the victim's female Companion in the back as she Fled the scene.
The list of crimes committed by The gang members is endless.
we're talking assaults, Malicious woundings, shootings, Stabbings, witness intimidation, Homicides.
narrator: In los angeles And central america, ms-13's Long-established gang rackets Include drug trafficking and Extortion, activities that Go hand in hand with violence.
But here in northern virginia, Such sophisticated rackets Don't exist.
Ms-13's primary motivation Isn't money.
Instead, it's to churn up terror In order to gain respect and Power on the streets, where Death can come on a whim.
they act on impulse.
They go out drinking.
They happen to go past a certain Neighborhood.
They see somebody.
They act on it.
narrator: This man is a Former ms-13 gang member.
We've concealed his identity For his protection.
narrator: Detective claudio Saa has been battling ms-13 for Eight years.
He's wearing a mask because he Works undercover.
they instill fear and Intimidati in the community, Because you see a lot of people That don't want to report it For fear of retaliation.
narrator: It's here in Northern virginia that ms-13 Member brenda paz decided she'd Had enough.
Paz became an informant, sharing The gang's secrets with law Enforcement.
In turn, the authorities had Promised her a fresh start In life.
the three places ms will lead You: Jail, hospital, or the Cemeterythe only three Places that this gang Will lead you.
narrator: Brenda's murder is A devastating blow to Investigators who are trying to Uproot ms-13 from the lush, Green suburbs of northern Virginia.
Paz was born in honduras in Several years later, her family Immigrated to los angeles.
It's here at the age of 13 that She became part of ms-13's "normandie locos," a respected L.
A year later, Paz ran away from home.
She stayed with various ms-13 Members, landing in virginia In 2002.
Within months, police arrest Paz and her boyfriend after the Pair steals a car.
A local judge appoints attorney Greg hunter to represent paz And to serve as her temporary Guardian.
it turned out within a few Hours of my taking that Appointment that it was obvious That she had a lot more problems Than just having run away from Home.
narrator: Paz's boyfriend, 18-year-old denis rivera, Is a murder suspect.
He is also one of the Highest-ranking ms-13 members in Northern virginia.
Police are eager to find out What brenda knows about him.
Paz sees a chance to make a new Life for herself, so she makes A deal.
If the authorities protect her, She'll reveal the inner workings Of the gang.
Turns out brenda paz is A gold mine of information.
I'd never come across anybody Who knew this much about ms-13.
And she'd seen drive-by Shootings, armed robberies, and Lots and lots of other rapes, Robberies, other violent crimes.
narrator: In a series of Videotaped interviews, paz Takes investigators deep inside The hidden world of ms-13.
I've been a lot withI like To call them hit men or Floaters.
Those are the ms that stick Out, the ms that go around Traveling, and where they hit, They kill.
I was affiliated With a lot of them.
narrator: One of the first Stories brenda shares is the Grisly murder of 20-year-old Joaquim diaz, a hardworking Teen with no history of gang Affiliation.
On September 16, 2001, diaz's Body was found here at Daingerfield island, a federal Park in alexandria, virginia, Just four miles from the Pentagon.
Detective robert freeman was Among the first responding Officers.
when we arrived, we found The body of a hispanic male.
He had been stabbed Multiple times.
He was practically decapitated.
narrator: Diaz's throat had Been cut from one end to the Other, a portion of his larynx Sliced out.
Investigators had already Learned that two ms-13 members Had befriended diaz the day of The murder.
One of the men was rivera, Paz's boyfriend.
Rivera and his associate had Invited diaz to a party at this Nearby apartment complex.
Once there, rivera told his Homeboys his true intentions.
denis rivera approached the Group and said, "I've got a Chavala with me" And that he wanted to kill him.
narrator: Rivera was wrong.
Diaz wasn't a chavala, but the Murder plan was already in Progress.
they took him on a ride, led Him to believe that they were Going to go to d.
And buy some Marijuana.
narrator: Instead, they took Diaz to daingerfield island.
this is the path they took to Walk joaquim diaz back.
