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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Crack Down On Illegal Gang Recruitment

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The state Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill that would make it a crime to recruit members of violent crime gangs.

One sponsor of the bill is Chester Republican Dominic Pileggi, the Senate majority leader. Pileggi’s spokesman, Erik Arneson, says the bill is generally a response to the expanding impact of gangs across the state, including in some rural areas that hadn’t experienced gang violence before.

“Specifically, there was an incident near Avondale, in Chester County, where two rival gang leaders were killed in an altercation. And we worked with the Chester County district attorney to develop this.”

The bill makes it a crime to recruit or make a person remain in a gang. The severity of the crime increases if threats or bodily injury are involved, increases even more if there is serious bodily injury, and even more if the target of the recruitment is under the age of 16.

The measure now goes to the House for consideration.

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