updated 2/7/2006 10:24:49 AM ET 2006-02-07T15:24:49

Guests: Joe Dwinell, Gerry Leone, Debra Opri, Jonathan Arden, Dave Holloway, John Q. Kelly, Peter Brookes, Dana Priest, Juan Pacheco, Marcy Foreman, Robert Clark

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  Tonight: Their son may know what happened to Natalee Holloway the night she vanished.  For the first time since he was released from behind bars, the parents of Joran Van Der Sloot are breaking their silence.  They even have a message for Natalee‘s family.  Her father joins me live.  And a LIVE AND DIRECT exclusive investigation, a gang so dangerous that the only way to join them is by rape or torture.  And that‘s for members.  Wait until you hear what they do to their enemies.  You‘re going to see it only here.

But first, new developments in the brutal killings of Massachusetts mother Rachel Entwistle and her 9-month-old daughter, Lillian.  Rachel‘s husband, Neil Entwistle, may have stranded his wife and baby when he headed to the United Kingdom.  It turns out that the car that he left at the airport when he reportedly bought his one-way ticket to London is apparently the family‘s only vehicle.

And while the implications of that sink in, listen to this.  We have also learned that Neil Entwistle was on British Airways flight 238 from Boston to London at 8:15 in the morning on Saturday, January 21, one day before police found the bodies of his wife and child.  Entwistle is presumably still in the U.K. and hasn‘t been back to the U.S. even for the funerals of his wife and child.

Joining me now is Joe Dwinell.  He‘s the managing editor of Herald Media, part of the Boston Herald Group.  Joe, first of all, what do you know about the fact that the car—it looks like that was their only car.  It was left at the airport.  What do you make of that?

[no audio]

Joe, also talk to us about what was maybe found in the car.  Do we know if anything was found in the car?

[no audio]

And we‘re going to have much more with this story.  We‘re going to go to a quick break.  We‘re going to have much with the story right after the break.  Stick with us, everybody.  A lot on this and a lot more coming up on the show tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And we‘re back with LIVE AND DIRECT tonight.  Everybody, we do have to apologize, having some audio difficulties again.  We are LIVE AND DIRECT.  Some things happen when you‘re doing live TV.

We‘re talking, of course, about the case in Massachusetts of Rachel Entwistle and also her 9-month-old baby, both found shot to death in their home.  We‘re going to bring in now, if we could, Joe Dwinell.  He‘s the managing editor with Herald Media, part of the Boston Herald Group.

Joe, for our viewers, because we were having some audio issues, let‘s take it from the top again.  We‘re finding out that the only car that the family had, that a single car was left at the airport, that apparently, he drove when he took that one-way ticket.  Is that correct?

JOE DWINELL, MANAGING EDITOR, HERALD MEDIA:  That is correct, Rita.

COSBY:  What is that leading people to surmise, including investigators?

DWINELL:  Well, the investigators aren‘t telling us much.  A source tells “The Herald” that that was the sole means of transportation for this family.  And by him leaving it at Logan airport, he left behind his wife and child with no car.

COSBY:  Which is certainly telling and interesting.  What about surveillance tapes?  Do we know if they have any tapes?  Was he doing anything unusual at the airport?  Have you heard anything in that realm, Joe?

DWINELL:  Yes, we‘re working on that.  That‘s an excellent question.  We‘re moving ahead with this story every day.  We‘re also taking a look at some of what‘s going on with his Web work and that—that—what‘s going on at Logan airport is part of our investigation.

COSBY:  What are they looking for in the car tonight, Joe?  I understand, obviously, what, fingerprints, looking for a weapon, I would imagine?

DWINELL:  Ballistics.  There could be gunpowder.  We‘ve spoken to a lot of people who are saying any type of evidence—a source tells me they should look at what was—what else was in the car.  Don‘t know what that means—financial record.  I mean, there‘s a lot to be found in the car.  The police are not saying anything.  The DA is not saying much at all.  But as she‘s saying, this is another piece to the puzzle.

COSBY:  Hopkinton police, sort of the—seem like they‘re itching to get some information out.  Are you getting a sense, Joe, that they‘re close to cracking this?

DWINELL:  I think they want it to be cracked.  I mean, the police chief tells our sister paper, “The Metrowest Daily News,” today that he wishes the facts would come out.  He‘s saying there‘s a lot of conjecture out there.  I mean, it‘s all over the Internet and the airwaves.  But he‘s hoping that there is a break in the case.  And he can‘t say anything.  I mean, he has got to just stick with letting the DA run the case.

COSBY:  Now, the death certificates have been made public.  I want to put it up.  We have a copy of Rachel and Lillian‘s death certificates.  The thing that pops out is that the hour of death is listed as unknown.  Also, the place of injury, it says “home.”  They still don‘t have an approximate timeframe, Joe, of when it happened?

DWINELL:  No.  An expert in the forensics field told me today they probably do have an idea, they‘re just not making it be public.  And as you can look at the death certificates, Rachel, the mother was executed.  She was shot in the head, and she died immediately.  The child was hit in the abdomen and died in her mother‘s arms.

COSBY:  You know, there‘s a new Web site set up Neilentwistle.com, name at the top and pictures of Rachel and Lillian, with an inscription, “In loving memory Rachel and Lillian rose.”  Do we know if it was created here or overseas, if this is even something Neil had something to do with?

