Current gang membership in the state of Texas may exceed 100,000 individuals, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
In a lengthy examination of gang activity in the state DPS officials revealed that they believe the number of gang members may exceed 100,000 people, participating in more than 4,600 identified gangs in the state.
“This estimate is consistent with available information on gang membership nationally and within Texas. The National Gang Intelligence Center, for example, estimated in 2011 that there are 1.4 million gang members nationwide — a 40-percent increase from 2009,” the report, released Thursday, reads.
According to authorities, many of the gangs work with Mexican cartels to smuggle contraband like drugs, weapons, people and money across the border.
“Texas-based gangs, gang members, and their associates are active in both human smuggling and human trafficking, which often includes sex trafficking and compelling prostitution of adult and minor victims,” the report reads. “Gangs and gang members are attracted to the lucrative nature of this activity due to the potential for large and renewable profits and the perceived lower risk of detection. Gangs with access to alien smuggling organizations (ASOs) are often sought out to assist in the smuggling of illegal aliens into the United States. Gang members are involved in the human trafficking of both international and domestic victims.”
The most dangerous gangs, according to DPS, are Tango Blast and Tango Cliques, which officials estimate have more than 8,200 members. Officials also point to Texas Syndicate with more than 4,400 members, the Texas Mexican Mafia with more than 5,500 members, and Barrio Azteca with more than 2,000 members as the other most dangerous gangs.
DPS reports that of the incarcerated members of the most dangerous levels of gangs more than half are serving sentences for a violent crime.