Kansas law aimed at gang crime signed

Old Kansas Statehouse

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas prosecutors are receiving a new measure aimed at curbing gang activities by targeting higher-level individuals in the gangs.

Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday signed the Kansas Racketeering Influenced and Criminal Organization Act. It’s patterned after similar federal RICO statutes aimed at organized crime.

Sen. Mike Peterson, a Wichita Republican, says the law gives law enforcement agencies and prosecutors the ability to target heads of gangs and charge them with criminal activities.

The law amends several definitions in state laws regarding who could be charged with crimes such as soliciting or coercing others to do illegal acts, human trafficking, drug distribution or extortion.

The law also changes criteria for determining which individuals who might be in criminal street gangs, including whom a person associates with and location.

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