Police authorities have identified 539 gangs operating in El Paso, about 80 more than in Ciudad Juarez.
The official data also indicates that members of local criminal organizations total more than 5,600 men, women and children.
Although a few are just transitional and only a few are actually considered dangerous such as Barrio Azteca, otherwise known as the "Aztecs" when they cross the Rio Grande, the rest of the gangs pose a risk to border security as they could easily be hired by drug cartels that operate in the Mexican territory.
That is why local and state authorities have requested from the Transportation Committee of the Senate under the Homeland Security for more police resources and intelligence initiatives to dismantle these gangs and stop a possible expansion of the narco-violence in this border.
During the hearing held at the University of Texas at El Paso, the seven-member state committee heard progress and needs on infrastructure development of roads, border security and combating transitional gangs.
Regarding the two latter issues, Senator Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso who serves on the committee said that take to the Capitol testimony and proposals for local authorities to have sufficient resources, including helicopters, surveillance equipment and intelligence to identify the gangs and dismantle them.
"What we don't want through the gangs for this cancer (drug trafficking) to cross over to El Paso or even deeper. We know the risk is real and we must collaborate with Ciudad Juarez working together to stop it" said the Senator.
Reports from the County's District Attorney Jose Rodriguez who was part of the group indicated that in El Paso there are 539 active gangs, totaling 5,665 members.
Of that total, 5,072 are men, 341 were women and 252 are minors, according to data provided by the Gang Unit of the Police Department.
In contrast of the 460 gangs operating in Juárez there where the Barrio Azteca or Aztecs, Mexicles and K-13 which are the most notorious.
Operating on both sides of the border are Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos, Mexican Mafia, the Texas Syndicate, Barrio Azteca and the Bloods.
"Barrio Azteca based in El Paso in 1986 remains a problem for the police authorities at the border and the gang tends to work very closely with drug cartels in Juarez," said Sheriff Richard Wiles.
For that reason police agencies and other governmental agencies monitored the prisons to track gang bangers who come in and leave the system" in and out of jail to prevent "something happens" on this side, also said former head of the Police Department.
It has been reported that the Aztecs traffic in cocaine, heroin and marijuana, as well as engaging in violent crimes like assault and car theft, kidnapping and arms trafficking.
Questioned about why El Paso has highest number of gangs in comparison to Juarez, Wiles explained that this could be because the definition of "gang" in Texas is a lot different than in Mexico. For many years U. S. police Departments have been identifying and classified various gangs and its members in databases.
The Texas criminal Code defines as "a gang" as three or more persons who have a common sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associated in the commission of criminal activities.
Wiles said that while most gangs do engage in crimes, they are not as dangerous as is Barrio Azteca, which is classified as an "executor" and can operate on both sides of the border.
The drug cartels understand how gangs are organized and are able to contract them to carry out their illegal activities in the U.S.
In general gang members are arranged in a rank system and operate from within and outside prison system.
The Senate committee will be requesting for more resources to buying equipment and hire more personnel in the police agencies and district courts. This way police can make more arrests and the district attorney can have the resources to prosecute them.