Human Trafficking: Texas Gang Investigators Conference

TGIA 2015This year I was again honored with an invitation to sign my novels at the Texas Gang Investigators Association Annual Conference (TGIA) held in Corpus Christi, Texas. It’s truly an author’s dream to have 853 attendees, plus families, guests, and speakers stop at your table to talk, purchase books for the first time—or return to buy more. This experience makes the long hours of writing worth every minute, especially when someone comes to tell you how much they enjoyed your novels.

 

Through the years I’ve become friends with many of the men and women at this conference. My respect for all they endure from their work, the public, personal sacrifices they and their families make, as well as their dedication to duty, only continues to grow. Having been an officer, I know it’s a low paid, thankless profession with the media, politicians, and segments of the public anxious to crucify you, and slow to ascertain the truth. But these men and women of TGIA, ranging from patrol officers, investigators, prosecutors, judges, and probation officers, plus a hundred other county, state, and federal criminal justice positions are doing the dirty work few in our society would ever consider. Not only are they protecting us at home, but a majority of these men and women are veterans and served in our military.

 

While there I met many interesting people, learned of an excellent non-profit organization that helps children, and was further educated about the evils infecting our society. As a veteran (Semper Fi!) and former law enforcement, I believed I’d seen or heard about the worst that man can do to man—yet talking with these folks still remains an eye-opener for me.

 

John Barrett

John Barrett, six years old.

The non-profit organization is 10-7 Outdoors, a group of sincere, dedicated law enforcement officers who organize and manage hunting and fishing trips for children of law enforcement  personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice or have been seriously injured in the line of duty. John Barrett Story, six years old, was taken on his first fishing venture by this organization. His father, Craig Story, was killed on duty as a motorcycle officer for the City of Arlington, Texas. Aside from catching five fish, John was treated like royalty and given much needed love and support. There are other children’s stories as well, but I can’t list them all. Go to the 10-7 Outdoors website and give a donation of any kind to support this fine group of people in their efforts to provide love and encouragement to the children of men and women who gave all for us. Every penny donated to 10-7 Outdoors goes toward helping the children, not to pay some administrator’s high-priced salary, as is often the case in other non-profit organizations.

Every year I’m amazed at the quality of speakers the TGIA conference has for its members. This year was no different. Attendees crammed the room to listen to them, and when a grand ballroom is filled with 853+ people, you know the speaker is top of the line. One such speaker I was privileged to meet was Ann M. Carrizales.

 

Ann and her beautiful daughter, 11 years old MiKayla Rae, stopped by to discuss my novels. We had a wonderful conversation because Ann, aside from being intelligent and attractive, always wears a smile, has a heartwarming personality, speaks in a positive manner, and makes you feel as if you’ve been friends for years. As we talked, I realized she was the officer I’d seen in the past on Houston and national news channels. While on patrol for the Stafford Police Department, she made a suspicious vehicle traffic stop in the early morning hours of October 26, 2013. Three members of a violent gang with ties to MS-13 were in the car. One of the men shot her twice—once in the face and once in the chest—then sped away. Wounded, she returned fire, gave pursuit, radioed information and followed them through two counties until they bailed out of the car in a Houston residential area and assisting officers could continue the hunt. Only then did she allow herself to be medically treated.

 

Ann_Carrizales _1

Ann M. Carrizales

Ann was one of the TGIA speakers who had a packed house when she gave her outstanding motivational talk on “Officer Survival, Staying in the Fight to Win.” Her ‘Never Quit’ mindset is amazing to say the least. To learn more about this outstanding lady and the volume of awards she has received, perform a Google search on Ann M. Carrizales or stop by her website. And in the future, look for the release of her inspirational books on unleashing your never quit, winning warrior mindset. She’s also available as a motivational speaker for corporate and public groups.

 

At the conference every year I discuss the latest gang trends with the TGIA Board of Directors, speakers, and members. From these talks I always write an article to inform and educate the public about what is happening in their communities—often in their very own neighborhoods. Unfortunately, a majority of people think gang problems are thugs spray-painting graffiti on fences and buildings, and doing petty crimes. This year I asked what the latest trend in gang activity is and the immediate response was ‘Human Trafficking.’

 

Gangs are a contagious, deadly disease that has spread across international borders and into the United States, infecting prisons, every state and major city, down to Small Town, USA. Yes, even your community whether you believe it or not.

 

The reasons why people join gangs is a social study within itself that has been debated for years. Libraries are filled with books written on the subject. One misconception John Q. Citizen always has about gangs is that they are composed of basically illiterate, low-intelligence people. Granted, 99% of gang members may not have attended a four-year university like you, your son and daughter, but they’ve earned their PhD’s and graduated from the University of Criminal Life on the streets and in prisons. Their constantly changing methods of operation are what keep law enforcement working overtime to decipher.Blood Money

In past years they remained fiercely independent of one another, but today, they’ve discovered that temporarily setting aside differences and uniting their efforts in organized manners helps further their criminal pursuits. The unification orders flow from the prisons to the big city gangs, and then acting as an umbrella, the big city gangs expand their activities to include the smaller gangs. Murder, protection rackets, robberies, drugs, human trafficking—the list goes on and becomes mind boggling because there seems to be no end to their enterprises. And as an additional note, Asian gangs are among the toughest for law enforcement to infiltrate and combat due to language, culture, and lack of police resources in this avenue. As in the majority of cases, law enforcement finds themselves reactive rather than proactive because of constant gang evolution.