And they walked him back about a Football field and attacked him.
Joaquim diaz ran farther into The woods, basically yelling, "why are you doing this to me?" narrator: The gang stabbed Diaz numerous times.
Rivera used a kitchen steak Knife to try and sever diaz's Ad.
Rivera confessed the gruesome Details to his girlfriend, Brenda paz.
he told her that he did it.
He killed this young kid, and it Waskilling's just another part Of his day.
She asked him about the Attempt to cut his head off, And denis said that it wasn't Any big deal.
It's just like trying to cut Up a chicken before you cook it.
narrator: Police decide to Prosecute rivera for diaz's Murder.
Brenda paz agrees to testify Against him.
It's a dangerous move.
they tell you, "you know what You're getting yourself into.
You can't turn back.
It's for life, and you can't Turn back.
You don't rat us out.
" narrator: August 2007: An Alleged ms-13 gang member is a Suspect in the execution-style Murder of three teens in newark, New jersey.
When cops arrest the man two Weeks later, he yells, "ms-13 Forever.
" It's a life 17-year-old brenda Paz is trying to escape.
During the summer of 2002, she Spills her secrets to law Enforcement in northern Virginia, taking them deep into The violent world of ms-13.
you have to go out and Recruit.
You have to go out and kill.
You have to go out and shoot, Bring money in for the gang.
You have to go and make everyone Know you're in the gang.
narrator: That willingness to Kill has been a hallmark of Ms-13 since its inception nearly 25 years ago.
Its roots trace back To central america.
In 1979, a civil war erupts in El salvador.
Leftist guerillas and the Salvadoran communist party join Forces against the corrupt Military dictatorship.
Over the next 12 years, the war Kills an estimated 75,000 People.
Joker, a former ms-13 gang Member, witnessed the violence Firsthand.
narrator: Nearly 1 million Refugees, most of them Supporters of the guerillas, Migrate to the u.
Many settle in los angeles.
Sergeant rick rodriguez has Battled ms-13 for 12 years.
He says many salvadorans left to Escape the vicious landscape.
you're leaving a war-torn Country looking for a better way Of life.
I mean, who doesn't want a Better way of life for their Family or for themselves? And the United States has Always provided that to Immigrants.
narrator: But what they find Is another war zone, this one Dominated by mexican street Gangs.
immediately, el salvadoran Refugees started to band Together in an effort to really Establish themselves and protect Themselves from other gangs in The area.
narrator: They call Themselves mara salvatrucha, Combining the spanish word for "gang" with the term used to Honor salvadoran peasants Trained as guerrilla fighters.
The number 13 pays homage to the Mexican mafia, a california Prison gang whose nickname is La eme, spanish for the Letter "m," the 13th letter in The alphabet.
In el salvador, many of the Immigrants had fought among the Guerrillas in vicious Close-contact battles.
In los angeles, with their Military training and Experience, they quickly Out-terrorize the mexican gangs.
narrator: Beginning in 1992, U.
Authorities attempt to Contain the gang by deporting Its members back to central America.
But once home, the deportees Recruit new ms-13 members from The streets and the jails In el salvador.
they weren't being welcomed In their own country, so they Band together again, and you Know, they basically caused a Lot of problems.
narrator: Over time, the gang Works its way back into the u.
And spreads across the country.
as they move, they are able To replicate themselves in a new Community, and they have the Ability to immediately be able To conduct criminal activity.
narrator: Its numbers Explode.
they've gotten big enough to Where they can break off into Sets or subsections or cliques.
And a clique can have anywhere From 15 to 200 members, Some even more, depending on Where you're at.
narrator: Each part of the Country represents different Opportunities for ms-13, Including drug dealing and Extortion.
Ms-13 took root in northern Virginia because it was already Home to one of the nation's Largest hispanic populations, And within that population, There were rival gangs.
ms-13 wanted to become or be Known as one of the biggest Gangs out there.
they want to be the top gang, The top hispanic gang.
