A subset of high-ranking gangs “controls” the downtown drug market

AUSTIN (KXAN) — According to a drug arrest affidavit from earlier this week, gang drug activity has led to an increase in violent crime, including assaults, robberies and homicides, downtown.

The court document says an officer was “attempting to fight our outdoor drug market in the 500 block of Neches and 600 block of Sabine. Which is controlled by [gang] a subset.”

We reached out to APD to get more information about this particular drug activity and how officers are tracking it, but have not heard back. It is important to note that we did not contact the public information office until later in the afternoon. We expect to hear back on Thursday.

People who work on Neches said they haven’t seen blatant gang activity, but they have seen what they say are drug deals near the alleys.

“Not surprising, then [gang activity] it’s definitely probably happening,” Wayne Holmes said. “But it’s shocking because I guess the identifiers I’ve never seen are flags or signs or things like that.”

The arrest affidavit also states that gang and drug activity is “known to ruin the quality of life for the homeless population.”

We spoke to attorney Anthony Jackson with We Can Now about this statement. It works directly with people experiencing homelessness in the inner city.

“I don’t see any [gang] which controls certain areas,” he said. “They didn’t say anything about gang activity or anything about people from any gangs making them do anything or harassing them.”

The latest Texas gang threat assessment by the Department of Public Safety says the gang mentioned in the affidavit has a “significant presence” in Travis County.

Austin crime records show a steady increase in crime reports in the Neches and Sabine sections, which are also recognized in the document.

KXAN will update this story when police provide additional information about gang activity in Austin.

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