Human trafficking is nothing new. It’s been around for centuries in one form or another. Let’s say you are a present day gang leader. You want to make money and in the process, want the lowest losses and penalties. Professional hits, robberies, drug running, etc., all have stiff laws and penalties if you are caught. But presently, human trafficking does not. Through trafficking, you can remain fairly safe while those at the lowest levels of the crime (the pimps and slaves) take the risks and suffer the consequences if the police bust through the door.

Human trafficking isn’t only about sex. It involves forced labor as well; indentured servitude, slaves of a sort in that a person, man or woman, can never pay off their debts to their keepers in order to be released. Like the sex slave, the indentured servant is a prisoner, often kept under the harshest conditions and methods so they do not escape. They come from domestic and foreign settings even though the public generally believes they are strictly foreigners. You’ve probably seen these victims of human trafficking and not realized them as such because they will never speak out and live in fear. They are forced to work as maids, in construction, cafes, nail salons, and other businesses where they may blend quietly. (No, not everyone working as maids, in construction, nail salons, etc., are slaves.) At the end of the workday, they are returned to a house or location and locked in, often with dozens of other slaves.

This is the basic foundation of human trafficking for forced labor. It is far wider in range and more in-depth than this brief writing. But human trafficking in the sex trade has become the latest trend for quick monetary gains, extreme profits, and holds the least potential of arrests to upper level gang leaders. In one case I learned of, a prostitute earned enough money within two weeks for her pimp to pay cash for a new Mercedes.

Forced Prostitution and Human Trafficking

Forced Prostitution and Human Trafficking

 

What is needed? First, a woman or child, from juvenile age to adult (age has no limit in this), from America or another country, who is either kidnapped, a runaway, from a dysfunctional setting, abused, mentally confused, or extremely gullible. The second thing needed is the pimp or mouth (this may be man or woman) that convinces the slave through coercion, drugs, or physical force that everything will be fine if they do what is told. The mouth then gets the word out on the streets that fresh products are available, lines up the places of prostitution, meetings, and orders the women to accept the johns (clients). The women are also forced to work in places such as strip clubs, dancing and prostituting themselves.

 

After the mouth, comes the strong arm; the person that verbally abuses, physically beats, rapes, and enforces the rules with the sex slaves through whatever means necessary to ensure compliance. Whether a child or adult, sex slaves are treated with less importance than cattle. They are cut with knives, burned with cigarettes, mutilated, and branded to depict their owner’s trademarks. They are bought, sold, and traded from one gang to another, one city to another, or one state to another. Trading from city to city keeps fresh product available for clients. There’s always a renewable resource when it comes to the product.

 

Branding is popular. Owners enjoy tattooing their names or logos on their slaves. This could be a nickname such as “King Daddy” placed across the slave’s chest or a large barcode (yes, like on products you buy at a store) on their necks and arms. The pimp and the strong arm are often one and the same.

 

So the pimp has his products, the slaves are prostituted, money is flowing—and if the police bust the operation, then it is the slaves that are arrested and charged with minimal offenses such as prostitution. Maybe the pimp gets caught, but the strings are cut at this point and the gang leaders are clear. A fine, maybe some jail time occurs, but nothing compared to drug trafficking charges and their penalties.  Say the word “Prostitute” and a woman (or a man too) walking the streets in skimpy clothes comes to mind. In this day and age, social media heavily comes into play. Pimps don’t have to jeopardize their operations by putting slaves out on the streets. They use a variety of common, local websites to advertise their products even though they know law enforcement monitors them once the back-pages are discovered.

 

It was noon on a weekday in Corpus Christi when I interviewed Miss X (the true name shall remain undisclosed), a member of TGIA. She showed me how easy it was, at that very moment, to locate a prostitute if I were a John. Miss X pulled her cellphone out, typed in the name of a local website, went through its pages, and BAM, there were 22 sex listings offering whatever I desired. Of course a telephone number had to be called to make the appointment, but after reading the somewhat coded listings, there was no doubt as to what was being offered. Miss X could even tell by the ad wording which was gang organized. Once appointments are made, the meeting places could be any hotel, motel, or neighborhood house in the city, and the meeting places change constantly.

 

This is all one side of the problem, but what happens when the sex slaves are ‘used up’ and can no longer perform for whatever reason? They are dumped on a street or murdered, and the pimp goes in search of more products. The few slaves that manage to escape or are freed through police arrests are then confronted with vast challenges of reestablishing their lives after some of the most horrid mental and physical abuse a person could endure.

 

I’ve only lightly touched upon the problem of human trafficking. With so much profit involved, there’s still the process of laundering the money. That’s where crooked lawyers and business fronts such as smoke shops and others come into play.

