Third in a series.
It would be impossible to categorize gangs in Amarillo as fitting a singular description.
They cover the wide range of ethnicities, races and attitudes toward each other and even those in what most of us call “normal” society.
That’s a message delivered recently at a daylong Amarillo College West Campus lecture by Amarillo Police Cpl. Steve Powers, who spoke to a roomful of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, educators and interested citizens about gangs in the Texas Panhandle.
Powers knows his stuff about gangs. He’s been a police officer for more than 30 years. He was a Uniform Division crime analyst for 17 years. He worked as a gang officer and has tracked gangs for more than 25 years. The man knows gangs.
Who are the gangs that populate Amarillo? Powers ticked off the long list of gangsters. Here are some of the outfits Power’s profiled:
* The Bloods comprise black gang members. They wear red. The girls in the gang “serve one purpose,” said Powers. “They’re for sex and for making more gang members,” he added.
* The Crips are another gang comprising African-Americans. “They hate the Bloods,” Powers said. Their color is blue. The Bloods operate mainly in the Hamlet district of north Amarillo; the Crips are active in the North Heights neighborhood.
* People Nation is a multi-racial outfit, according to Powers. They comprise “radical Muslims.” Powers is quick to point out that People Nation’s version of Islam does not reflect the mainstream religion. He considers the radicalization of Islam as a perversion.
* Folk Nation is “the opposite of People Nation,” Powers said, which I guess means it opposes the People Nation.
* Surenos hail from southern California, said Powers, “and they hate white people.” The Hispanic gang is quite violent and are the “new kids in town.”
* Nortenos are from northern California, Powers added, “and they hate the Surenos. They’re rivals. In fact these gangs hate each other.” The Nortenos also are violent and are vehemently anti-white.
* Aryan Brotherhood is a white racist gang organization, often found in prison.
* Asian gangs are popping up among the growing population of Asians living in Amarillo. They’re nomadic and they often burn markings into their skin to identify themselves.
These gangs have a few common denominators, Powers said. They’re all violent and they often are linked to drug cartels. They move drugs to the streets and deal as well in human trafficking that produces sex slaves.
It’s not a pretty picture. However, it’s real and it’s here.