DWINELL:  Well, when you first look it up—and we did today—you find out it‘s blocked.  It‘s kind of what you call a blind Web site.  It doesn‘t come up in Register.com.  You can look Whois, who owns URLs.  A lot of that work has paid off in this case.  So we‘re now investigating that right now, and we have a story coming out on that tomorrow in “The Herald.”

COSBY:  All right, well, please keep is posted.  Joe, thank you. 

Always appreciate you being here.

And what‘s it going to take to get Neil Entwistle back to the United States?  Let me now bring in my panel of experts.  We have forensic pathologist Dr. Jonathan Arden, former Middlesex County prosecutor Gerry Leone and also defense attorney Deb Opri.

Gerry, any sense of, like, when this might crack?  We were hearing just now from Joe that it sounds like they‘re sort of close to pulling this together.  Now we find out the only car, he leaves it at the airport, it‘s a one-way ticket.  Do you get a sense it‘s a few weeks, a few months?  What are we talking?

GERRY LEONE, FORMER MIDDLESEX COUNTY PROSECUTOR:  It‘s difficult to say, Rita.  I mean, I would expect that it‘s days, not weeks.  I mean, the evidence is being developed as we speak.  Not only are they developing the physical evidence, but experience tells you that they‘re also developing the motive evidence, as well, which is essential in a case like this.  So I would say days, not weeks.

COSBY:  You know, Deb, as a defense attorney, OK—he drives car—it‘s the only car the family has, we find out—to the airport, leaves it at the airport, takes a one-way ticket.  That makes it pretty tough to defend.  At least, that‘s sort of interesting evidence against him.

DEBRA OPRI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, looking at the facts as we sit right now, we have no DNA evidence, no forensics.  We don‘t have an admission.  We have a man who got on a plane got with a vehicle, a one-way ticket.  That‘s all we have.  It‘s not enough to convict someone.

COSBY:  No, it...

OPRI:  If I were...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Do you think he has a lawyer, Deb?  Do you think he‘s already at least talked to an attorney?

OPRI:  Let me put it this way.  If he has spoken with an attorney, the attorney would have said exactly what I would say: Don‘t speak to anyone.  His words would probably be the most damning thing.  And all the words we‘ve heard so far is that he said, How did I get to England?  Now, there are many different interpretations of that, but we have to look at the cold, hard facts.

And I have to disagree with the gentleman.  I don‘t think we‘re days,

I think we‘re weeks away from an arrest.  They have to complete the

forensics and the DNA.  And in terms of what‘s in that car, that car is the

most telling thing because the DNA evidence—this gentleman lived at home

it wouldn‘t be very telling.  We don‘t have a smoking gun.  We don‘t have a weapon.  We don‘t have any motive.

Unless and until we get a purpose behind why he might have done this, other than an insanity, I just don‘t see it happening because, as you‘ll recall, he was visiting the wife‘s friends a couple weeks before and they said everybody seemed happy.

COSBY:  You know, Dr. Arden, I think Deb hit it on the head—forensics.  What could we find in that car?  What are the type of things that maybe could be helpful to build a case?

DR. JONATHAN ARDEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST:  I‘m frankly a bit puzzled about what we can find in that car because most of the kinds of forensic evidence we‘re talking about—DNA, fingerprints, those kinds of things—link a person to a place.

OPRI:  Gunpowder.

COSBY:  What about gunpowder?  And again, we don‘t know if a weapon was found in the car or not.  But what if there‘s some—you know, something to suggest some sort of residue in the car?

ARDEN:  Well, if you have something like the gun, that‘s as good as the smoking gun, then of course, that‘s a great piece of evidence.

OPRI:  Gunpowder (INAUDIBLE)

ARDEN:  If you have DNA evidence, then it just means that this woman was in her husband‘s car.  We‘re not at the point where having her DNA in the car relates to her being killed or him killing her.

COSBY:  And Dr. Arden, real quick, you know, the cause of death—again, it‘s listed as—the time of death, rather, is unknown.  Do you believe, again, that they probably know more than they‘re saying but don‘t want to release it to the public, Dr. Arden?

ARDEN:  They undoubtedly know more than they‘re saying.  They‘re undoubtedly holding this very close to the vest.  But I think the time of death is the biggest forensic issue that the medical examiner will contribute to this entire process.

COSBY:  And Gerry, you know, in terms of the car, the fact that it is a single car—how bad does that look, Gerry, from a prosecutorial—that‘s certainly something for them to help.

LEONE:  Well, certainly, the fact that—you know, if it‘s true that this is the only car that the family had and Neil Entwistle took it to the airport prior to leaving for the U.K., one can certainly presume that he knew that his family wouldn‘t be needing that car.

OPRI:  (INAUDIBLE)

LEONE:  As far as the car itself is concerned, you look at it as a container.  Did the crime happen there?  Was anything that had to do with the crime transported within that?  Is there any evidence of the crime itself or motive that can be found within that container?  The government will know that after they look comprehensively through that car.

COSBY:  You know, Gerry, a lot of people are making comparisons between Laci and Scott Peterson.  Do you see comparisons with this case and that?

