Gangland (2007) s03e07 Episode Script

Menace of Destruction

male narrator: Their code Demands not only secrecy but Violence.
narrator: Fearing reprisals, The members of one of the Country's most secretive gangs Won't show their faces On camera.
narrator: They call Themselves m.
, Menace of destruction.
narrator: And the twin cities Are feeling their wrath.
narrator: No one is safe as They terrorize minneapolis and St.
Paul, even law enforcement.
he turns around and starts Shooting.
Kind ofI recall hitting the Ground.
Captioning by captionmax Www.
Com narrator: Minnesota's Twin cities Minneapolis and st.
Paul Are divided by the Mississippi river.
Some 3 million people call the Metropolitan area home.
It's a cold-weather paradise Where hockey, curling, and ice Fishing are the local pastimes.
In the past 20 years, thousands Of southeast asians have Immigrated to the region.
they moved here because of The quality of life.
I mean, you have good education.
You have affordable housing.
You know, you have many Amenities here.
narrator: The hmong people, Native to china, make up the Largest portion of this Community.
now here in minnesota, we Have about 60,000 hmong.
In fact, we have the largest Urbanized hmong population in The United States.
narrator: A small number of These hmong lead secret, Ultra violent lives.
narrator: There are some 50 Documented hmong gangs in the Twin cities area alone.
Of those, one strikes The most fear: M.
, menace of destruction.
the m.
Have got to be One of our most active gangs And most violent gangs.
narrator: No cop is more Familiar with m.
Than chris tayson, a 15-year Police veteran and investigator With minnesota law enforcement.
He is an expert on their Ultra secret activities.
S in particular are Involved in the trafficking of Methamphetamine, the auto Thefts, the armed robberies, You know, the attempted murders.
narrator: Tayson's also Battled to crack their Secretive culture face-to-face.
February 12, 2007.
Investigator tayson and his Partner, sergeant kevin navara, Were on patrol in downtown St.
They spotted a local m.
Fugitive, 25-year-old Mitchell moua, in his car.
mitchell drives by, and I Lock eyes with him.
We both kind of looked at each Other, and the chase was on.
narrator: Moua was wanted For multiple charges, including Kidnapping, robbery, assault, Weapons, and drug possession.
narrator: Tayson and navara Chased moua's car down an alley And barricaded him.
But moua was not about to stop.
he ended up going around my Vehicle, and then the real Chase was on.
narrator: Moua raced down The streets of st.
Paul, Fleeing a pack of squad cars.
next thing we hear is shots Are being fired out the window Of mitchell moua's car.
narrator: The cops shot Back, and a firefight ensued on The busy city streets.
Moua lost control of his car And crashed.
Then, true to the secret nature Of m.
And not wanting To be taken alive, He did the unthinkable.
mitchell ended up taking his Own life.
He shot himself in the head.
narrator: It's m.
S Like moua who have turned the Streets of st.
Paul And minneapolis into Hostile territory.
narrator: "tou" is a former M.
Member who asked to Have his identity concealed Because he fears retaliation.
narrator: M.
's secrecy Makes them a close-knit Society, closer even than blood.
they don't care about Anything except their gang.
The only thing that matters to Them is that they're m.
, Menace of destruction.
narrator: Sergeant richard Straka, a 15-year veteran with The st.
Paul police department, Is familiar with the inner Workings of this highly Secretive gang.
the gangs become their Family.
Their only goal is, you know, To protect themselves and their Friends.
narrator: This promise of Family and protection was a Magnet to "ricky," who also Asked to have his identity Concealed.
He grew up on the east side of St.
narrator: At an early age, "ricky" saw his friends and Cousins cliquing up.
He wanted in.
narrator: The thrill-seeking Turned to terror when "ricky" And his homies started fighting Other gangs.
they have to do violent acts Back to themto the rival Gangs to show that they're on Top, that they're not to be Messed with.
narrator: M.
's reach Goes far beyond minnesota to Places like california, Colorado, and north carolina.
The twin cities are the gang's True national headquarters and Base of operations.
The area draws members from all Over the country.
you could have, say, 50 M.
S in st.
Paul-minneapolis Area, but that number might Swell to 150 or 200 because The m.
S from other cities And states come here.
it's nothing for A 14-year-old m.
To, You know, to do a shooting in Sacramento, california, and Find himself here in minnesota Living with m.
narrator: Tayson had fought This type of fugitive before.
February 3, 2005.
Investigator tayson, along with Sergeant navara, got a call to Columbia heights, a suburb North of minneapolis.
columbia heights just had a Pool hall shooting.
