Fort Bend anti-gang program leads to 93 arrests, seizure of more than a dozen guns

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "Gang members in our community, your time is up!" said Fort Bend District Attorney Brian Middleton, as he opened up Tuesday's press conference announcing new programs and initiatives to crack down on all gang activity.

Chief Prosecutor Mark Hanna, who runs the Special Crimes Divisions, says the program is already showing an impact as they've already made 93 arrests in this operation, which identified 11 different gangs altogether. In addition, 16 firearms and 23.267 pounds of narcotics have been seized.

The Special Crimes Division is responsible for handling and investigating gang-related offenses.

Hanna adds that although these arrests were made, their efforts in tackling gang crime are not over, as they plan to hold these individuals accountable in court.

"We are active. We are being proactive. We are doing everything we can to keep our community safe," Middleton said. "We will seek to hold every criminal accountable."

Fort Bend County gang investigator, Damaris Arce said some of the gang members on the streets are coming from the classroom.

"A lot of our gangs tend to, unfortunately, they tend to start in the schools," Arce said.

Middleton said to look out for commonly used hand signs, change in clothing/appearance, change in friends, and change in behavior at school as a tip for parents who suspect their child is involved in a gang. He also adds that parents should closely monitor their child's social media

When ABC13 contacted districts in Fort Bend County about law enforcement's comment that some gang members start in schools, we only heard back from Fort Bend ISD with the following statement:

"We have no evidence or data suggesting Fort Bend ISD schools are the source of any significant gang presence or activity. The district and its Police Department believe prevention is key so we educate our students and equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to avoid making harmful decisions.

We offer an abundance of enrichment opportunities and after-school activities that students can participate in so they feel connected to a positive support system and develop a close connection to their school communities and their peers.

We are especially proud of the various mentorship programs in our Collaborative Communities department and their outreach efforts throughout the District, as well as our All-In Mentoring Program, Community Members Reading Program, and PALS which stands for Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies. Additionally, the District has a robust social-emotional support network and programs offered through its Whole Child Initiative to our students and their families. We are constantly exploring ways to engage with parents so they are involved in this process as we work together to bolster our students' academic, emotional and social growth."


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