LEONE:  Well, the unfortunate comparison is this is an epidemic.  It‘s a domestic violence epidemic that cuts across our country.  When something like this happens, you know, there‘s a presumption that the husband did it.  You‘re supposed to love, cherish and honor your wife, and the presumption is that you killed her.  That‘s an unfortunate reality, and that‘s a similarity to the Laci Peterson case.  Motive will be extremely important.  It always is in cases like this, if, in fact, the presumptive side of this case holds true, which is that a husband killed his wife.  People don‘t want to think that that could happen, and they need to know why it happened.

COSBY:  You know, Deb, I mean, you brought up the quote—and I want to put it up on the screen.  This is from “The Sun” newspaper.  They said that Neil Entwistle reportedly made this bizarre statement.  “I can‘t remember how I got to England.  Is it true that Rachel and Lillian are dead?”  If, indeed, he did say this, I mean, does it sound like sort of the inklings of an insanity defense and that‘s where he‘s headed, Deb?

OPRI:  Absolutely.  And I‘ve been giving a few mumblings off-camera, but the fact is that car is important if there‘s gunpowder on his fingertips and it‘s now on the steering wheel.  The circumstantial evidence in this case is not going to be enough to convict him just merely because there was a single car for use in the family and he went to England on a one-way ticket.  As long as he has an explanation, Rita, we all know it‘s not going to be enough to convict him.  I‘d wait for the DNA and forensics.

COSBY:  Absolutely.  And Deb, do you think—what would be your concerns, though?  I mean, there—it—certainly, it doesn‘t look—he didn‘t rush back to go to the family.  Will that hurt him, ultimately, if it gets to that point?

OPRI:  Yes, absolutely.  For a gentleman, a father, a husband to go to England and not come back for the funeral, not to participate in a criminal investigation, that‘s going to be the biggest hurdle as a defense attorney in representing this individual.

COSBY:  Gerry, do you agree?

LEONE:  I think Deb‘s right.  I mean, there‘s a presumption here that at or about the time of death, someone who‘s a person of interest, the husband, takes off to the U.K.  I mean, there‘s an initial presumption there that he at least knew what happened, if not was involved in what happened.

COSBY:  All right, guys, thank you very much.  We‘ll have to have you all back on.  We appreciate it.

And everybody at home, we want to hear from you.  If you have any questions that you want answered on this unsolved case or any tips that you want us to investigate, if you saw something or heard something related to the case, please send the tips right to us on the Web at rita.msnbc.com.  That‘s rita.msnbc.com.

Well, Joran Van Der Sloot may be free, but that‘s not stopping the parents of the primary suspect in the Natalee Holloway case from coming to his defense.  Anita and Paulus Van Der Sloot are speaking out for the very first time since Joran‘s release from jail in September.  They defended their son, saying that the investigation has absolutely devastated him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANITA VAN DER SLOOT, JORAN‘S MOTHER:  For him, it‘s also the thing that he regrets every day that he did not hand her over to a guard or somebody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And on the phone with us right now is Natalee‘s father, Dave Holloway.  Also with us is Holloway family attorney John Q. Kelly, who was in Aruba just last week.  Dave, let me start with you.  What‘s your reaction to them talking now?  What do you think is driving this?

DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S STEPFATHER:  Well, he appears to be very relaxed and confident, versus the last time I saw him, where he was very nervous and afraid.  His son‘s out of jail, and things appear to be going well for him.

COSBY:  Well, you know, his parents were asked about the night that Natalee vanished.  Remember, Joran‘s always maintained he left her on the beach.  This is what they said about this.  Let‘s take a listen.  And then I want to get to you respond, Dave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANITA VAN DER SLOOT:  That was the most difficult thing to deal with as a parent.  And for him, it‘s also the thing that he regrets every day, that he did not hand her over to a guard or somebody.  He said she was able to walk, and when he mentioned that he wanted to bring her to the hotel, she didn‘t want to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Dave, what do you make of their comments?

HOLLOWAY:  Well, it sounds like to me that they‘re a lot more relaxed and the stress is off of them.  And of course, with us, it‘s—we still don‘t have our answers and we still don‘t have our daughter.

COSBY:  Do you believe them, Dave, that just left her on the beach and he regrets it every day?

HOLLOWAY:  I have my doubts.

COSBY:  John Q. Kelly, what do you think?  Do you believe him?

JOHN Q. KELLY, HOLLOWAY FAMILY ATTORNEY:  No, not at all.  You don‘t fabricate a story like he did after the fact about taking her back to the hotel and leaving her with the security guards if you have nothing to hide.  You make up a story and you lie for a reason.

COSBY:  You know, John, you were with Natalee‘s mom, Beth, yesterday.

KELLY:  I was.

COSBY:  How did you find out—I was really surprised to hear this. 

How did you find out that the Van Der Sloots were even doing an interview?

KELLY:  Beth had come into town yesterday for some business.  And she was in here alone, so we invited her up to the house.  We had a bunch of family and friend over, and we were actually watching the Super Bowl.  And they promoted it by putting a picture of Natalee on the screen during the Super Bowl, which is supposed to be a festive time.  And it was rather awkward, uncomfortable and just a painful moment for everybody to see that being promoted during the Super Bowl with no notice.

