Tougher sentences sought for alleged Kansas City gang members

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | 7:32 p.m. CST

KANSAS CITY — Federal prosecutors plan to pursue tougher sentences against five of seven Kansas City men indicted in a drug conspiracy because of their alleged gang involvement.

It's all part of a national effort to target gang members for prosecution in federal court.

The Justice Department says 41 street gang members have been arrested in five cities in a coordinated law enforcement effort aimed at crushing a wide range of violent criminal activity. Authorities allege that the gang members engaged in murder, trafficking of drugs and guns and racketeering conspiracies that endangered safety in the areas in which the gang members operated.

Federal criminal charges unsealed Wednesday target seven members of the Click Clack gang in Kansas City; 12 Colonias Chiques gang members in Los Angeles; two members and associates of the Sureno13 and San Chucos gangs in Las Vegas; seven MS-13 members in Washington, D.C.; and 13 Tri-City Bombers members and associates in McAllen, Texas.

The indictments against the seven Kansas City defendants were unsealed upon the arrest of several of the men.

U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said in a news release that the decision to seek the lengthier sentences is a first in the Western District of Missouri. Maximum penalties of various counts could be increased by 10 years because of the effort.

Phillips says her office and other prosecutors and law enforcement agencies are committed to targeting gangs and taking illegal guns, drugs and criminals off the street.

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