Live from Washington, D.C.’s FAIR event Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed retired Los Angeles Sherriff Department Sergeant Richard Valdemar to the microphone at Feet to Fire in D.C. to discuss the effects of illegal immigration and gangs.
Leahy: We are joined on the rooftop terrace by Richard Valdemar. A retired sergeant with Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and also an expert on transnational gangs. Welcome, Richard.
Valdemar: Thank you, Mike.
Leahy: And we’re delighted to have you. Let me just throw you a curveball here. You retired with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, not the police department, but the sheriff’s department.
Valdemar: Correct. Correct.
Leahy: Have you watched or have you read any of the Harry Bosh Detective stories in Los Angeles?
Valdemar: It’s my favorite depiction of the way things are in Los Angeles as a detective.
Leahy: I am delighted to hear that I’m a big fan of the writer Michael Connely.
Valdemar: Yes. Very good.
Leahy: And I think he seems to have captured the police and the sheriff’s department activities there quite accurately from what I can tell.
Valdemar: Yes, I think so.
Leahy: I’m happy to hear that. (Valdemar chuckles) I’m happy to hear that. Now, tell us about transnational gangs. Los Angeles, by the way, when are you moving from Los Angeles to Nashville?
Valdemar: (Laughs) Well, I moved in 2004, away from Los Angeles, and most of my department retired in either Nevada or Arizona.
Leahy: And where do you live now?
Valdemar: I live in Arizona.
Leahy: So got out of LA.
Valdemar: Yeah, but I did another ten years with the Arizona Gang Task Force.
Leahy: So what’s going on? How much worse is the gang problem since the inauguration of Joe Biden in January 2021, then it was in previous times.
Valdemar: Most people don’t realize that the three largest gangs out of Los Angeles are Ms13, Mara Salvatrucha. The Florence Gang, F13, and the 18th Street Gang are all primarily made up of undocumented illegal aliens. So the influx of illegal aliens feeds the gang problem.
Leahy: That’s not a shock. But I think the scale and magnitude of this now with Biden seems to be astounding.
Valdemar: Yes. I was part of the Operation Safe Streets gang unit, and I was part of federal task forces with the Marshalls, ATF, and FBI.
And we had pretty much impacted the gang problem and reduced it. The late 80s and early 90s was the most violent time in Los Angeles until now.
Leahy: Until now. Now violence is coming back and sends your thank you notes to Joe Biden.
Valdemar: Absolutely. The influx of these drugs is increasing the competition among the street gang members who are under or in alliance with the cartels.
Leahy: What’s the moral of law enforcement when it appears that everything the Biden administration is doing is to be helpful to the cartels to make more money?
Valdemar: Yes. I have trouble because I have relatives, grandkids who are trying to go into law enforcement and I tell them this is not a good time.
Leahy: Yes. You go into law enforcement, and right now the attitude is they’re going to undercut people in law enforcement trying to do their job. And it looks like they’re trying to help the bad guys. Do I have that wrong?
Valdemar: Absolutely right. They’re releasing these people into the street. They operate with impunity. I call them the government-protected criminal class.
Leahy: What can be done in this? Do you have any note of optimism under this Biden maladministration?
Valdemar: We know what to do. The conspiracy laws, especially Rico, are the kind of laws that can be used to disassemble these cartels. And we were doing good with that.
But we don’t see that kind of prosecution. Instead, you’re going to get arrested in Los Angeles for not wearing a mask instead of being illegal or involved in petty theft.
Leahy: Where’s the note of optimism here until the end of the Biden administration. There’s no optimism!
Leahy: As long as Biden is president, it’s going to get worse.
Valdemar: Yes, it’s going to get worse.
Leahy: This is not new to any of our listeners, but it is more than a little bit discouraging, I think.
Valdemar: Absolutely. And it affects the whole nation. It’s not a border thing.
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Richard Valdemar” by Richard Valdemar.