That's what they want.
They want to be the one with the Most killings, the most murders.
narrator: The result, a Wave of crime that has shocked The community.
this area has seen, in Essence, an explosion of the Violence that ms-13 Is capable of.
narrator: When brenda paz Moves to northern virginia in 2002, she quickly gains the Respect of the local ms-13 Cliques.
The cliques are impressed with Her close ties to ms-13 Leaders and the normandie Locos, a powerful clique from L.
, the birthplace of ms-13.
if you come from l.
, Chicago, el salvador, one of Those places, your word is like The gospel.
narrator: But soon after her Arrival, she agrees to help the Police.
once you start thinking about All the [bleep.]
you do, that Makes you get your conscience.
You start thinking, "[bleep.]
, Look at this stuff that I've Done through my life for this Stupid gang.
It's just two letters, and it Doesn't mean anything.
" narrator: She tells sergeant Rick rodriguez from the Arlington police department that The only way to escape is to Destroy the gang's leadership.
she says, "I just want out of The gang.
" In her mind, the only way was, If she provided enough Information to law enforcement, We would be able to dismantle Ms-13.
Then you're taking away The leadership.
You're cutting the snake's Head off.
narrator: But paz is Literally in bed with that Leadership.
Two years earlier, while living In dallas, texas, 14-year-old Paz had dated 25-year-old levis Flores, a high-ranking ms-13 Member known as "junior.
" he became her boyfriend, and She was a witness to everything That he was involved in and Everything that he was told and Every order that he gave.
narrator: Brenda claimed that When junior and other ms-13 Members left texas to carry out Hits Went along.
they would go from state to State, and they'd go around Killing.
So that's how I traveled With them.
narrator: Paz shares with Authorities the horrific details Of one murder junior committed In texas.
December 2001, dallas: Brenda and local ms-13 members Congregate at a pool hall.
They want to go to a party Across town but need another Driver.
Paz calls an acquaintance, 21-year-old javier calzada, whom She had met at a shopping mall Two weeks earlier, and asks him For a ride.
Calzada agrees.
According to local Investigator rick oseguera, Calzada wasn't affiliated with Any gang.
javier had graduated from High school.
He was working at an auto Dealership.
Basically, he was just a, you Know, good kid living at home With his parents, just being A good kid.
narrator: When javier Arrives, brenda and junior climb Into the car.
they start driving.
Junior is asking javier if he is A gang member, specifically a North side gang member.
narrator: Javier insists he Isn't a gang member.
Junior doesn't believe him and Orders him to drive away From town.
A second car packed with six Ms-13 members follows closely Behind.
They end up here, on the Outskirts of dallas.
Detective allan patton says Calzada had no idea what was About to happen.
they took him down this road, And there's no telling what was Going on in javier's mind Then, whether he was gonna Be robbed.
He didn't know What was going on.
this young man pleaded with Them to just take the car.
You know, "if you want it, You can have it.
Don't kill me.
" narrator: The gang shows no Mercy.
They shoot him execution-style.
brenda sat in the car just a Short distance away from where All this happened and watched All of it in horror.
narrator: Paz tells Authorities junior showed Little remorse for calzada.
after the shooting, junior Walks back to the car, and he Says in spanish, "god, forgive Me for what I've done," makes The sign of the cross.
He starts throwing gang signs, And they drive off, and Basically, they start partying.
It's like it didn't mean a Thing.
They just killed an individual.
To them, it was no big deal.
narrator: Ten days later, A fisherman discovers Javier calzada's body.
his body had basically been Eaten away by animal activity, Various and sundry animals Feasting on the dead flesh.
narrator: The following year, In part due to paz's statement, Investigators are able to secure Guilty pleas in the case.
Junior is sentenced to life at This prison outside san antonio.
But junior suspects his Girlfriend brenda is behind His arrest, and he's determined She'll pay for it.
narrator: In 2003, police Link ms-13 to nearly 700 Gang-related crimes in northern Virginia, including rapes, Murders, and assaults.