 

(L-R) Paul, Ringo, Glenn, Robert

(L-R) Paul, Ringo, Glenn, Robert

For non-law enforcement readers of this article, I hope you will continue to read and learn more about gang related problems. It’s happening in your communities and often in your very neighborhood. Support your local police departments by talking with them and reporting suspicious activity. The Houston Gang Task Force is a great resource of knowledge.  For law enforcement personnel reading this article, if you are not a member of the Texas Gang Investigators Association, (TGIA), then I recommend you become one. Your department may not have the budget for a formal gang unit, but you as an individual can become one for them and start being their subject matter expert. The networking and knowledge available to you in TGIA is priceless. If I were still an officer, I would be a member.

 

My thanks go to this valuable organization’s membership for all they do each day. My gratitude goes to every board member for making this one of the best law enforcement conferences known, and inviting me to be a part of it.  Of course I’ll miss a name, but I wish the best to my friends: Janelle, Paul, Sandra, Patrick, Joey, Rhonda, Rocky, Bear, Ringo, Jabari, Cara, Andy, Robert, John, Ann, and more.

 

 

Regards,

Glenn

Ann Carrizales and family. Ann is receiving the Star of Texas Award from Texas Governor Rick Perry

Ann Carrizales and family. Ann is receiving the Star of Texas Award from Texas Governor Rick Perry

 

YEAR OF THE RAM released as ebook

Reading Buddy

“Year of the Ram” is now released in ebook and available at all major online booksellers! (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBookstore, Gardners, etc.)

Set against the backdrop of a savage war, “Year of the Ram” is an epic novel of a man torn between allegiance to his father, the struggle to save their nation against the onslaught of a massive greed-ridden army, and the discovery of a son he never knew had been born.

A gripping tale of love that reaches beyond the grave; of savage warfare, of domination, treachery, and brutal accomplishments that were written into the history of a nation with the blood of its victims. A tale of one man’s battle to regain the love of his son.

 

YOTR

Writing Has Many Roads To Travel

2013-04-23 21.53.00 Aside from battling the flu, allergies, and miserable weather like everyone else, I’ve maintained a busy schedule these past seven months. I completed the writing of my YA novel, Mr. Charon, edited the work until I grew cross-eyed, and then fought off anxiety attacks while beta readers reviewed it. Along with my volunteer activities to assist children with their reading skills at an elementary school in my community, I was asked to coach a Second Grade Creative Writing Team for their participation in UIL (University Interscholastic League) competition. And this was all followed with a fantastic literature project in which AP (Advanced Progress) high school seniors reviewed my novel, Mr. Charon, and provided their insights on the young adult book.

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Looking back, I realize how valuable those experiences were to me (regardless of the long hours and anxieties.) Mr. Charon is now off to the editor and publisher for their reviews, the second graders bravely stepped forward and took part in the UIL competition, and the AP high school students renewed my faith in the existence of intelligence during the teen years. Their candid reviews were excellent feedback for an author.

 

While I cannot speak much about my YA novel, Mr. Charon, because it must undergo further trials and await an official public debut, I can say that the book was received exceptionally well by all ‘test’ audiences and I’m eager for its release.

 

With regard to my reading and mentoring volunteer work and Creative Writing coaching with elementary children, I reaped many rewards. The children’s smiles alone are worth their weight in gold. This is my fifth year of volunteering to work with elementary school children. It affords me the opportunity to be involved with our educational process (to a degree) both as an observer and participant. I’m able to interface with sincerely dedicated and wonderful teachers who struggle within the constraints of low pay, restricted resources, and increasing testing and educational demands on their time. But most of all, I’m hopefully touching at least one child in a way that will spur them on to be far more than they ever dreamed possible in their lives.

 

As for the AP high school students—well, I was truly impressed. They took the literature project seriously, wrote their reviews with thought, and expressed their opinions with maturity (often far more than I’ve seen in reviews of various authors’ works on social media outlets.) During my recent morning talk with the students and their teacher, I observed the positive connection and educated environment between them, and how such supported their individual growths. That was accomplished through love, dedication, and the professionalism of their teacher.

 
2013-06-29 22.22.13 When I returned to being a novelist after a career in security management, I never realized how many personal rewards I would receive or the doors that would be opened to me because of it. And I purposely left teachers unnamed in this writing for fear of overlooking someone, but I’m confident they will know I’m speaking about them if they read this.

 

Pay it forward. I’m a strong proponent of volunteering in your community to help others. Everyone has a talent they can share. It’s simply a matter of finding a spot in the world where your skills and kindness can best be applied. At the elementary school where I volunteer, I’m only one of many.

2013-03-26 21.09.02

 

 

In hindsight, I want to apologize to my own teachers of long ago for the misery I dealt them while a student. I’m sure I was responsible for many of them needing therapy, developing a drinking problem or drug dependence. But, to the one that said I would never accomplish anything in my life—I proved you wrong many times over….