COSBY:  I can—how is—what was Beth‘s reaction?

KELLY:  Just stunned.  I mean, you‘re just there, trying to relax, just, you know, trying to be social and things, and all of a sudden, you see your daughter‘s picture there to promote these people, who know probably what happened to your daughter, being, you know, promoted and coming on the tube the next day.

COSBY:  Yes, it must have been very hard.  You know, John, Joran‘s mother and dad made a lot of statements.

KELLY:  Sure.

COSBY:  And one of them, I want to put it up on the screen.  This is when they talked about their son‘s, you know, possible guilt.  If he was guilty, what would they do?  And they said, quote, “If we would have any feeling that he was involved in something, Paul”—the father—“would have taken him to the police station and said, Here, hold him.  He did something.  He deserves a punishment.”

John, what‘s your reaction to that?

KELLY:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s up to the parents, who aren‘t really impartial, to decide whether their son‘s involved in foul play or not.  I mean, clearly, Paul Van Der Sloot instructed his son to be obstructionist and uncooperative.  He instructed him not to use e-mail, not to use cell phones, to keep his story straight, to get lawyers immediately.  And he was obstructionist from the start.  And you know, what he says today and what he says tomorrow—you know, I think he thinks people forget how uncooperative he‘s been from the start in this whole investigation.

COSBY:  You know, and Dave, that line of “no body, no case,” which he reported said to his son—he was asked about that.  He denied that.  Btu this is what he said.  He said, “i didn‘t use the words, No body, no case.”  This is in the recent interview with “Good Morning America.”  “I told him to cooperate so much as possible.”

Do you think he did encourage them and ask them to cooperate as much as possible, Dave?

HOLLOWAY:  It‘s my understanding that he helped them find their attorneys and, you know, like John said, coached them through it.

COSBY:  And what do you make of the fact that here they are on TV now, Dave?  I mean, how tough is it for you, acting like, you know—do you think they‘re trying to create sympathy for their son, like, poor Joran?

HOLLOWAY:  You know, I don‘t have any idea what they‘re up to.  Like John, yesterday, I received a phone call.  And some of my friends called and said that they were being interviewed or going to have an interview the next day.  And so I continued watching the Super Bowl, and lo and behold, there they were.

COSBY:  What a shock.  And John, real quick, what do you think is driving them?  I know they also have a lawsuit for damages.

KELLY:  Ultimately, it seems like it might be about money.  They‘re waiting for a decision on the damages claim.  I think he‘s trying to put a good face on a bad situation, where he‘s, as I said, totally uncooperative and assisted his son and his friends in a cover-up from the start.

COSBY:  You think it‘s trying to set the stage for the lawsuit—oh, poor me, look what we went through, John?

KELLY:  Yes, and also trying to clear his name that was rightfully sullied and dragged through the mud by the steps he took early on to protect his son and his friends and obvious cover-up and totally—one other thing, Rita, I just want to point out real quick is, just remember, as recently as Christmas, Joran was invited in to clarify some statements of his, and he refused.  So he‘s clearly not being cooperative, and the father‘s not telling him to be cooperative.

COSBY:  And I know that part 2 of the interview‘s going to run tomorrow.  We‘ll probably talk a lot about it tomorrow, as well, guys.  Thank you very much, Dave and John.  Thank you very much.

And tonight, we‘re on the case of another mystery, as well.  Police say surveillance video may have caught what they are calling a person of interest in the case of a missing college graduate.  They believe that this man—we‘ll see it in a moment—might know the whereabouts of Jennifer Kesse.  Kesse was reported missing January 26 when she didn‘t show up for work.  Police say her disappearance is suspicious mainly because they found her car abandoned a mile from her home.  If you have any information about the man in the surveillance photos—there they are.  They‘re a little difficult to see.  But if you have any information at all, police want to hear from you.  Call the crime line at 1-800-423-TIPS.  Again, 1-800-423-TIPS.

And there‘s also a global manhunt tonight for a terrorist mastermind who escaped from prison.  A group of 23 criminals, including 13 al Qaeda terrorists, escaped from a prison in Yemen by digging under prison walls.  One of those escapees is believed to be the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing in October 2000.  Seventeen sailors were killed and thirty-nine others were injured in that blast.

And joining us now is “Washington Post” national security correspondent Dana Priest, and also terrorism expert and author of “The Devil‘s Triangle: Terror, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Rogue States,” Peter Brookes.

Dana, what do we know about the break-out?  Wasn‘t—was it an inside job, the break-out?

DANA PRIEST, “WASHINGTON POST”:  Oh, it had to have some help from outside, sure.  They escaped on Thursday night, which is the day before Friday, which is a holy day.  And it‘s unlikely that people checked on the prisoners on Friday.  They escaped by digging a large tunnel or a long tunnel, more than 400 feet, in the female section of a mosque, so they had to have help getting in there and not being spotted and that sort of thing.

One of the men who escaped had actually escaped before, and he‘s the one that‘s being called the mastermind of the Cole bombing in 2000.  He escaped from another prison in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, in ‘03.  And so he has a history of this.  In that case, he dug a hole behind a toilet in a bathroom.

COSBY:  Yes, and we were just looking at pictures of the guy who Dana was talking about, Jamal al Badawi, whose masterminding, again, of the 2000 USS Cole bombing...

