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Salt Lake Area Gang Project Hosts 23rd Annual Conference

"...again that’s one of the criteria that we have. Criminal activity, hanging with other known gangsters…boom, there you go, he’s a gangster," explains Detective Jamie Cardenas, referring to a Millcreek area rapper who continually denies being a gangster when being questioned by law enforcment. About 300 law enforcement professionals are attending Gangs 101 by Detectives Jaime Cardenas and Zach Emmerick with the Metro Gang Unit of Midvale and Unified Police Department respectively.

The 23rd Annual Utah Gang Conference is going on Wednesday and Thursday at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy. Experts from around Utah and surrounding states are in town for the latest information about gangs in Utah. Lieutenant Marianne Suarez is the director of the Salt Lake Gang Project and organizer of the conference. She says it attracts a wide variety of people because it’s the only way to deal with increasing gang violence.

"Law enforcement can’t do it by themselves, says Lt. Suarez, teachers can’t do it by themselves, social workers can’t do it by themselves, but all of us working together, to we can do it."

Lieutenant Suarez says law enforcement agencies across the state work as a team with regular meetings and daily updates sharing new information on line. She says there is a marked increase in narcotics related gang violence and influx of Mexican Drug Cartels into Utah.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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