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Jorge's Reign of Terror Part II 

MS-13 gang member returns

Clear the roads, lock up the schools and put away the sharp objects. Illegal alien terror Jorge Luis Marin is back in Charlotte.

Marin's is a story that perfectly encapsulates how utterly unprepared our local criminal justice system and our schools are to deal with criminal illegal aliens, or even just criminals.

Last fall, Marin made headlines for leading Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on a high-speed chase after trying to mow down a law enforcement officer with a car. On Sept. 19, 2006, ABC Law Enforcement Officer T.L. Ashby began following what he quickly determined to be a stolen vehicle on The Plaza.

After Ashby pulled the car over, Marin, the driver, attempted to run Ashby over with it. Ashby fired his gun at the vehicle. After a police chase, Marin crashed the vehicle into a tree and fled. Marin was ultimately captured and faced a slew of charges.

Incredibly, despite the wall-to-wall local news coverage of Marin's near attempted murder of Ashby, county prosecutors cut a sweet plea deal with Marin.

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Peter Gilchrist's office agreed to dismiss charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and possession of a handgun by a minor against Marin. In exchange, Marin pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon on a government official.

Marin wound up spending less than three months in jail as a result of the incident.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Julia Rush says the federal government deported Marin to Mexico in December. Marin was back in Charlotte by June, Rush says.

He wasted no time leading police on another chase in another stolen car. Marin was arrested July 7 on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing/eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, reckless driving, speeding and no operator's license. He is currently in the Mecklenburg County Jail.

As I reported in October, police classify Marin as a "known" MS-13 gang member, and after his arrest last fall, he admitted to authorities that he came to this country illegally four years ago. He claims to be 16, but folks at the sheriff's department said in a press release that they believe he's older.

None of this stopped Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools from keeping him enrolled in school. Marin has an affinity for sharp objects and had a long history of threatening teachers and students with them while he terrorized the halls of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The pattern at both Sedgefield and Coulwood middle schools went like this. Sometimes Marin would be busted for bringing knives to school before he got a chance to use them. He'd be suspended and then sent right back in the classroom. Other times, he'd be suspended for threatening students with knives. On other occasions, he'd actually attempt to use them. CMS officials apparently thought that the 10-day suspension they gave him for slashing at another Coulwood student with a knife during a fight on a school bus in February 2005 would get his attention.

It didn't. In another case at Coulwood, Marin threatened and then attempted to stab a teacher with a pencil because the teacher told him he couldn't leave the classroom. When the teacher threatened to fight back if Marin kept lunging at him, Marin sharpened the pencil and came at the teacher again. CMS officials handed Marin another 10-day suspension.

Rush says that once the state charges are resolved, she expects that he will be tried federally and then deported again after he serves whatever sentence he might get.

While Marin had his way with our various local bureaucracies, state legislators fought to stop tough gang legislation that still hasn't passed. Instead, they provided a couple million dollars to "counsel" kids against joining gangs.

Mecklenburg County is utterly unprepared for this. A partnership between the county prosecutor and police to target gang members for prosecution? It doesn't exist. How about a partnership between police and county prosecutors to target, prosecute and remove gang leaders with criminal records from our schools? Nope, don't have that either. So what do we have aside from really sweet plea deals that would make Paris Hilton's high-priced attorneys jealous? Not much.

At the moment, the gang combat plan by local officials is essentially to hope immigration officials or federal prosecutors or both take an interest in hard-core gang members before they kill someone.

While Marin was wreaking havoc in our schools, a federal immigration roundup of hard-core, illegal-alien gang members across the country resulted in the arrests of 582 people, 77 of whom were from North Carolina. Eighteen were picked up in Charlotte in that sweep alone. At the time, about 75 suspected illegal alien gang members were, on average, being picked up in this county each year and deported by federal officials.

I'd hate for word to get out that Charlotte is a great place for gangs to do business. Unfortunately I think that's exactly what is happening.

Listen to Tara on WBT NewsTalk 1110 AM weeknights from 9 p.m. to midnight.

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