Peter, how dangerous are these men?  I mean, I thin it‘s pretty frightening to know that they got out and now a second time.

PETER BROOKES, AUTHOR, “THE DEVIL‘S TRIANGLE”:  Well, they‘re certainly known killers.  And Yemen has been a hotbed of extremism and radicalism.  (INAUDIBLE) remember that this is where the attack on the French tanker Limburg was perpetrated from in October of 2002.  And also, there have been a number of plots that were broken up against foreign embassies in Sanaa, as well.  So these people are extremely dangerous.  That‘s why Interpol is so worried and has spread the word.  And these are known killers, and they‘ll try to—they‘re try to kill again .

COSBY:  Peter, what about the thought of an inside and an outside job, help on both ends?  I mean, you just heard from Dana, it ends up in a—you know, the women‘s section of a mosque.  Pretty detailed tunnel.

BROOKS:  Yes.  And the other thing is, Rita, the fact is, is that these groups try to penetrate the security services, whether it‘s the intelligence, whether it‘s the law enforcement or the military.  We‘ve seen this in many, many places.  We‘ve seen it in Iraq.  And so they probably had somebody who penetrated the law enforcement or the prison itself and helped these guys escape.

The other fact is, is that, obviously, going out through a mosque—would they know that the women generally don‘t go to the mosques in Yemen and that it was an opportunity for them?  So Yes, it‘s very likely that there was some sort of penetration of the security services that allowed them to perpetrate this big breakout.

COSBY:  You know, Dana, how tough is it going to be now to find these guys?  Let‘s talk about the terrain and also the complexities of dealing with different countries.

PRIEST:  You know, it will be hard, and that‘s why they‘ve issued this worldwide alert.  Yemen has probably come the furthest of any country since 9/11, but it also had the furthest to go.  It‘s the ancestral home of Usama bin Laden.  It became the safe haven for al Qaeda fleeing the U.S. strikes in Afghanistan, the war there.  And it really has this—like Afghanistan and Pakistan, it has this large swathe of what they call a no-man‘s land.  It really is very difficult, ruled by tribes and hard for the CIA or the FBI to get in there.

In fact, the CIA and the FBI have made a lot of attempts over the last few years to bring Yemen into the fold.  They‘ve spent millions of dollars doing that, giving them equipment and training so that they can carry out some of this counterrorism themselves.  They‘ve worked very closely with them.  That‘s been, in a sense, a success story.  But they also recognize that there are areas of the country that are just off-limits pretty much.

COSBY:  And very remote.  Both of you, thank you very much.  We appreciate you being with us tonight.

And still ahead, a LIVE AND DIRECT special investigation.  Some of the most notorious and dangerous criminals in the United States are part of one gang.  It‘s not the Bloods, it‘s not the Crips, but a gang called MS-13.  We‘re taking you to the streets to show you how they‘re terrorizing neighborhoods, treating their friends and enemies with brutal, bloody force.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Tonight, a frightening situation.  Jails on lockdown after a violent race riot between black and Hispanic gang members in the Los Angeles jail. 

Inmates have now been separated by race after the uprisings.  At least one inmate was killed and dozens more injured. 

The recent situation is exposing the changing nature of gang violence.  The FBI says gangs are now more brutal, more organized, and more widespread than ever before, even in small-town America. 

Many of you have heard of maybe the Bloods and the Crips, but tonight we investigate what officials believe is the most dangerous gang in the U.S.:  MS-13.  We want to warn you that the video you‘re about to see is very graphic, very disturbing, but it clearly shows why the battle against MS-13 is so critical to our country‘s security. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY (voice-over):  You are looking at one of the most horrific crime scenes ever witnessed by law enforcement, young men, women and children brutally murdered with machetes.  These innocent victims were slaughtered and dismembered for no reason at the hand of none other than the gang known as MS-13. 

La Mara Salvatrucha, more commonly known as the MS-13, are considered by the FBI to be the most dangerous gang in the U.S., leaving their mark from El Salvador to Honduras to Guatemala to New Mexico, and now on U.S.  soil.

In the last decade, the United States has experienced a dramatic increase in the number and size of this transnational street gang, which has quickly became a nationwide problem. 

SAM DEALY, “READER‘S DIGEST”:  This is a problem that the federal government actually created.

COSBY:  Sam Dealy is a reporter for “Reader‘s Digest,” which did an investigative expose on the MS-13 gang. 

DEALY:  Our default policy throughout much of the past decade has been simply to, when you catch these guys, deport them.  And they head back to Guatemala, or El Salvador, or Honduras, and weak states back there can‘t control them. 

COSBY:  The majority of MS-13 members are foreign-born and are frequently involved in human and drug smuggling and immigration violations. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The MS-13, you know, they‘re ambush killers.  I think they have a real reason to take precautions against them.  I‘m not saying they‘re afraid of them by any means, but they need to change their tactics. 

COSBY:  Like most street gangs, MS-13 members are also committed to such crimes as robbery, extortion, rape and murder.  They also run a well-financed prostitution ring. 