BRONZE MEDAL AWARD to AMAZON MOON

Earlier in the year I submitted Amazon Moon to the Military Writers Society of America for a review. The months passed and when I’d almost forgotten about it, I received a great review.

One of the things about submitting the request for review was that it would also be entered in the 2014 MWSA Conference writing contest to be held later in the year. Time marched on and I forgot about it also being entered in the contest. One day I received notification of Amazon Moon being a Finalist in the Thriller/Mystery category. Of course the conference was still months away, and I knew it was packed to the gills with great authors, so I crossed my fingers and waited.MWSA_Bronze_Medal

The waiting proved worthwhile! I was notified that Amazon Moon won the Bronze Medal Award in Thriller/Mystery for the 2014 MWSA Conference. So, after performing my happy dance reserved for such special occasions, I spent the remainder of the day relishing that wonderful feeling authors get when their work has achieved formal recognition. Two days later, separate from the writing contest, I received a surprise review on Amazon from the founder of Military Writers Society of America. Needless to say, I immediately broke into another happy dance that would have put Michael Jackson to shame! Sorry, but I have to post it:

5.0 out of 5 stars    Rambo on Steroids!

By W. H. McDonald Jr. “The American Authors Association”

Wow – I do not know how to start – this novel was truly a ride through lots of scary and emotional stuff that was delivered so skillfully by the author Glenn Starkey. Not sure if this is truly a war story or a sic-fi story but the two cross over into great entertainment. This would be one incredible action movie for sure! “Amazon Moon” is deeply layered in emotions and themes of both revenge and redemption. The human elements of his characters are sharply focused but layered as well.

The book is a true epic journey – from childhood, manhood in the war, betrayals, death, destruction, jail, and finally an opportunity for redemption and a new life – but it all comes with a heavy price. The war elements of the book are like Rambo on steroids but when the story switches gears to the jungles of South America it takes on an evil sci-fi world of devils and evil – then this book really begins to rock and roll. There is no one else writing these kinds of stories – this is a 100% an original tale.

If you are a fan of either military or sic-fi genres then it will work for you – it is not a book for the faint of heart looking for a soft leisurely reading experience – this will be an emotional workout for any reader!

H. McDonald Jr.

Founder of The Military Writers Society of America

& The American Authors Association

Every writer knows the importance of his or her work being recognized and appreciated. It is the true pay we receive for all the long, lonely hours spent pounding away at a keyboard in hopes of creating a worthy story to entertain our readers. And once we complete one project, we are already beginning another—with the same doubts and hopes as before.

Saying thank you to all my loyal readers doesn’t seem to be enough, but understand that I am truly appreciative of everyone who reads my novels.

Glenn

 

 

I hate bullies…

When I asked “Ringo” DeLeon, President of the Texas Gang Investigators Association, why he worked in a gang unit, the 26 year veteran and Sergeant from Corpus Christi P.D. never hesitated with his reply: “I hate bullies.” Short, to the point, yet prolific when given thought.

Say the word “Bully” and generally the first image that comes to mind is of a punk kid at school harassing a quiet, mild mannered kid. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and sexes. They can be a boy or girl, young or old, man or woman, an individual or a group, from any race, and be rich or poor. Last year several incidents occurred with upper-middle-class high school girls bullying female classmates to the point that they committed suicide. They bullied because it made them feel good. Kids who enjoy bullying others are screwed up. Adults that enjoy bullying others are screwed up. That is the quick Psych 101 course synopsis.

Who says I need an education?

Who says I need an education?

Bullying ranges from schoolyard intimidation to spousal abuse to drug cartels’ murderous acts. Yes, drug cartels are bullies, dangerous bullies, but bullies nonetheless.

So, how does this relate to gangs? Simple. Gangs are just another level of bullies that get off on violence toward others in order to achieve their goals—and they feed off of the fears of everyone they come in contact with. Power and Control: the key essence of gangs.

Do you have gang problems in your neighborhood, community, or city? The answer is ‘yes’, only you may not be aware of the full extent of their presence. If you answered ‘no’ then you either live atop a mountain in a monastery or you keep your head buried in the sand to avoid accepting reality. Some towns and cities have gang presence more than other regions, but the problem is out there and it’s all too real.

There were 850 attendees at the Texas Gang Investigators Association (TGIA) conference held the week of June 23rd in San Antonio, Texas. The men and women came from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Their ranks varied as much as the sizes of their departments. While some attendees were from formal, dedicated gang units, others were from patrol divisions whereby you have to be the “Jack-of-All-Trades and Master of None.”

TGIA provides them with 31 continuing education hours for their state license, up to date training, and the latest intel on the evolution of gangs and cartels. The criminal world of gangs is a constantly changing environment that requires continual modification of law enforcement tactics.

Novels by Glenn Starkey

Novels by Glenn Starkey

TGIA honored me for the third year in a row by inviting me back to sign and sell my books, and be with my former brotherhood. It was an honor I definitely do not take lightly.

