FBI Investigating Local Gang Members Fighting With Terrorist Group In Syria
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —The FBI Tuesday is investigating two Los Angeles gang members who have traveled overseas to fight in Syria.
A video of two unidentified men, who appear to be shouting out to their gangs while shooting AK-47s, was recently posted online by Middle Eastern media group, MEMRI-TV.
“Look homie, check this out,” one man said.
The video shows the men, known as “Creeper” from the Sun Valley G’d Up-13 and “Wino” from the Westside Armenian Power gangs, fighting alongside pro-Hizbullah and pro-Assad forces, according to MEMRI-TV.
“The Joint Terrorism Taskforce is aware of the video and is investigating to determine any potential threats to Americans or U.S. interest,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The Los Angeles Police Department learned out the video a month ago.
“It is our belief, based on that video, that they have joined foreign fighters in Syria,” said Chief Charlie Beck.
Department officials stress the men are not American citizens and were deported for undisclosed reason.
LAPD Counter Terrorism Deputy Chief Michael Downing says the videos are an example of a type of convergence predicted five years ago.
“We worry about their appeal to recruit their associate gang members, the battle lessons they learn overseas, and their intent when they return if they are allowed to return. This is why we need all our communities in America to understand the danger of this appeal and help us counter it,” he said.
USC International Law and U.S. Foreign Policy Professor Joshua Lockman says the pair’s actions overseas could have a local impact.
“It’s quite possible that they could either be in communication with other gang members here in Los Angeles, or possibly, supported by a terrorist group, such as Hizbullah . . . that seek to someday plot attacks against the United States,” he said.
Authorities said there were no indications of an immediate threat.