This notorious gang, best known for their violent methods, can now be found in 33 states, with an estimated 10,000 members and more than 40,000 in Central America.  The FBI says MS-13 are the fastest growing and most violent of the nation‘s street gangs.  So much so, even other gangs fear them. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  MS-13 about hurting people.  They go around, robbing and hurting people, killing people for no reason, just for no reason. 

COSBY:  And you will be stunned to hear that this ruthless gang who will kill for the sake of killing has made its way to cities and suburbs across the country, even settling into small communities and boldly announcing their presence with violence. 

Northern Virginia is reported to have the strongest number of MS-13 members in a single city.  And there are many cities infected now by MS-13. 

TOM PICKARD, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI:  These people are actually dividing up parts of the country or areas of the country to suit their drug network. 

COSBY:  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently sent out a memo warning Border Patrol agents that they could now become targets of hired assassins as retaliation for tighter border security.  The memo identified the higher guns as La Matta (ph).  The memo went on to say that MS-13 is upset because law enforcement is hurting their gang smuggling business. 

Former Texas border agent Jim Dorcy is very concerned. 

JIM DORCY, FORMER BORDER CONTROL AGENT:  I think it‘s a real serious threat.  The Border Patrol is a real problem for the professional smugglers.  They‘re cutting into their incomes. 

COSBY:  What makes MS-13 so deadly is their skill with the machete, and most have had extensive military training in El Salvador, making them a double threat.  The machete, typically used for cutting crops in El Salvador, is now the weapon of choice for this fearless gang. 

The MS-13 are identified by their numerous tattoos on their bodies and faces.  They wear blue and white colors taken from the El Salvadoran flag. 

Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland and around the Washington, D.C., area are having their problems now with MS-13, with a bigger concentration in Long Island, New York, and California, California being the U.S.  birthplace for this gang which settled there in the early 1980s and one of the states with the biggest numbers still today. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  Incredible to see those numbers.  And coming up, more of my exclusive investigation.  Up next, I‘m going to go alongside police officers fighting MS-13 right on the front lines.  Wait until you see how cops are working to get this brutal criminal organization under control from coast to coast. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And take a look at this frightening video.  Last month, a Virginia woman was abducted at knifepoint by a group of MS-13 gang members.  They took her to Florida where police say they raped and assaulted her.  She eventually was able to fight off the men and escape.  The gang members have since been charged with false imprisonment. 

And this type of brutal force is not unusual for that gang.  It‘s believed that the reign of terror for America‘s largest gang, known as MS-13, extends now into 33 states.  And even in the toughest cities, police say these gang members are among the most dangerous criminals they have ever encountered. 

As part of a LIVE & DIRECT special investigation, I rode along with the Miami police gang unit to see firsthand how they‘re trying to keep these violent thugs off the streets. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY (voice-over):  Miami is a paradise, with subtropical weather all year round, a tourist hub attracting thousands of vacationers each year, enjoying the beautiful beaches, the beautiful people, and the night life. 

But even in a sizzling city like Miami, with all that it has to offer, lurks the threat of the MS-13 gang.  Like other cities in the United States, Miami, too, is feeling the heat from a gang who wants to claim new territory. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:    This is going to be a south bend sweep.  The sergeant for the detail‘s going to be Sergeant Montas De Oca (ph). 

COSBY:  Miami Police Chief John Timoney arranged to get us inside the city‘s top gang unit as they prepare to hit the streets in search of MS-13 activity. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You guys know what to do.  You‘re the best. 

COSBY:  Sergeant Milton Montas De Oca (ph), who heads up the gang unit, keeps his team out in the field to make sure the MS-13 gang members feel law enforcement‘s presence. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  South bend, we‘re going to be hitting Lion King Park (ph) at southwest 8 Avenue and 3 Street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let‘s concentrate on just the—you know, zero-tolerance-type sweep today.  Just bring everybody in that is not doing the right thing.  Anybody after 10:00, they go to jail. 

COSBY (on-screen):  How tough are some of the members of MS-13? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  MS-13 is probably one of the most violent and structured gangs that we‘ve come across in a long time.  MS-13 gang historically is a very violent gang.  They use violence to their advantage to make sure that whatever message they‘re sending out is heard by everyone. 

COSBY:  How do they handle officers?  Do they hesitate to go after officers? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  One of the officers was actually the spearhead of the investigation, they actually left a bullet with his name on it on his doorstep.  So when they do that, that shows a lot of courage on their part, you know, of being very bold.  Not only do they know where you live, but now they‘re putting a bullet with your name on it on your doorstep so...

COSBY:  How young are some members of MS-13 that you‘ve run across? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right down to middle-school age. 

COSBY:  Middle school? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  About 12, yes, middle school.  That‘s when we start to notice gang activity.  We focus on these kids because somewhat, for the most part, they are still, you know, save-able, you know, if we can get to them before the bad guys do. 

We do, and we‘re trying to help them get out of that frame of mind.  But the kids are influenced at that age.  They‘re very influential.  And if what‘s popular to become a thug and live a thug life, then that‘s what they‘re going to do. 

COSBY (voice-over):  On this night, we saw markings where gang members staked out their territory.  Believe it or not, some of the markings were even plastered on the wall of an eatery where police officers are known to go. 

(on-screen):  What does this mean? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, we don‘t know.  This definitely—somebody is claiming to be affiliated with these gangs. 