It's the gory brand of violence Favored by la mara salvatrucha, Known as ms-13, an international Gang that has taken root in the Well-manicured suburbs of Washington, dc.
May 2004: In alexandria, Virginia, a gang member is Attacked with a machete.
Several of his fingers are Sliced off.
Their motive is simple: To be The most respected and feared Gang on the street.
narrator: Detective claudio Saa has been part of the herndon Police department's gang unit For eight years.
He's protecting his identity Because he works undercover.
As early as 1993, he noticed Ms-13 graffiti tags popping up In towns more familiar with Little league games than gang Warfare.
graffiti is the first Indicator that they're at that Location, because for them, That's advertising.
narrator: The graffiti Represents local chapters, or Cliques, of ms-13.
There's no centralized chain of Command for the many groups.
Each is autonomous.
It's a shadowy world that former Ms-13 member brenda paz was Helping authorities unravel.
there'll be a clique leader Who assigns a person to go a Certain place and just start Their clique there, and that Clique will get started.
And as that goes along, people Start moving, and the clique Becomes bigger and bigger And bigger.
ms is like the headquarters.
Ms is the entire gang.
The clique will do its own Thing, but you're still Accountable to ms-13.
narrator: A clear hierarchy Does exist within each clique.
A shot-caller, or Decision-maker, holds The highest position.
Lieutenants and a multitude of Soldiers fill the ranks.
Some of these soldiers are as Young as eight and nine years Old.
ms is recruiting in every School around here.
Ms recruits wherever ms steps.
narrator: Here in a hispanic Neighborhood in northern Virginia, students are Well aware of ms-13.
I don't mess with ms.
I don't mess with ms.
they're starting them Younger and younger, 'cause I'm telling you, I see The elementary schoolers and The middle schoolers, little Boys walking around here with Little flags and stuff.
ms will look for the people Who look like they're gonna be More vicious, the stronger type, The more athletic, the more Person who wants to fit in, the Person who is gonna do more to Try fit in.
narrator: They target Individuals with absent parents, Kids who are enticed by the Promise of an alternative Caring "family.
" narrator: Joker joined Ms-13 when he was 13 years old.
His initiation included a ritual Called a "beat-in.
" narrator: This footage shows A beat-in on the streets Of el salvador.
the whole point of them Beating them is to showso they Canthey'll be able to tell If this person, "a," One of these days, whenever They get into a fight With another rival gang, "is this person going to Be able to stick around and Fight with us, or is he gonna Take off?" narrator: Female recruits Have a choice when joining The gang.
They can be beat in or "sexed in.
" a young, 13-, 14-year-old Girl ends up having sex with Four or five guys, and then she Becomes a member.
narrator: Brenda paz chose to Be beat in.
brenda was beat in the way That men are traditionally made Members of ms-13.
And she said for several days After that beating, she wasn't Really able to walk.
narrator: As another part of The initiation process, new Members must prove their Allegiance to ms-13.
they may ask you to go out And commit a crime.
Whatever it is they ask you, you Have to comply with it, because That's how you're going to show Loyalty to them.
narrator: To prove his Loyalty, teenaged joker shot an Unsuspecting rival gang member.
narrator: When they turned Around, the unassuming assassin Opened fire.
narrator: Ms-13 members are Governed by strict rules and Regulations.
first is god, then your Mother, then your gang.
You live for god.
You live for your mother.
You die for your gang.
once you're ms, You're ms for life.
narrator: Detective rodriguez Gathers gang intelligence for The arlington police department.
He confiscated this notebook From a female gang member.
and this particular notebook, It became a very viable source Of information, because as we Flip through it, we find Ms-13 rules.
Respect el barrio, which means Respect the neighborhood; No lies or secrets; no chilling With chavalas; don't tell on Each other; be at meetings.
you go to your clique meeting Regularly every Saturday or Sunday, every week, and you take Your tax money.
Taxes could wound up from $10 to All the way to $100, depending On what your clique leader Wants.
narrator: Any member that Defies gang rules is subject to So-called "courting.