And they asked us for our Assistance.
narrator: Nine members of M.
Had been shooting pool When a fight broke out with Some young tibetans at a nearby Table.
The m.
S had mistaken them For a rival gang.
narrator: What started with Fists escalated to bottles, cue Sticks, and pool balls until The m.
S raised the stakes.
Unarmed and outmatched, the Tibetans fled the pool hall.
The m.
S showed no mercy.
narrator: After the shooting Stopped, the six tibetans lay Bleeding on the streets.
it's a classic case of the Tibetans bringing a knife to a Gunfight.
They didn't realize what they Were going up against.
narrator: Officer tayson Began an all-out investigation.
In just days, it was revealed That a violent m.
Fugitive Was behind the pool hall Shooting.
The gangster's name was Yatau her.
And he would soon unleash A reign of terror never before Seen in the twin cities.
narrator: The United States Has the largest population of Hmong people outside of asia, Numbering some 180,000.
Roughly half have settled in The twin cites of Minneapolis-st.
This includes one of the most Deadly gangs in the midwest, The secretive menace of Destruction, or m.
narrator: The roots of the Hmong go back nearly 3,000 Years to china, their original Home.
the hmong people are a very Peaceful people.
We live way up in the Mountains, just, you know, grow Our crops and just want to be Left alone.
narrator: This calm Depiction contrasts with the Hmong's history, much of which Has been spent in conflict.
In the 18th century, civil wars Drove many out of china and into Southeast asian countries like Vietnam and laos.
Those who stayed in china Suffered during world war ii, First under the oppressive Reign of the japanese, and then Later under the new communist Regime of mao tse-tung.
The 1950s and '60s brought new Conflicts as american forces Moved into southeast asia.
The goal was to stem the tide Of rising communism in the Region.
The u.
Recruited the hmong to Help fight the communists.
we were trained by the cia, And so if you have a m-16, We'll do a good job for you.
narrator: For almost 15 Years, hmong forces fought in Favor of u.
Interests in Laos, battling the north Vietnamese and vietcong in a Country that was officially Neutral.
The struggle came to be known As "the secret war.
" the hmong involved in the Vietnam conflict was, first of All, to rescue american pilots Who were shot down over the Country of laos.
The hmong were also recruited To engage the north vietnamese Army.
narrator: In 1975, the u.
Pulled out of the region, Leaving the hmong at the mercy Of their communist enemies but Offering asylum to those lucky Enough to make it to the u.
Later that same year, the u.
Evacuated thousands of their Hmong allies.
Over the next two decades, tens Of thousands of hmong were Resettled in the u.
, thanks To a government sponsorship Program.
The twin cities, headquarters Of several relief agencies, Also became a popular hmong Destination.
Like other immigrant groups, The hmong faced great Difficulties in their new land.
Ex-gangbanger "tommy" asked to Have his identity concealed.
The child of hmong refugees, "tommy" had trouble fitting in With his classmates in school.
narrator: It didn't take Long for the hmong youth to Become angry and full of Despair.
there's no hope at an early Age; that drives them to Criminal activity, and it's a Sad situation.
narrator: In 1988, "tommy," Then a seventh grader, Recruited some friends and Formed his own gang.
narrator: The new gang would Become the most powerful in the Twin citie They called themselves the White tigers.
narrator: In addition, Dozens of other hmong gangs Formed.
The goal of these new gangs, However, soon turned from Protection to criminal Enterprise.
Their target: Other hmong People.
hmong elders, a lot of their Cash and valuables are kept at Home, hidden in closets or what Have you.
So a lot of the gangsters, they Know this, so they know where To go when they want a quick Hit.
narrator: The gangsters also Knew when to strike.
they know that some of the Temporary employment agencies Used to pay cash every day on Thursday.
So every day on Thursday, we Had armed robberies going on.
narrator: These new bangers Were small, secretive, and Extremely ruthless.
they're 5'4", 5'5" tall.
People, think, you know, They're not gonna be very Violent, and that's not the Truth.
If anything, I think they're More violent because of that.
They're younger.
They don't think about the Consequences of what they're Doing.
narrator: They were missing Just one thing: Firepower.
narrator: "tommy" and his Homies cased the store for a Week, noting when the police Patrolled the area.
narrator: Their break-in was Bold and terrifying and became The gang's calling card.
they would steal a car, and They would drive it through the Front of a gun store, and then They would go inside the gun Store.
narrator: Once inside, the Gangsters worked with extreme Precision and focus.
there'd be a group that Would start breaking the glass Out of the gun cases, and the Next group would follow in Behind with duffle bags or Pillowcases and scoop up all The handguns.
narrator: They walked away With an impressive arsenal of Weapons.
they'd be in and out of that Gun store in a minute, minute And a half.
narrator: The white tigers Were armed and dangerous.
