6 PM UPDATE:
Local law enforcement are taking an aggressive approach to stomp out crime they say is driven by local gangs. Shootings, high-speed chases, robberies, and assaults crimes police say are linked to a growing gang problem in Fargo-Moorhead.
A street crime unit has been formed to find and prosecute gang members. It's a problem police say they need to stop before it gets out of control.
"This is a community with almost a quarter million people, they are going to stop here, they are going to apply their trade as they come through, others have settled, and we are aware of their presence and we are scrutinizing their activities," says Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger.
Gang members coming in from bigger cities is a problem police are trying to get a handle on. "This is the communities turf, we are their enforcers, and we intend to ensure our community remains safe from their activity, and their influence," says Paul Laney, Cass County Sheriff.
They are watching who they call growing gangs, starting turf wars that typically end in injury and chaos.
They called out The Lic Squad, The Fast Money Boys, Squad 400, and motorcycle gangs in Fargo. Police say the Hell's Angels and the Sons of Silence have started turf wars in the metro.
"If you are involved in this type of activity, we already know who you are. And, if we don't we are going to know who you are very shortly, because we are going at this head on," Fargo Police Chief, David Todd.
Police say these gangs are recruiting members as young as 14 years old.
"We will educate teachers, so when we see some doodling, or they see some graffiti on a notepad, or something. That knowledge is power, and that's why we are doing what we are doing. Today is to try and get the community to action to think, okay what is this drawing, and maybe I need to talk to the school resource officer to find, is this gang related or not," says Laney.
Asking for you help, because police say they can't do it on their own, if you see something suspicious, call.
We spoke with a member of the Lic Squad. He tells us they're a music group, not a gang, and have no gang affiliations.
Fargo Police are unveiling a crime task force to combat what officials say is a growing gang threat in the Fargo area. Fargo Police Chief David Todd laid out concerns about gangs that are growing the area including “The Lic Squad”, “The Fast Money Boys”, “Squad 400.”
Todd says police started noticing a year and a half ago that the number of gang members in the area was beginning to grow. Two officers were assigned at that time to track criminal activity in the area.
“We are on the cusp of major issues in this community,” said Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney.
Law enforcement officials also detailed several incidents between gang members. The incidents lead to shootings and chases around Fargo.
Todd also discussed several gang associates and elements that have moved into the western part of North Dakota such as the “Country Boy Crips”, “East Side Crips”, and West Side Crips.” Officials believe some of those gang members hail from Bakersfield California.
Law enforcement says they have seen associates with potential affiliations with 96 gangs. The list included the gangs posted above and also included the Klu Klux Klan and Juggalos. Juggalos are actually fans of the rap group “Insane Clown Posse."
Sheriff Laney also discussed motorcycle gangs in Fargo including "Hells Angels" and the "Sons of Silence.” Laney says their intelligence indicates that the “Hells Angels” have put all other motorcycle gangs on notice and have told them that the Fargo territory belongs to them.
“While this community is still a very safe place to live and raise a family we are at a little bit of a tipping point,” said Chief Todd.
The Fargo Police Department, in partnership with the North Dakota Attorney General, West Fargo, Moorhead, and Cass and Clay Counties, will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 9. You can stream it live on valleynewslive.com
Valley News Team's Crime and Safety Reporter, Nicole Johnson will have more coming up on Valley News Live at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.