" Decisions on punishments like Courting are made by High-ranking members within Each clique.
To climb the ranks, members must Commit crimes: The more violent, The better.
The highest rank, a shot-caller, Also known as an "o.
," stands For "original gangster.
" they are expected to Earn their way to o.
If your homeboy says, "I need You to go with me to kill Someone," you got to go With them.
If your homeboy says, "I need You to go do a robbery with Me," you got to go.
narrator: And when carrying Out those orde, ms-13's weapon Of choice is a machete.
anybody can shoot anybody From distance.
When you stab somebody, It's personal.
You're on top of them.
You're touching that person.
narrator: Using a blade Also allows the gang to leave Their calling card.
ms-13 likes to stab Various times.
If they can get 13 stabs in, That's a message, because it Leaves the number 13 on you.
narrator: They also declare Their membership in the gang by "representing.
" a tattoo to a gang member may Be similar to what our badge Represents to us.
It's a sign of who we are.
It's a sign of what we Represent.
We're proud to display our Badges.
narrator: Ms-13 tattoos can Represent incarceration and Release dates.
Others show membership in local Cliques.
Some even tell stories.
narrator: The placement of Tattoos conveys special meaning.
tattoos above your neck Signify you've done something.
You've either stabbed Somebody.
You've killed somebody.
You've done something To earn them.
They're respected tattoos.
narrator: A common ms tattoo, The three-dot triangle, serves As a constant reminder of the Gangbanger's chosen path.
it means you're gonna end up In one of three places: Cemetery, hospital, or jail.
That's pretty telling when a Gang says, "this is where you're Gonna end up.
" It doesn't say you're gonna end Up being a ceo of a company.
narrator: Like most gangs, Ms-13 has even developed a Secret language.
Hand signs form a code.
this is like the normal one.
That's "m," and that's the "s.
" 13, 13, 13.
It's spanish; there's the "c" And the three, so that's trece.
narrator: When it's time To fight, members silently Communicate by "stacking out.
" it's very significant: They take their shirts off.
They always go like that, Signifying that they're Gonna get into battle, Taking your shirts off.
They'll do the stomach For when they're gonna shoot.
Is is when they stab.
narrator: Eventually, many ms Members land in prison, where They continue to operate, Ordering crimes from their Cells.
These are then carried out by Gang members on the outside, Looking to score points with the High-ranking incarcerated Members.
they understand that someday They may be behind bars and Someday they may be in the same Situation, or they may need Others on the outside to do Things on their behalf.
narrator: In February 2003, Prison inmate and high-ranking Ms-13 member denis rivera was Beginning to become suspicious Someone had snitched to the Police, and that someone was His girlfriend, brenda paz.
Ms-13's violence has made International headlines.
In 2004, gunmen board a public Bus in honduras and massacre 28 people, mostly women and Children.
In northern virginia, police Arrest an ms-13 fugitive.
His crime: Murdering a man With a sawed-off rifle.
It's a twisted way of life, And 17-year-old brenda paz Wanted out.
So in 2002, she told law Enforcement critical information About ms-13, how they worked, What their plans were, and who Had committed crimes.
Paz was violating the most Sacred rule of the gang: You rat, you die.
you do not talk To the police.
That is against the rules, and Therefore, the price is gonna be Death.
narrator: Federal authorities Know that if paz's homeboys find Out, she'll be marked for Assassination.
narrator: In November, the Fbi moves paz to a safe house In silver spring, maryland.
As long as brenda cuts off all Contact with the gang, she will Be safe.
But paz is a teenager, and she Hates being alone.
Within weeks, she reestablishes Contact with ms-13.
She naively throws a party and Invites all her homeboys.
She tells them her father is Paying for her new apartment.
Immediately, they are Suspicious.
she had money, stuff she Didn't have before when she Was hanging out with them and Chilling.
narrator: Rumors quickly Spread through the gang.
Before long, they reach paz's Former boyfriend junior, a High-ranking member of ms-13.
