Retired deputy explains how to spot a gang member in light of Dreamer case

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TACOMA, Wash. – The question of whether immigrant ‘Dreamer’ Daniel Ramirez Medina has gang ties is key to this story. ICE agents say Ramirez admitted to being a gang member, but in court documents he denies that ever happened.

“If you walk like a duck, talk like a duck and look like a duck, you’re a duck,” said Jesus Villahermosa Jr.

Villahermosa is a retired Pierce County sheriff’s deputy and current owner and president of Crisis Reality Training Inc.

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“We’re going to look at self-proclamation, tattoos, clothing in connection with the tattoos, not just blue, red, black or orange. We’re going to look at the whole picture, the context. By the way, who’s he with? Is he an associate? Has he been jumped in? Is he being courted?” asked Villahermosa.

The former deputy says that’s what ICE agents likely did when they encountered Ramirez. They say he’s a self-admitted gang member with a gang tattoo to boot.

“There’s really no reason for these ICE agents to make this up. They sure as heck couldn’t have made up the tattoo,” said Villahermosa.

In these court documents, it alleges Ramirez has a specific tattoo. It’s a nautical star with letters.

Lawyers for Ramirez filed a' "Petitioner’s Reply Brief" in Ramirez versus U.S. Department of Homeland Security that reads, “Mr. Ramirez repeatedly told the ICE agents that the tattoo is not a gang tattoo. 'La Paz' is Mr. Ramirez’s birthplace, and 'BCS' stands for Baja California Sur, the city in which La Paz is located.”

Villahermosa said, “My understanding is that if he’s self-proclaimed and said, ‘Yeah I used to run with the Surenos back in California,’ which that’s my understanding, that’s a self-proclamation. The tattoo matches that. BCS is Baja California Sur. Sur is short for Surenos which means Southerners.”

Villahermosa says contrary to common thought, most gang members are proud of their standing and brag about it. He says it’s not a secret even when law enforcement is around.

The government’s court filings contend Ramirez said he did hang out with members of the “Surenos”— a notorious gang.

But in his written statement to the court documents, Ramirez wrote, “I came in and the officers said I have gang affiliation with gangs so I wear an orange uniform. I do not have a criminal history and I’m not affiliated with any gangs.”

In the statement, he admits to telling officers he hung out with gang members in the past, only because ICE agents kept asking him questions.

“You have to be careful because part of any bad guy’s story is, ‘But I don’t do that anymore,” said Villahermosa.

Villahermosa told Q13 News he knows people will think he’s going to take the ICE agents’ side because he used to be a law enforcement officer. But he says the evidence he’s seen from ICE agents in this case lines up with his own gang training and what he’s seen firsthand on the streets when policing gang members.

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