Their violence spread to anyone Who got in their way, even at Family arcades like this one.
But the gang was planning A bigger surprise.
In the early 1990s, the hmong Community continued to grow in The twin cities.
They began to organize an Annual July 4th soccer Festival, which became a big Cultural event.
While the rest of the community Viewed the festival as a Celebration, the gangs used it To settle conflicts with one Other.
narrator: In 1991, the white Tigers planned a brutal Surprise for a rival asian gang At the soccer festival.
narrator: When the rival Gang showed up, "tommy" and his Fellow white tigers made their Move.
narrator: In seconds, The playing field became A battleground.
narrator: Though no one was Killed, the shooting terrified The twin cities and put the White tigers on the map.
A rival hmong gang was about to Make its mark, however.
2,000 miles away, near the Farmlands of northern California, menace of Destruction, or m.
, was Taking shape.
Expanded throughout the Early '90s, forming cells in Cities with a large Hmong presence throughout Wisconsin, colorado, And north carolina.
By the middle of the decade, As the hmong population migrated To the twin cities, So did m.
They also began recruiting School kids like "tou.
" narrator: For the first Time, the white tigers had Serious competition for Supremacy.
New m.
Gangsters like "tou" Were going after them.
narrator: It didn't take Long for the white tigers to Fall apart.
Most of their members were Either locked up, in other Gangs, or dead.
The m.
S, on the other hand, Were growing like wildfire, With out-of-state recruits Flocking to build up its Membership.
One of the most notorious of Those gangsters was yatau her, A high-profile fugitive from The west coast.
Yatau was 21 years old with a Longer rap sheet than many Career criminals.
December 2004, california.
Yatau her was doing time for Assault with a deadly weapon When he escaped from a work Release program.
narrator: Along with Secrecy, one of the cornerstones Of the m.
Code is the Concept of helping fellow Members.
A wanted man in california, Yatau fled to minnesota where He knew he'd be safe.
Yatau her would use the lessons He learned gangbanging in Fresno to rise to the top of The m.
S in the twin cities.
His presence would incite the Gang to never-before-seen Levels of violence.
these guys are m.
These guys don't particularly Go after anybody for no reason.
narrator: Menace of Destruction, or m.
: It's a name that isn't easy To live up to.
The brutal hmong gang that uses It stretches from its northern California roots to its most Powerful chapter in minnesota's Twin cities.
they're not overly fearful Of getting caught.
These guys were shooting cops And innocent people.
It's a notch in their belt.
narrator: This nationwide Gang also operates under a Cloak of secrecy, hiding Members on the run from Police around the country.
we see our gangsters getting I.
'd in wisconsin and California as much as we see Theirs.
narrator: M.
's secrecy Is unusual.
Unlike most other gangs who Like to show off in the 'hood, This one prefers to lay low.
it's dangerous.
If they sit on a specific Street corner or a specific Park all the time, their rival Gang members are gonna know.
They don't wanna be a target.
narrator: M.
Specializes In the art of surprise as a way To keep their enemies Off-balance.
narrator: Their low profile Means members avoid graffiti.
The lack of tagging makes it Tough for law enforcement to Track their turf.
don't see a lot of the Graffiti.
It's not like you see in the Black gangs and hispanic gangs Where they're marking up walls Of apartment buildings.
they're not claiming that Area for theirself.
They're so spread out and Living in so many different Areas that there's no reason For it.
narrator: This tight-knit Hmong community means gang Members all know one another.
This means that getting inked, Which is required in some gangs, Is optional for m.
narrator: Most do get tats To show their gang pride.
you're gonna see the m.
You're gonna see tattoos that Might just say "menace.
" You'll see them on their back, Chest, arms, necks.
narrator: The most common M.
Tat is the code "3-0-1.
" This code becomes clear when Gangsters throw down their M.
Hand sign.
that 3, it turns into an "m," and then the zero is the Letter "o," and then if you Loop that last one, it looks Like a "d.
" narrator: The gang's colors Vary from state to state.
narrator: M.
Has Virtually no hierarchy, but Each set has a leader in charge.
narrator: The shot callers Tend to be older gang members, A reflection of the hmong Culture's reverence for the Wisdom of age.
they probably committed More crimes.
They've gotten a little bit Wiser in how they're doing Their crimes.