He's serving time at this prison In texas, thanks in part to Information paz gave police.
Junior sends a warning to Brenda's current boyfriend, Denis rivera, who was awaiting Trial in virginia for the brutal Murder of joaquim diaz in Alexandria.
The message: "brenda is a Snitch.
Keep her quiet.
" "if she fails, then you have To get rid of her, or we get rid Of you.
" narrator: It's an order Rivera can't ignore.
if it's brought up by someone Who has power in ms, No questions asked.
You just do what you got to do.
narrator: Denis rivera's Reputation is also at stake.
if denis wanted to leave his Girlfriend talking about him and Others on the street alive Without any reprisal, I think Denis loses any credibility and Any power that he ever had.
narrator: In February 2003, Denis rivera discovers that Brenda plans to testify Against him.
From inside a virginia prison, He allegedly issues A "greenlight.
" Rivera asks ms-13 members On the outside to carry out The hit.
He is later caught on tape Saying, "we're going to step on Her until she doesn't get up.
" Rivera's homeboys seek advice From members in other states and Even other countries.
when it's a big crime that They want to do, if it's A person who is big, they plan.
They think about it.
In meetings, they bring it up.
They think of how they're gonna Kill them, and they think About it.
They don't just do.
narrator: With her ose ties To powerful ms leaders and her Immense knowledge of the Inner workings of the gang, Local gang members consider paz A big hit.
she was somewhat Of a leader.
Of course, she had a lot of Wealth of information About the gang activity.
So people looked up to her.
they did not want to make That move and then find out that It wasn't true.
So before they act on impulse, They conducted an investigation.
narrator: Within a month, law Enforcement learns of the gang's Plan to kill paz.
In March 2003, paz enters the Witness protection program.
Marshals change brenda's Name and move her to minnesota, Far away from ms-13.
But witness protection isn't Designed for a 17-year-old girl Who has just found out she's Pregnant.
Desperate for friendship, she Maintains regular phone contact With her homeboys back in Virginia.
she knew that witness Protection was going to care for Her baby, help getting herself On her feet and started as a, You know, productive adult.
But at the same time, on a Day-to-day basis, the loneliness Was just such a torture for her.
narrator: Within a few Months, brenda decides to leave The witness protection program.
A group of ms-13 members bring Her back to virginia.
it's like an alcoholic.
You know, you go through The detox process, And three months into that Process, if someone puts a cold Beer in front of you, it's very Tempting not to drink it.
And for brenda, It was the same process.
She couldn't stay away.
when she got back to Virginia, she joined a group, Part of the homeboys, part of The runaways that were living on The street.
They were living day to day, Hotel to hotel.
narrator: The group engulfs Brenda with attention.
It's a concept ms-13 refers to As "baby-sitting.
" Their efforts work perfectly.
Despite warnings from law Enforcement, paz is confident That the greenlight will not be Carried out.
we heard different people Were coming to get her, but it Meant nothing.
She never seemed overly Concerned, because I think she Felt protected within her Clique.
narrator: Soon her ms-13 Baby-sitters obtain enough Information to justify a hit.
they find some of her Diaries.
They find some of the police Detectives' business cards That she had kept.
They felt they had enough to Say, "she's a rat, and we're Gonna enforce the code.
" narrator: July 12, 2003: Brenda spends the day Panhandling at a fairfax mall.
She's now four months pregnant.
That night, she rents a room at A nearby hotel for herself and Other gang members.
Brenda waits in the parking Lot.
She doesn't know that they are Holding a meeting inside the Room, planning her murder.
Paz spends the night having sex With this man, oscar grande.
She has no idea he has Volunteered for her death squad.
narrator: July 13, 2003: Ms-13 informant brenda paz and Four other gang members drive Through the shenandoah valley in Central virginia.
Paz is under the impression she Is joining the gang on a fishing Trip.
What she doesn't realize is that She is being set up.
they parked not far from here And walked on this trail and Other trails to get to a little Secluded spot right here by the Bridge.
