Skip to comments.Twenty-Four Defendant Indictment Names Members and Leaders of Notorious MS-13 Gang...
Posted on 06/24/2009 6:25:07 PM PDT by Cindy
Note: The following SNIPPET is a quote:
Twenty-Four Defendant Indictment Names Members and Leaders of Notorious MS-13 Gang, Alleging Federal Racketeering Violations, Including Multiple Murders
In the first indictment in Los Angeles to allege racketeering charges against the MS-13 Gang, several members, leaders and associates were arrested early this morning after the return of a federal indictment which charges two dozen defendants, including the executive director of a non-profit gang intervention organization with violations ranging from murder and conspiracy to commit murder and extortion to narcotics trafficking, announced Thomas O'Brien, United States Attorney in Los Angeles, Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director of the FBI in Los Angeles, and Chief William Bratton of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The sixteen-count federal indictment, unsealed today, charges 24 members and associates of MS-13 with participating in a racketeering conspiracy that involved a variety of crimes including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, robbery, narcotics trafficking, and witness intimidation, over a period of fifteen years. The indictment alleges the defendants who engaged in the racketeering enterprise, were responsible for seven murders and eight conspiracies to commit murder since 1995.
Five of the defendants charged allegedly conspired to murder a veteran detective with the Los Angeles Police Department's Gang unit. According to the indictment, defendants Carlos Cuentas, Pedro Lopez, Kelvin Melgar, Francisco Morales and Eric Salazar engaged in discussions to kill the detective and even discussed the weapon that would be used to carry out the murder.
The indictment charges Alex Sanchez, the Executive Director of "Homies Unidos," a non-profit organization which purports to use the public and private charitable contributions it receives for gang intervention efforts. Sanchez is charged with racketeering offenses, including conspiracy to murder, during the time he was associated with Homies Unidos.
Today, in Los Angeles, where the MS-13 gang was formed, we are holding its leaders accountable for the violence and intimidation they have used to bring terror to the citizens living and working within the gangs territory, said Thomas P. OBrien, the United States Attorney in Los Angeles. We will continue to work with all of our law enforcement partners, both local and federal, to ensure that this gangs leaders are held accountable for their criminal conduct.
The indictment announced today is a result of a three-year investigation by the FBI and the LAPD which focused on the leadership of multiple cliques of the MS-13 gang, spanning from 1995 to the present. MS-13 members and associates allegedly used violence and intimidation to control narcotics sales and distribution within its claimed territory, and to collect extortion payments or "rent" from gang members and non-gang members who conducted business in its territory, to include legitimate business.
"As demonstrated by the indictment, local members of the MS-13 gang operated with of level of lethality alarming even by violent street gang standards," said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. "The FBI will continue to work with its partners to pursue these most violent of criminals to ensure they are removed from our cities' streets."
Los Angeles is the birthplace for MS-13, or "Mara Salvatrucha-13," and was formed by immigrants who fled the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s. The number "13" relates to the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, or "M," a known to reference "La Eme," or the Mexican Mafia, a California-based prison gang that exercises control over MS-13 members and other street gangs whose members pay taxes in exchange for protection. MS-13 operates in areas of Los Angeles including, but not limited to Rampart, Wilshire, Olympic, and Hollywood. The gang is estimated to have several thousand members in multiple U.S. cities, as well as throughout Central America and Mexico, and is known for its brutality.
Chief William Bratton of the LAPD said, Since the early 1980s when they were a fledgling gang, to this very day, MS-13 has been a blight on every street where they exist. Whether house to house, street to street, or city to city, MS-13 has spread like a cancer. These indictments, arrests and warrants represent one success in an ongoing effort to rid the community of an element that lacks a single redeeming quality."
Several arrest warrants were served this morning by agents with the FBI and officers with the Los Angeles Police Department. Sixteen of those indicted were already in custody. One defendant was recently killed in southern California.
