PORTLAND — The FBI says it’s preparing to deploy a task force aimed at targeting street gangs in Maine.

Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge in Boston, said today that the FBI is working with local police to establish the Southern Maine Safe Streets Task Force. Similar task forces are already at work in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

DesLauriers says targeting violent street gangs is a priority for the FBI.

Todd Difede, the FBI’s supervisory special agent in Portland, says the goal is to have the task force up and running in one to two months.

The task force will work closely with the Portland Police Department which has identified street gangs – groups loosely affiliated around illegal activity – as a problem that would benefit from focused, coordinated enforcement and federal assistance. 

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