And they can pass it on to the Younger kids on what to do and What not to do and how not to Get caught.
narrator: Joining the gang Requires that members prove They're down for the cause.
narrator: The recruits also Have to be patient if they want To be members.
typically that involves two, Three, four guys beating you up For 20 or 30 seconds.
narrator: The brutal process Comes with a reward.
narrator: Some members don't Have to endure the jump-in.
The m.
S have an easier path To initiation, if you have the Right connections.
they call it ketting Blessed in.
That would just be, you know, My brotheryour brother's You know, I'm cool.
Your brother's cool.
We're just gonna let him Into the gang.
narrator: Once a member is In, there are three simple Rules he must follow.
narrator: The consequences For breaking the first two Rules are severe but n deadly.
narrator: Members who have Been violated lose the respect Of the gang.
It can take months or even Years to rebuild.
narrator: Another unique Aspect of the m.
S is that Those who want to leave the Gang can get "walked out.
" There are strict conditions for This exception.
narrator: Not everyone gets A free pass, especially if A gangbanger flip-flops.
In his 15 years in minnesota Law enforcement, chris tayson Has learned all about m.
's Rituals.
He found out firsthand just how Lethal their actions could be When he came face-to-face with One of m.
's most notorious And desperate fugitives, Yatau her.
this guy kind of walked that Way, just turned around and Started shooting.
narrator: Minneapolis, 2005.
Investigators were on a mission To bring in a young, ruthless Member of the hmong gang menace Of destruction, or m.
Yatau her was a fugitive from California hiding out in the Twin cities.
Yatau was armed and extremely Dangerous.
we had the information that Yatau her was in town.
We knew who we were looking for, These m.
S, but they had Individuals that were hiding Them.
narrator: Yatau her quickly Became a leader in the twin Cities, making the gang much More violent.
The gang strike force knew if They could apprehend him, they Might be able to end m.
's Dominance of the area.
Chris tayson, a veteran with The gang strike force, was Trying to break the gang's code Of silence and take yatau off The streets.
I showed this lady a picture Of yatau her, and she said, "yeah, he's been in my house.
And not only that, he's got Guns.
" narrator: The investigator Was hot on yatau's trail, but Before he could get to him, Yatau went on a terrifying Crime spree.
February 3, 2005.
Police got the call to a pool Hall north of minneapolis.
An m.
Shooting had left two Unarmed tibetan men dead and Four wounded.
narrator: The police quickly Set up roadblocks and stopped Cars carrying six m.
Suspects with several weapons.
they had two vehicles Stopped literally, you know, Around the block.
narrator: Three guns were Recovered at the scene.
Then tayson and his partner, Kevin navara, realized that Some of their suspects were Missing.
we were able to ascertain That there was another vehicle Involved that had gotten away.
narrator: The missing Vehicle was yatau her's, the Gangster they were desperate to Track down.
we had pictures, and we knew Who we were looking for.
It was kind of like chasing A ghost.
narrator: Yatau, now on the Run again, fled to eau claire, Wisconsin, about 100 miles east Of the twin cities.
narrator: Yatau her was Desperate to get back to California, but he needed money.
February 9, 2005.
Just six days after the pool Hall slaying, yatau robbed A mini-mart.
After taking $50, he shot the Female clerk three times.
narrator: Yatau left the Clerk for dead and headed back To the twin cities.
The clerk survived, but yatau's Spree wasn't finished.
Five days later, Valentine's day, 2005.
During the investigation, Tayson got a tip that yatau her Was hiding out in a hotel room In a nearby suburb.
Expecting a firefight, tayson Called in the s.
they surround the hotel.
Comes in there, and TheyI was like, "man!" narrator: Rounds of gas were Fired, but the cops were too Late.
The fugitive had been tipped Off.
by the time we got everybody Into place and had a s.
Team hit the room, we had Missed them by minutes.
there was evidence that these Guys were staying here.
You know, they were cutting Their hair and altering their Appearance.
narrator: Police frustration Was growing, and the manhunt Intensified.
Then another tip.
Yatau her's car was seen in St.
Paul at the roosevelt Housing projects.
On February 23, 2005, Investigator tayson and A colleague headed to the Projects.
it's February in minnesota, And I remember as we drive by, I see three of these hmong guys With parkas on, knit hats Walking towards the area.
narrator: As the police got Closer, the trio kept changing Directions.
Suspicious, tayson got out of His car and recognized yatau Her.
I get out on the passenger Side, and one of them kind of Walkswalks away, and the Other two start walking in a Different direction, and I'm Telling them, "hey.
You know, police.
We want to talk to you two.