Those charged in the indictment include:
Jose Alfaro, 31, currently in federal custody Edwin Arias, 36, currently in state custody Hugo Bolanos, 34, of Las Vegas, arrested today by FBI Agents in Las Vegas Juan Cendejas, 34, in federal custody Carlos Cuentas, 34, in federal custody Yanira Escalante, 33, of Los Angeles, CA, arrested today Juan Fuentes, 30, in federal custody Brian Giron, 20, in state custody Jose Gonzalez, 30, in federal custody Paul Cortez Jovel, 35, in federal custody Luis Lazo, 33, currently in custody in El Salvador Oscar Linares, 34, in federal custody Pedro Lopez, 27, in state custody Juan Mancilla, 40, in federal custody Josue Martinez, 33, arrested today at LAX Kelvin Melgar, 29, in federal custody Fernando Morales, 25, in federal custody Edwin Navas, 33, currently being sought Ruben Pineda, 36, of Los Angeles, CA, currently being sought David Rivera, 30, in federal custody Eric Salazar, deceased, killed recently in southern California Alex Sanchez, 37, Bellflower, CA, arrested today Guillermo Vasquez-Landaver, 40, in federal custody Marvin Vasquez, 28, of Hollywood, CA, currently being sought If convicted of the federal racketeering charges, defendants named in the racketeering indictment face a maximum statutory penalty ranging from 25 years to life in prison.
In addition to the twenty-four defendants listed in the indictment, at least fifteen individuals were arrested by LAPD, assisted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Los Angeles County Department of Probation, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, for charges unrelated to the federal indictment. Three children were also taken into protective custody by the Department of Child and Family Services.
Ronald Palacios, 25, of Van Nuys, was also arrested today on outstanding warrant unrelated to federal RICO indictment. Palacios was indicted on drug charges during a previous investigation. Defendants arrested today will be afforded an initial appearance before a United States Magistrate in United States District Court in Los Angeles this afternoon.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
This investigation is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department, with substantial assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Department of Justice - Criminal Divisions Gang Unit. Assistance during todays operation was provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Los Angeles County Department of Probation, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Child and Family Services. Defendants listed in the indictment will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.
I’ll forward the legal services business card for Rackem Whackem & Stackem to the 24. I have a rich uncle that I am sure will gladly bail them out.
Because, if so, wouldn't the terrorists in Gitmo have the same recourse once their dog-smelling bodies are on US soil?
Put these btards away!
Not that it’s bad; but why the crackdown on the gangs all of the sudden?
SET THEM FREE. Take them 50 miles off the coast and tell them their free to go. If they can swim back to shore they get a pardon.
That’s a good question.
There’s always been periodic round-ups, the main-stream media, generally speaking, doesn’t make too much of it.
The drug wars and the gang activity has become an obvious problem both inside and outside of our borders. That’s just one reason we see more gang round-ups.
Highlighting Recent FBI Gang Investigations
FBI.GOV - Press Release ^ | June 4, 2009 | n/a
Posted on June 4, 2009 6:55:11 PM PDT by Cindy
Note: The following text is a quote:
“Highlighting Recent FBI Gang Investigations”
SNIPPET: “The U.S. is seeing a rise in gang membership across the country and as membership spreads from urban to suburban areas, so does the associated criminal activity. Gangs are involved not only in auto theft, assault, home invasions, armed robbery, and extortion, but also in fraud, identity theft, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, alien smuggling, and murder.
As our communities are exposed to higher levels of crime and violence, the FBI, along with local, state, and federal partners, are responding with an even greater measure of significant law enforcement action, according to Assistant Director Kenneth W. Kaiser, FBI Criminal Investigative Division. The goal is to take these violent offenders off the streets and make our neighborhoods safer.
A selection of recent press releases from 2009 listed below reflects how law enforcement is disrupting and dismantling these violent gangs:”
“Round ups” — a better term would be investigations, arrests, warrants served, etc.
It's gonna take more than that. These terrorists thrive in prison. Their acts on our soil just gives them more street cred.