COSBY:  You seem to keep a particular eye on MS-13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, the reason we do that is because we‘ve seen what they‘re capable of doing.  And so here in the city of Miami we‘ve been, you know, we‘ve been somewhat fortunate that my team actually comes out here every night and, you know, we work these guys. 

COSBY:  To join the gang, MS-13, it‘s pretty brutal.  What do they ask the guys to do for initiation? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There‘s three different rituals that they perform.  They either walk the line, get jumped in, or for the females they have the option of being sexed in. 

COSBY:  Police Chief John Timoney says MS-13 shows no mercy and plenty of brutality. 

JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE CHIEF:  It‘s a vicious, violent gang.  It has its own vicious, violent initiation, whether it‘s male or female.  You know, we‘ve got some tough individuals that have gone through these initiation rights. 

There was such kind of a rude awakening to all of us because, you know, we were used to gangs just being in L.A.  But then all of a sudden in the last five to 10 years, they popped up, particularly MS-13 in communities we just wouldn‘t expect.  They surfaced, and they surfaced fast.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  Our thanks to the Miami Police Department. 

When we come back, what is it like being on the frontline fighting a gang that settles disputes with machetes and gang rapes?  We‘re going to talk about that. 

But before we go to the break, let‘s check in if we could with Joe Scarborough now with a preview of what‘s coming up in a few minutes on “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Joe? 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  I‘ll tell you what, Rita, that is very frightening that it‘s happening in my state and happening all across this country. 

I‘ll tell you what else, obviously, as you know, is very frightening.  I know you‘ve seen these “Dateline” specials.  Everybody‘s talking about them.  They‘ve been these wildly successful sex sting operations where they bust these men who are predators trying to pick up 12-, 13-, 14-year-old kids.

They go there and instead of meeting a 14-year-old kid, they meet Chris Hansen and the “Dateline NBC” camera crews. 

Well, they‘ve done it again, but this time there is a new twist after they leave Chris‘s company.  They run outside and start to run away.  But instead, they‘re met by police officers, they‘re busted, and sent straight to jail. 

We‘re going to be talking to Chris and see some more of these just amazing installments on “Dateline NBC.”  It is a very, very important story that parents across this country need to pay close attention to. 

Their children are in jeopardy every single time they go onto the computer.  So we‘re going to not only have Chris, we‘re also going to talk to experts on Capitol Hill and across America to tell us how we can protect our children from these predators. 

So that‘s tonight, Rita, in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”  Thanks. 

COSBY:  Should be really incredible.  And I know they‘ve found someone from Homeland Security.  So really fascinating who they catch, Joe.  We‘ll be watching.

And, everybody, we‘re going to be right back after the break. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIMONEY:  They‘re also engaged, by the way, in drug dealing and anything else on the underground economy, you know, on the underground economy that will, one, get them some revenues, get them attention, help them recruit more people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Well, keeping MS-13 gang members from carrying out their illegal and often very deadly activities has become a tough challenge for law enforcement.  You just heard from Miami Police Chief John Timoney. 

Joining us now to talk more about MS-13 is Robert Clark, supervisory special agent on the FBI National Gang Task Force.  And we also have with us a former gang member, Juan Pacheco, who is originally from El Salvador. 

Juan, why did you join the gang? 

JUAN PACHECO, FORMER GANG MEMBER:  There were a lot of reasons.  You know, right now, we have certain situations out in our community where young people feel isolated, feel vulnerable.  There‘s a lack of recreation, a lack of role models. 

And one of the negative things that‘s been happening is that, you know, young people in our society—unfortunately, the media and people out there are painting every Latino to be a gang member.  And that‘s false. 

And also the other mistake that people in the media are making is in painting every gang member as a criminal.  Most of the young people that join these gangs join because they don‘t have a sense of belonging.  They join because they don‘t feel a sense of community. 

So instead of, you know, sending out these messages, you know, kind of like painting and sending all these emotional poison out there, and making people believe that Latinos are the cause of the gang problem, we need to come to the realization that gangs are the effect of ineffective communities. 

COSBY:  No, and that‘s a very good point, especially and, Juan, in the case, you know, you come from another country.  A lot of people, there‘s a language barrier. 

PACHECO:  Definitely.

COSBY:  You‘re looking for somebody—I totally agree.  You know, in this case, though, some of the folks, some of the folks who are members of MS-13, whether it‘s this gang or others—but MS-13 is a particularly brutal gang. 

You know, tell us about just the initiation of those who are gang members?  And, of course, again, it‘s not all Latinos.  But in this case those who are members of—tell us about some of the terms that I came to know from going out there.  The term “jump in,” “walk the line,” “sexed in,” tell us about these.  What is this?

PACHECO:  Well, there are certain rights of passage that young people have to go through to get inside and prove themselves, right?  It goes to show you how far communities have failed these young people. 

If a young person is willing to go out there and beat somebody up or hurt them, just think about the psychic negativity has dished upon this young person. 

COSBY:  And what is “sexed in”?  Walk us through the terms, Juan, just the—what is “jump in” and “walk the line”?  What is that? 

PACHECO:  “Jump in” means you have to go through some kind of like physical assault.  Now, again, like I said, you know, if a young person goes through a physical assault, there‘s something wrong in his community where he has to make...

