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Lawmakers push for tougher federal response to gangs

April 22, 1997
Web posted at: 10:35 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI is expected to provide new data Wednesday on a spreading interstate network among gangs, as a Senate panel convenes to consider ways to fight the problem.

"We're starting to see some of these groups setting up satellites, and they're setting up better communications between these networked-groups," an FBI official told CNN.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, are sponsoring a bill designed to help federal prosecutors get tougher on gangs.

It calls for stronger penalties for convicted gang members, new penalties for recruiting gang members and stiffer sentences for providing minors with handguns to commit crimes. The measure provides $20 million for more federal prosecutors to fight criminal gangs.

Hatch has often been a critic of expanded federal law enforcement, but cited figures showing that the number of gangs in Salt Lake City had increased 279 percent since 1992.

 
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