Throughout my two days at the conference I met old friends, made new friends, and happily learned I had loyal readers of my novels anxiously awaiting more. Erik Larson, the author of Lone Star Daybreak and an attendee of the conference, was present and we had a great talk about the world in general. But with each conversation held, I casually asked a question to get a general consensus: “What do you think is the main problem coming from gangs?” The basis of every answer was always related to drugs—drug cartels, drug money, drug deals, drug transport, and drug violence.

Small gangs primarily finance their growth through drug sales and consolidating territorial controls through mutually benefitting agreements with other gangs. As they grow, their operations expand into human trafficking, prostitution, robberies, fraud, home invasions, burglary, auto theft, murder and assassination contracts, alien

smuggling, extortion, and more. They recruit teenage girls through the Internet then force them into prostitution, using them locally, or trading and selling them off to other gangs across the country. Runaways are excellent targets, grabbed off the streets of major cities and most are never seen again.

Forced Prostitution and Human Trafficking

Forced Prostitution and Human Trafficking

How can law enforcement compete against the high flow of drug money? Cocaine alone is a $30 billion a year business. Most agencies can barely fund their principal divisions of patrol and detectives, much less specialized units such as gangs. Citizens don’t realize that the majority of law enforcement agencies in America consist of 30-50 personnel at the most, if they are fortunate to have that many. And the temptation of making more money in a few hours than you will make in a year has been the downfall of many a man and woman.

Ever heard of “narcotecture?” Cartel drug kings have so much money that like the super rich oil Arabs who make everything from gold, including their commodes, the Cartel kings have special made mausoleums constructed with imported Italian Marble, gold fixtures, and air-conditioning. Air-conditioning! For a mausoleum! These incredibly ornate tombs started the term “narcotecture.”

America is the largest consumer of drugs. Coke (not to be mistaken with the drinking kind) is a social drug used at every level of our society – government officials, businessmen, the entertainment industry, clergy, and on down to street level punks. Gangs can easily make $30-40k per day selling coke. Profit is turned so fast that it’s ridiculous.

A kilo of coke in Columbia is $2,000. By the time it gets to users in the States, it’s been cut so many times that there is easily a $100,000 profit. Combine drug money with the cash flow from other gang operations (prostitution, fraud, drug transport, and so forth), and the average citizen cannot begin to comprehend the extent of money that gangs have at their disposal.

“Everyone has a price” is the belief of gangs and cartels. Judges have been bought. Lawyers are retained by gangs. Federal agents and law enforcement at state and local levels have been caught selling out to gangs. If people in these prominent positions can be bought, then how can we expect a jobless person with a family, struggling to support them, to turn away from a high dollar offer for only a few hours work?

2014 TGIA Conference Coin

2014 TGIA Conference Coin

Unfortunately, there are still people in denial about how serious the gang problem across America is and how relationships between gangs and cartels are so heavily intertwined. America’s war on drugs is only viewed as successful by government officials with little grasps on reality or are trying to keep their jobs. The Secretary of Homeland Security testified before Congress that our borders were completely safe. Talk to the dedicated men and women in law enforcement who daily risk their lives and you’ll learn that fighting the drug war, stemming the flow of drugs, is similar to going to the beach and trying to hold back the waves of the ocean. You hold back part of one wave while the remainder simply flows around you.

All along the US border, ranchers live in daily fear of gang organized drug caravans coming across their land. South Texas Sheriffs have testified to the overwhelming problems their departments face with the increasing violence against families living along the border.

The gang problem only continues to grow. A majority of gangs outside of prison are controlled by gangs within our prisons. Gangs such as MS-13, who pride themselves on merciless revenge and cruel retributions, send enforcers to their upstart gangs throughout the states to teach them how to properly be members. Other words, how to be more vicious.

The times have definitely changed. The codes that criminals such as the old Mafia families lived by are long gone. Now gangs are comprised of younger, more restless thugs who view violence as the ultimate action. The drug cartels murdered 35,000 people in Juarez, Mexico in the last four years. Innocent people were killed and have disappeared. Decapitation became a cartel gang trademark. Stateside gangs wanting to be like the “big-boys,” have followed suit even to the point of making ‘snuff videos’ of their murders.

Do the research yourself if you still believe there isn’t a problem. In Houston, you can go to Stop Houston Gangs.org and view some of the gangs we have. It’s nothing to be proud of, but it’s reality.

Gangs are bullies. They serve no purpose in life except to further destroy our society like a cancer spreading through one’s body. They make whole communities live in fear. They steal, rob, and murder innocent people. They cost taxpayers billions of dollars yearly. And they respect nothing but further violence.

Gang Member

Gang Member

What can be done about gangs? First, understand there is a problem. Support your local law enforcement by reporting suspicious activities in your neighborhoods. Talk to your neighbors and watch out for each other.

Keep your children away from gangs as best possible by talking to your kids, letting them know they are loved and encourage their education in schools. Go to

Stop Gang Violence

Stop Gang Violence

their schools and talk to administrators about school bullies. The school boards generally flat deny that any problem exists, but when you are persistent, they will act—even if it means you must go to the media about the school board. When your kids think being “gangsta” is cool, let them know what losers “gangstas” really are. And most of all, pay attention to what your kids do on the Internet. Be a parent before being their ‘buddy.’ Don’t let your child commit suicide before you learn a problem existed.

