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Narcotics bureau: Metro gang problem a “never-ending battle”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s drug problem is turning the metro area into a magnet for gang violence, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

The most recent incident: Neighbors in the 5300 block of south Huddleston said an officer-involved shooting Thursday night was related to gang members carrying weapons.

Mark Woodward with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) said even though law enforcement is successful in putting down gangs, more keep coming to the area.

“You’re seeing some new [gangs] come in, some new ones form from time to time and others that kind of drop off, so [the gang violence rate] ebbs and flows,” Woodward said. 

In a study released earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control compared Oklahoma City’s gang violence with other cities like Los Angeles and Oakland, CA.

Woodward said the OBN is doing its best to stop the violence.

“It’s a never-ending battle [with gangs]. You have to get creative. You have to infiltrate these gangs,” Woodward said. “That’s why we at the Bureau of Narcotics go undercover and try to infiltrate and find out who these people are.”

Oklahoma City gangs are also invading cyberspace.

A quick search on YouTube reveals several videos from men claiming to be from Oklahoma City area gangs.

In one of the videos, a gang member brags about being a ‘Crip’ and says the gang will “handle” anyone who disrespects them.

Woodward said a community working together to stop the flow of drugs into the metro could help cripple gang activity in the future.