(CROSSTALK) 

COSBY:  Yes, what, a sense of desperation...

PACHECO:  Oh, a sense of desperation, a sense of disconnect, you know?

COSBY:  What is that?  What is “sexed in”?  What is that? 

PACHECO:  Well, you know, some girls actually have to go through their own initiation.  And it sounds just the way it sounds.  That‘s what it means.

COSBY:  They have to have sex with the other members? 

PACHECO:  And it‘s not only MS-13.  You know, other gangs have different, you know, similar ways of initiating young people. 

COSBY:  Now, you know, it is like, as you said, it is a very desperate

you know, Robert, you‘ve been tracking MS-13 for a long time.  How much of a problem and how hard is it to track?  Because a lot of them do come from these different countries where they‘re disjointed.  But they come through a lot of borders, right? 

ROBERT W. CLARK, MS-13 NATIONAL GANG TASK FORCE:  Yes, it is.  It becomes difficult because we have to try and coordinate the resources from not only throughout the United States at the state, local and federal level, but we have to try and coordinate the intelligence and information with our international partners, as well, with them going back-and-forth across the borders. 

And we need to understand that MS-13 has a presence in five countries.  So if you could imagine the daunting task that we have at trying to coordinate all of our efforts and investigative resources over five countries, it becomes difficult. 

COSBY:  I understand it‘s hard.  We‘re looking at shots of tattoos, too, Robert.  But a lot of them, what, don‘t use that as a marking anymore, right? 

CLARK:  Yes. 

COSBY:  How tough is that for you to track down? 

CLARK:  Well, what they have done—they have now become smarter because of law enforcement efforts and presence.  They know that the tattoos draws attention to them.  So a lot of them are starting to get tattoos removed and a lot of them are not getting tattooed at all. 

COSBY:  You know, Juan, we just have a little bit left, but you‘re doing some really good things helping folks get out of gangs, find other reasons for hope.  How tough has that been? 

CLARK:  Well, and again, in coordinating with our international partners, we have seen that these intervention and prevention programs can actually have a positive effect. 

And we want to see those things have such a positive effect in the United States that not only in our proactive efforts do we ensure the safety for our children for tomorrow, but the children of people who come from Central America looking for a better life in the United States, that we ensure that for them, as well. 

COSBY:  And, both of you, stick with us.  I want to bring in if I could now Marcy Forman.  She‘s the director of investigation for immigration and also customs enforcement. 

Marcy, some pretty incredible numbers about a lot of arrests that have taken place.  You‘ve supplied us with 16 hot spots around the country where these gangs have been arrested in a variety of cities around the country.  How difficult is it to track down an organization like this, Marcy? 

MARCY FORMAN, DIRECTOR OF INVESTIGATIONS, ICE:  Well, it‘s working collaboratively with our partners, our state, local and federal partners.  We work together. 

The state and locals are the experts.  They‘re the boots on the ground.  And ICE, working in partnership with the state, local and federal agencies, have a very good success rate in identifying these individuals. 

COSBY:  You know, you also gave us a video of ICE deporting some MS-13 gang members.  How difficult is it to make sure these guys never get back into the country?  What are the other countries doing?  Are they cracking down? 

FORMAN:  We‘re certainly working in partnership with our foreign countries.  ICE has over 56 foreign attache offices located throughout the world.  And working with the foreign governments, we‘re looking to ensure that these individuals do not come back into the United States. 

COSBY:  And, Marcy, real quick, I know there‘s different levels.  There‘s obviously those who join for belonging, there‘s those who join for much more severe reasons.  Are you worried about what could be coming across the border? 

FORMAN:  Oh, we‘re certainly worried.  You know, we certainly want to maintain the integrity of our immigration system.  And it‘s certainly a vulnerability.  And we‘re looking to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute these individuals so they can no longer terrorize our communities.

COSBY:  You know, and Juan, I want to get you in just real quick, if I could here.  You‘re trying to help now some young kids avoid gang violence. 

PACHECO:  Definitely.

COSBY:  How tough has that been?  Do you feel like you‘re making some inroads, real quick?

PACHECO:  I think one of the toughest jobs that we have is letting the communities understand that if the suppression aspect, meaning, you know, incarceration, deportation and prosecution failed us in the late ‘80s, and we‘re trying that method again to solve a community and public health issue, it will fail us again.

We need to concentrate more efforts on the prevention and intervention side of helping our young brothers, you know.  But who out there thinks in their minds and in their hearts to go out in their streets and give a gang member a hug or give one of these young people who need help?

COSBY:  Yes, start at the root of the problem. 

PACHECO:  Yes. 

COSBY:  Thank you very much, all of you.  Really appreciate it.  Love to have you all back on.  Thank you.

And, everybody, we‘re going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  An undercover investigation that will leave you stunned.  Tomorrow, we‘ll tell you how precious puppies are being stolen from their homes and then sold illegally.  This undercover video caught the shameful practice. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over):  We found pit bulls for sale in this pickup and toy dogs offered out of backpacks. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This one is $300?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This one is $180.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over):  Authorities say not only are most of these dogs sick, they can make you and your family sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And that‘s tomorrow night.  That does it for us.  Now to Joe and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Joe?

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