" narrator: The suspects Didn't hesitate.
this guy kind of just turned Around and started shooting.
narrator: The shooter was One of yatau's homies named Xee lor.
narrator: Tayson was hit in The stomach and dropped Immediately.
I don't recall actually Hitting the ground.
Next thing I know, I'm sitting On my butt shooting back at This guy.
narrator: Tayson fired 13 Shots at the fleeing suspects Before he collapsed in a pool Of his own blood.
Yatau her, xee lor, and the Third m.
Named fong vang, Took off.
after chris was shot, you Know, these three individuals Started running, and two of Them had handguns.
narrator: The news of Tayson's shooting and the Uncertainty of his survival Quickly spread throughout the Twin cities.
Sergeant kevin navara was Enjoying a day off when he Turned on his cell phone.
I had, I remember to this Day, 27 phone messages, WhichI'm used to 5 or 6.
narrator: Navara sped to the Scene, one of hundreds of Officers looking for the gunmen.
The cops finally collared the Shooter, xee lor, and the third Suspect, fong vang.
Then an officer spotted yatau Her.
they saw yatau her running And, you know, still had a gun In his hand.
narrator: The officer pinned Yatau her against a building With his squad car.
Finally, m.
's biggest Menace, yatau her, was in Custody.
Yatau was charged with multiple Crimes, including attempted Murder and accessory to murder.
yatau her, he was convicted.
I believe he pled guilty in eau Claire.
He also pled guilty in columbia Heights.
narrator: Her was sentenced To a total of 42 years.
Xee lor was sentenced for the Attempted homicide of Investigator tayson and Accessory to second-degree Murder in connection with the Pool hall shooting.
He received 361/2 years.
Fong vang and six other m.
S Were sentenced to 3581/2 years For the pool hall shootings.
we got some good prison time Out of these guys.
narrator: These sentences Took some of the most violent M.
Gangbangers off the Streets.
narrator: Yatau her's crime Spree took the m.
S down, But they were not finished.
The gang was already figuring Out what its next move would be.
narrator: St.
Paul, Minnesota.
With yatau her and the rest of The leadership of menace of Destruction, or m.
, behind Bars, the gang is weakened But still in the game.
narrator: Many assume that, Due to their ultra secretive Nature, m.
Is simply in Hiding before their ultimate Reemergence.
sometimes they're violent.
Sometimes you don't hear from Them for a couple years, and Part of that is because some of Their hard-core members are Locked up.
narrator: With its most Violent gangsters either Incarcerated or dead, m.
Is Changing its strategy.
some of the gang members who Aren't gangbanging as heavy Now, they're out there selling Meth and ecstasy to make money, But they're not out there being Thugs right now.
They're not out there doing Shootings.
narrator: According to "tou," it's just a matter of Time before the violence Resumes.
narrator: Menace of Destruction is plotting its Comeback and using technology To do it.
some of these gangs have Unbelievable websites talking About the violence that they Do, showing guns, showing Themselves on there.
narrator: Even cell phones Make it simpler for the gang to Operate.
it's a lot easier now, if You're driving by and you see Some rival gang members, to get On your cell phone and call up And get 10 or 15 gang members To come over there to do Something.
narrator: While younger Gangsters use new tactics, some Older ones are calling it quits.
narrator: "tommy," who Founded one of the twin cities' First hmong gangs, the white Tigers, now has a family and a Regular job.
narrator: "tommy" still Feels the pull from the gang.
narrator: It's the power That makes "ricky" fearful of The future.
narrator: Letting go of M.
Hasn't been any easier For "tou," who says he left the Gang several years ago.
Having a child changed Everything.
narrator: "tou" says the Gang "walked him out" Peacefully for all his years of Service.
While he's no longer an active M.
, he admits the life Keeps its grip on him.
narrator: It's an urge twin City authorities say is common.
I've seen guys getting Married and have children and Tell me, "I'm married now, Kevin.
I'm not in a gang anymore.
" But as soon as their parents' Place is hit up on a drive-by Shooting 'cause brother's In a gang, he jumps back in for The retaliation part of it.
So it's always there.
narrator: Investigator chris Tayson was lucky.
The bullet missed his vital Organs by a fraction of an inch.
Tayson recovered quickly.
The mild-mannered family man Found himself in a new role: Hero.
I live in a small town, so It's one of those things, like I said, thrust into the Limelight.
I'm not the one thatone to Talk about it, so narrator: In 2006, he Received the medal of valor.
He was also named minnesota's Policeman of the year.
Today investigator tayson is Back on the streets, hunting Down gangbangers.
narrator: It's just a matter Of time before the menace is Back.

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