Like “Ringo” DeLeon, I hate bullies too.

*   *   *   *

 

 

 

 

Texas Gang Investigators Association

Texas Gang Investigators Association

Before I close, I wish to express my gratitude to the men and women of the Texas Gang Investigators Association for the dangerous work they daily perform on behalf of the citizens of our great state, as well as for our magnificent country. Teachers and law enforcement related personnel do not receive adequate payment for the critically important work they do, especially when compared to the frivolous mega-salaries of sports figures today.

Organizing an educational, informative conference such as the Board of T.G.I.A. does each year, is to be commended. The overall planning involved is astounding and the Board’s efforts are displayed in the quality of their conference.

Thank you, Mr. Ringo DeLeon, President of T.G.I.A., Mr. Patrick Natividad, 2nd Vice President of T.G.I.A., and Mr. Paul Zamarripa, Director, Pos.1, South Region, of T.G.I.A., for your friendship, hospitality, and my further education into the world of gangs. Patrick_Glenn_Paul

And special thanks go to Mrs. Janelle Zamarippa and Mrs. Natividad for our discussions and the work I observed you tirelessly perform each day for the benefit of T.G.I.A.

Regards,

Glenn Starkey

 

 

 

 

You never know what you will see at a gang conference...

You never know what you will see at a gang conference…

“Amazon Moon” — “Notable PAGE TURNER Book!”

AMAZON MOON is be honored as “Notable Book in the category of Page-Turners” in the Half Price Books sponsored 2013 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book.

The top five books and “notable books by category,” as determined by the editors of Shelf Unbound, will receive editorial coverage in the December/January 2014 issue of Shelf Unbound.

Way To Go !!!

Way To Go !!!

 Shelf Unbound Book Review Magazine, a 2013 Maggie Award finalist for Best Digital-Only Publication is also a recipient of the Alliance of Independent Authors’ Honoring Excellence Award, and reaches more than 125,000 avid readers in the U.S. and in 59 other countries around the globe.

Amazon Moon is Starkey’s fourth published novel and generating worthy acclaim for its story!

Here’s the October/November issue but be sure to check out the December issue: http://issuu.com/shelfunbound/docs/shelf_unbound_october_november_2013

I Look Good On Radio! – The Tedd Dumas Show

The radio interview this morning on the “Tedd Dumas Show” went great! Had an excellent talk and wished there had been more time. Mr. Dumas makes you feel quite comfortable throughout the discussion and I truly appreciate him having me as a guest!  This was broadcast across 7 radio stations simultaneously. Want to hear the program? No problem.

Go to http://162.199.139.65:8081/login.vibe

IMG_1067

Username is  guest    Password is  openline

Double-click “Open Folder” at the bottom

Scroll to “Open Line 10-30-2013 – Glenn Starkey.mp3

Double-click and press play in the upper left corner.

Of the entire talk, I think the best part was Mr. Dumas saying he was reading my book at 11:00 pm, his wife was telling him to remember he needed to get up at 5:00 am, and he wanted to read just one more chapter before stopping!  That is what every author wants to hear… Made my day!

Thank you, Mr. Dumas. I truly enjoyed being your guest.

Glenn Starkey

The Tedd Dumas Radio Show — KWLV-Many, La

Radio Host Tedd Dumas will have author Glenn Starkey as his guest on Wednesday, 7:30 am, Oct.30th. The Tedd Dumas Program is broadcast “LIVE” on multiple FM stations – KWLV-Many, La., KZBL-Natchitoches, La., KBDV-Leesville, La., KVCL-Winnfield, La., and KTHP-Hemphill, Texas.

Click oAmazonMoonTShirt (1)n the link to listen “Live” http://12.197.242.25:88/broadwave.m3u?src=1&amp%3Brate=0 or go to http://www.bdcradio.com/ and click the “Listen To Show” button.

2013-02-18 20.59.10

AMAZON MOON is released…

Amazon_Moon_Cover

There’s no greater surprise than checking bookseller websites and seeing that your latest novel has been released two weeks ahead of schedule without your knowledge!

Amazon Moon is my fourth published work and my first journey into a bit of sci-fi. Each of my novels is different in setting and characterizations. I haven’t yet settled upon the making of a series. First, I want to get all of the stories out of my head I’ve wanted to write for years—then I’ll decide which characters are calling me to return to them. At the moment, John Alvarez from Amazon Moon is summoning the loudest…

John Alvarez was a bad boy—so bad that a judge finally gave him a choice between prison and the Marines, yet in the Corps he discovered a home. Shipped off to Vietnam, he leads his own band of bad boys—Iron Raven, the terror of their enemies and always the first choice for a dangerous mission. On one such mission, the brain child of a couple of CIA ops, Alvarez and his squad are cut off from escape by their CIA handlers and are left to fight their own way out or die.  Only Alvarez survives, and his revenge on the men who abandoned him and his friends, lands him in prison for life.