This is where brenda was killed.
narrator: Four days later, Fishermen discover a bloated Body along the banks of the Shenandoah river.
Lieutenant john thomas of the Shenandoah county sheriff's Office led the investigation.
the body had been stabbed Numerous times, and it Appeared that the head had been Attempted to be removed from the Body.
narrator: Lieutenant thomas Sends pictures of the distinct Tattoos on the body to Neighboring jurisdictions.
Within a few days, detectives From northern virginia respond.
They are certain the victim is Their informant, brenda paz.
The brutal murder of brenda by Her own ms-13 friends shocked Law enforcement in northern Virginia and across the country.
her death helped to reinforce The gang's viciousness.
People would pull us aside and Say, "well, you don't Understand.
Look what happened To that girl.
" they're sending a message To the community: "ifyou talk, This is what can Happen to you.
" So that's when the law Enforcement sent a message To the gang.
narrator: Two months after Paz's assassination, her Boyfriend, denis rivera, goes to Trial for the chilling murder of The virginia man whose head he Tried to sever.
Paz's statement about rivera's Confession, presented in court By greg hunter, her Court-appointed guardian, Is crucial evidence.
Rivera is sentenced To life in prison.
Later, oscar grande and another Ms-13 member are also sentenced To life for the murder Of brenda paz.
The jury acquits denis rivera, Who allegedly ordered the Greenlight from prison.
In the wake of the trials, Northern virginia law Enforcement adopts aggressive Measures to combat ms-13.
On this night, law enforcement In fairfax, virginia, saturates An hispanic neighborhood.
they go out looking for Individuals that they have Warrants for, following up on Information on various people, Going to residents, doing knock- And-talks, finding out if people Are where they belong.
narrator: It's an unsettling Sight in the middle of suburbia.
At the entrance to the Neighborhood, police set up A checkpoint.
Each driver that passes through Must present identification.
Dozens of local officers and Immigration and customs Officials patrol the community On foot.
Their primary mission: To gather intelligence.
The police talk to this 17-year-old.
They suspect he's a member Of ms-13.
narrator: Officers will check On this young man the next time They conduct a gang operation Here.
the hard-core ones, they'll Tell you, and they'll throw the Hand sign up for you, you know.
But you have the ones that are Borderline that they're doing All the crimes.
When you ask them, "you, you ms?" "nope, I'm not ms.
I hang with them.
They're my friends.
" But if it walks like a duck, Quacks like a duck, What can it be? narrator: Virginia officials Aren't the only ones ramping Up their pursuit of ms-13.
The murder of brenda paz put the Gang in the crosshairs of National law enforcement.
March 2005: As part of a sting Called "operation community Shield," authorities arrested 100 ms-13 members across the Country.
August 2005: Federal authorities Indicted 19 ms-13 members In metro dc.
The suspects are accused of Involvement in six homicides, Five attempted killings, And two kidnappings.
That same year, the fbi created A national task force, declaring Ms-13 a top priority.
the brenda paz murder became Almost a lightning rod, and it Opened a lot of people's eyes.
narrator: June 2007: Attorney General alberto gonzalez Announced the indictments of Three ms-13 leaders in maryland And el salvador.
I think it does make A difference.
Do we still have challenges with This gang in this country? No question about it, and That's why we're working as hard As we can to develop good Strategies.
narrator: Defying it all, Ms-13 continues to grow in Numbers and power.
are they here? Yeah.
Are they violent? Yeah, they are.
Are they very violent? In some instances, they're Extremely violent.
narrator: Virginia Detectives say the gang is Growing increasingly Sophisticated, staying one Step ahead of the heat.
they're not putting Themselves out there for us as Law enforcement to see them, but They're there.
narrator: And from the grave, Brenda paz sends this chilling Priction.
what you're gonna see is a Lot of calming down and a lot Of ms kind of trying to calm Down.
And then you're gonna see Everybody pissed off.
It'll get worse, because it's
Previous EpisodeNext Episode