New law to increase penalty for crimes by gang members

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a law that could help Charlotte and other major cities tackle gang violence.

The new law acts as more of a deterrent by increasing the penalties.

If a gang member commits a misdemeanor or felony, the charges automatically go up by one class, and up two classes for a gang leader.

The law also increases penalties for threatening or retaliating against anyone who leaves a gang or who helps someone else leave.

Charlotte has had issues with at least two major gangs.

In May, federal and local police swept the area and arrested 83 suspected members of the United Blood Nation.

Investigators said the suspects were behind all kinds of crimes, including murder and credit card fraud.

The MS-13 gang has been terrorizing neighborhoods in the city for years.

In February, Channel 9 had an inside look at the five-year investigation in Charlotte that sent more than 30 MS-13 gang members to prison.                          

Federal agents shared an exclusive video of attacks and gang meetings near SouthPark neighborhoods.

The U.S. attorney said that MS-13 is still recruiting across Charlotte, mostly targeting Latino neighborhoods and young children.               

The new law takes effect on Dec. 1.

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