FACT CHECK: Did Miami-Dade Police Release This Warning About MS-13?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a warning from the Miami-Dade Sheriff’s Department about the MS-13 gang using crying young people to lure women to assault them.

Facebook/Screenshot

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

The hoax document has circulated online over the years. The Miami-Dade Police Department said Wednesday that the department has “no intelligence that would support its contents.”

Fact Check:

The notice, purportedly from the Miami-Dade Sheriff’s Department, reads in part, “If you find a young person crying on the road showing you their address and is asking you to take them to that address…. take that child to the POLICE STATION!! No matter what you do, DON’T go to that address. This is a new way for gang members (MS13) to rape women.” It goes on to urge readers to forward the message to others and to claim it has been “published by CNN & FOX NEWS.”

Florida’s Miami-Dade County has not, according to the Miami Herald, had an elected sheriff since the 1960s, though its voters are expected to elect one by 2024. The Miami-Dade Police Department currently provides “basic police services throughout the unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, Miami Lakes, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay,” according to the county’s website.

Check Your Fact didn’t find any record of CNN, Fox News or any other major news outlet reporting on the Miami-Dade Police Department issuing the warning in question. Rather, the department on Wednesday put out statements on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter calling the supposed document a hoax.

“#RumorControl – We have been made aware that the below hoax is once again making the rounds on social media,” the department tweeted. “This is NOT an official communication from #MDPD or @MiamiDadeCounty. We have no intelligence that would support its contents.”

The Miami-Dade Police Department has previously debunked the claim that it published the warning, such as in 2011 and 2019. In 2011, the department said in a Facebook note that it had “not issued such a release nor have we received any reports to substantiate these claims” but urged residents to “use caution should they come across a questionable incident that involves the aforementioned scenario.”

“When in doubt, do not stop to render aid, call 9-1-1 and provide the information to the police,” the police department advised in the 2011 Facebook statement. (RELATED: Did Obama Order A Drone Strike On A Wedding That Killed 10 Women And 23 Children?)

Similar hoaxes have also circulated via email and text message over the years.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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