 After twenty years he’s offered freedom, but only if he agrees to undertake another suicide mission:  to act as bodyguard for a Mr. Standish on a journey into a mysterious Amazon kingdom ruled by the devil himself.  It is only in the heart of the jungle that Alvarez discovers he is on a mission that can only have two endings—redemption or death.

As I previously wrote in my blog My Journey with Amazon Moon, this novel led me down many paths and I encourage you to read the blog before reading the novel.

Amazon Moon is the sort of novel that grabs you by the throat on the first page and doesn’t let go until the last.  It is an exciting story and, at the same time, something more.  It is a fable about one man’s redemption, his rediscovery of innocence.”

          Nicholas Guild – New York Times Best Selling Author –  The Assyrian, Blood Star, The Berlin Warning, The President’s Man …

 “With Amazon Moon, Starkey has done it again– lured me in, set me up and wrung me out! Splendid.”

           Jeff Mudgett – Author of Bloodstains

AmazonMoonTShirt - black shirt

 Amazon Moon

I am proud to have the endorsements of Amazon Moon by two fine authors: Nicholas Guild and Jeff Mudgett.  Guild has a long list of literary accomplishments and equally long list of prominent literary reviews and is what I consider to be, my mentor. To have the honor of him reading my work is quite a feat, but for him to write an endorsement and give approval of my novel is beyond words to me.  Mudgett is a fine author whose novel Bloodstains (about his serial-killer relative H. H. Holmes aka Jack-the-Ripper) is in the works to become a movie. I consider myself quite fortunate to have their endorsements.

In the next few days I will place samples of Amazon Moon on my website for all to read. I hope you will enjoy the novel, provide a review on it if you like it – and feel free to write me with any discussions you may have about the work.

Regards,

Glenn

 Amazon Moon  

Graduates of the University of the Streets

TGIA Houston Conference

Narcotics trafficking, human smuggling, weapons smuggling, home invasions, contract hits, prostitution, assault, theft, murder and prison are only part of the curriculum you undergo from the University of the Streets. In this school, passing grades on tests means you survived to live one more day.  As for graduation, when you have to constantly watch your back because of the work you’re involved with, and you trust very few people (especially whatever they say), then you’ve earned an education few others will have.

Who are these graduates? They are the men and women of law enforcement and the criminal justice system who daily work in the world of violent gangs, organized crime, and prison systems. They are members of the Texas Gang Investigators Association, as well as hundreds of others across America in this field. They have my respect—and if you knew them as I do and knew what they daily endure, then they would earn yours too.

I was recently invited to the TGIA Conference in Houston to sign my books. It was my second year to be honored with an invitation by Paul Zamarripa, TGIA Director, Pos.1, South Region,  and I wasn’t about to miss the opportunity.  Although I never worked gangs while in law enforcement as they now do, we at least spoke a common language about the streets and life that most citizens will never comprehend, if they are fortunate.  Old friends such as Patrick Natividad, TGIA 2nd Vice President, and others from last year stopped by to say hello and talk about my books they had bought. New friends were made too such as conference attendee Erik L. Larson, who I learned is also the author of “Lone Star Daybreak.”

The week-long conference always has a prestigious list of national speakers representing all levels from federal agencies to state and county offices. Blood MoneyAnd the agenda covers—well, sorry, but that’s not open for public distribution. But, I am at liberty to discuss some of the gang related problems confronting law enforcement and our society today.

When I speak of ‘gangs’ I’m not simply talking about a group on motorcycles wearing their ‘colors,” or a group of ‘wannabe gangstas’ standing around with their baseball caps sideways, talking street trash, bobbing as they walk, and flashing gang hand-signs they made up. No, I’m discussing the organized, violent groups from Mexican drug cartels to every prison we have. They are located in rural areas, small towns, as well as major cities. These are the people psychologists would have a field day with trying to understand what makes them tick, all while our tax money and court systems must deal with their bloody crimes.

Where does the organization and leadership of these gangs stem from? Primarily, within our prisons. The prison gangs direct outside operations from the comfort of their cells. If and when released from prison, gang members connect with outside members, all while maintaining their inside connections. The majority of gangs have legitimate businesses for their money to flow through, and the spider-web of their organized crimes steadily expands right under everyone’s noses—often next door without your realization.

Houston Astros Logo

Houston Astros Logo

Where do they set up shop? Quick answer: everywhere. Operations are controlled from within our prisons, but a large segment of the gangs on the outside have left the big cities to set up shop in rural areas.  Think about it a moment.  Why stay in the big city where law enforcement has a multitude of resources to hound you, when you can move to smaller communities throughout the state that don’t have the budget or manpower to hamper your operations? If you stay under the radar by not drawing attention to yourself, you can do whatever you want, especially when you have the money to finance your operations. Most rural law enforcement agencies don’t have the budget to devote to a gang unit, nor are they really inclined to do so until forced into it. There is another unfortunate aspect to this too; dirty cops, those who work both sides of the street per say. I’m sorry, but it happens. Whether they were a federal agent on the border or a deputy riding desolate county roads, the intoxication of big bucks has been many a downfall.

