Madrid begins deporting Latino street gang members

Thirty-four people linked to violent groups will be sent back to their countries of origin

F. Javier Barroso
An alleged member of DDP enters a Madrid courthouse in 2011.
An alleged member of DDP enters a Madrid courthouse in 2011.Luis Sevillano

A total of 34 leaders of various Latin American gangs based in different areas of Madrid are scheduled to be deported from Spain in the coming weeks as part of the regional government’s new strategy for breaking up violent criminal networks.

Cristina Cifuentes, the central government’s delegate in Madrid, said the first two deportations would take place immediately now that her office has concluded all the required administrative and judicial procedures in both cases.

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They will also be banned from entering Spain for a period of between five to 10 years.

All gang members who are facing deportation proceedings will have their Spanish citizenship or residency permits revoked before they are expelled from the county, she said.

At least six of those to be deported have been sentenced to more than one year in jail after their convictions for various crimes.

Of the 34 leaders, 12 are members of Los Ñetas, eight belong to Trinitarios, seven are from Dominican Don’t Play (DDP) and five are from the Latin Kings. The other two are part of Las Maras gang which, according to chief police inspector Ricardo Gabaldón, “is not well organized in Madrid.”

“As soon as we detected the presence of these two individuals, we immediately started the deportation procedures,” said Gabaldón, who is in charge of investigating gangs.

Police said that they are preparing to deport up to 94 more gang members in the coming weeks.

The deportees must be members of groups that the Supreme Court has defined as criminal organizations

The measures taken are based on a legal opinion issued last summer by the secretary of state for security, which sets out the requirements for the deportations. One of them is that deportees must be members of violent groups that the Supreme Court has defined as criminal organizations.

The deportation process could take up to six months because Spain’s Foreign Nationals Act is “extremely geared to protecting” migrants, said Cifuentes.

“A person can appeal each step you go through at the different agencies, and even once the entire process is completed, they can still file an appeal with the courts. This is why it takes so much time,” she said.

There are around 350 Latin gang members in Madrid, with the most important groups holding between 60 to 70 members, Gabaldón said.

Security at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas International Airport will also be beefed up to ensure those who are deported are denied entry.

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