White supremacist gang gains clout
BUENA PARK, Calif. - The white supremacist gang Public Enemy No. 1 began two decades ago as a group of teenage punk-rock fans from upper-middle class bedroom communities in Southern California.
Now, the violent gang that deals in drugs, guns and identity theft is gaining clout across the West after forging an alliance with the notorious Aryan Brotherhood, authorities say.
Police say the gang has compiled a "hit list" targeting five officers and a gang prosecutor — a sign of just how brazen Public Enemy has become.
"They make police officers very, very nervous," said Cpl. Nate Booth, a gang detective with the Buena Park Police Department in Orange County.
...The pact has increased Public Enemy's wealth and recruiting power, said Steve Slaten, a special agent for the California Department of Corrections.
In the past three years, its ranks have doubled to at least 400, but authorities suspect there could be hundreds of other members operating under the radar. They said heavy recruiting is taking place throughout California and Arizona, and members have been picked up by police in Nevada and Idaho.
"They move around. We find them everywhere," said Lowell Smith of the Orange County Probation Department.
The gang traces its roots to the punk rock subculture in Long Beach in the 1980s. It soon shifted its base to nearby Orange County and in the 1990s began recruiting what police call "bored latchkey kids" — white teenagers from upper-middle class neighborhoods.
Public Enemy is now involved in identity theft. Booth said the gang has gone from swiping personal information from mailboxes and trash to stealing entire credit profiles with the help of girlfriends and wives who take jobs at banks, mortgage companies and even state motor vehicle departments.
Money from those operations is used to fuel its methamphetamine business, he said...
My favorite part of this?
"bored latchkey kids" — white teenagers from upper-middle class neighborhoods.
I can vouch that they're out there and have been out there--oldest kid in the family living across the way from us, me growing up in a mostly-white upper-middle-class Southern California neighborhood was a skinhead. White power pamphleteering, gang warfare in L.A., arrest, the whole deal.
Whatever happened to baby Johnny?