So, who are these gangs? They are Tango Blasters, the Texas Syndicate, Barrio Azteca, the Texas Mexican Mafia, and more. The Tango Blasters were born in the 1990’s in Texas prisons and have rose to the largest gang membership. Some say 11,000 while other data places them at 14,000, even up to 100,000. To be a member, you have to have done prison time—but, there are the younger ‘Blasters’ that formed and haven’t done time yet. They want to be recognized, believe they can bypass the prison time rule for true membership, and do everything they can, drawing attention to themselves which is not the actual Tango Blaster modus operandi. Therefore, the ‘true’ Blasters have to come in, straighten them out by force, and teach them gang respect. car window

The Tango Blasters are organized, yet unorganized. They don’t have a formal structure, don’t believe in having rules, no one tells anyone what to do, yet they receive directions from their leaders in prison and remain an entity. Odd, isn’t it? They don’t have a specific leader in each affiliated gang outside of prison yet they are divided into ‘Blaster’ gangs in every major Texas City: Houstone (it’s spelled this way for a reason) or “H,” Dallas or “D,” San Antonio or ‘SA,” etc.

713 Tatt  How do you recognize a Tango Blaster? This is another problem. You can’t unless you really know what you’re looking for. Their gang markings, or ‘tatts,’ are area code numbers or sports team logos of the major cities. For example, Houstone Blasters (the “e” is added on by the gang) use the Houston Astros star. They wear all the shirts and caps with the open sided star of the Astros baseball team for identification. That means they blend in with thousands of other Houstonians wearing the same regalia and tattoos! But look for the word “Houstone” and you are probably looking at a ‘Blaster.’

Rather than solely write about Tango Blasters, I want to mention another group I was surprised to learn of: Juggalos.  Yes, you read correctly—and no, it doesn’t refer to a gang of big-breasted women.

Folks, you’re going to have to look this one up on the Internet. There are different levels of Juggalos which range from people that simply enjoy acting crazy while Gatheringdressed as a clown, to the more radical ones who cause harm and commit crimes. Yes, again you read correctly. They paint their faces in the manner of a circus clown like the Joker in a Batman movie. Their logo or image is a clown running around carrying a meat clever.  Women in the group are referred to as ‘Jugga-hos’… I thought I was being kidded when a man from the State Attorney General’s office began talking about Juggalos, but the group is real. Honest. Search “Juggalos” and see what I mean. They have ‘gatherings’ which have vague resemblances to the old days of Woodstock.  (Warning: If you decide to perform an online search, don’t be surprised at the photos you will see. Due to some nudity, you may not want children around your computer when you get to the ‘gathering’ photos.)

jugga-hos So, what is the answer to gang violence other than obtaining your Concealed Handgun License?

There are multiple answers to this. Assist and support your local law enforcement agency by reporting crimes. Educate yourself on problems in your area. Talk to your neighbors. Watch out for each other. The Houston Police Department has a gang taskforce website where information can be submitted and you can learn more about the problems: www.StopHoustonGangs.org. Start becoming aware of the crime in your community. Don’t let the sides of your building be covered in gang graffiti. Report them to the police then paint over them. It may take several coasts of paint, but eventually the gangs will stop using the sides of your building or fence as a canvas. Whether you realize it or not, the majority of the crimes you hear about on your local news broadcast are related to gangs.

Gangs are violent. They infect our society and destroy our children. Anyone can be a victim. I read a news article about a 14 year-old boy walking by a house, pulled a pistol out and shot at the man sitting on a porch, rocking an infant. The bullet struck the baby, killed him, and passed through to the father’s shoulder. The boy wanted recognition in order to join a gang.

Gangs easily reach across borders and state lines. They smuggle humans, drugs and weapons. They promote forced prostitution, make contract hits, perform violent home invasions…the list goes on.

Juggalo Gathering

Juggalo Gathering

And don’t judge a book by its cover. Simply because someone has tattoos all over their body doesn’t make them a gang member or a member of the ‘Yakuza.’ I say this because one of the conference attendees was covered with ‘tatts’ except for a small portion of his face. My friend, Rhonda Chevalier, TGIA Director, Pos.1 of the Central Region said he was one of the politest men she had ever met.

Rhonda Chevalier and Attendee

Rhonda Chevalier and Attendee

One of the best ways to keep your children out of gangs is to love them, talk to them, educate them, let them know they are important, and let them know gangs are a dead-end street. According to an old LAPD statement, 60% of gang members will be dead or in prison by age 20.

Thank you, TGIA, for sponsoring such educational law enforcement conferences. I wish every department in Texas could send at least one representative. The knowledge is valuable.

Sincerely,

Glenn

 

Paul, Glenn, and Patrick.

 

Paul, Glenn, and Patrick.

 

 

No Gangs...

No Gangs…

Corruption

Corruption

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crime is a Dead-End Street

Crime is a Dead-End Street

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