*** The city of Los Angeles has sued "nine imprisoned members of the 18th Street Gang, including two leaders of the Mexican Mafia, and demands civil damages on behalf of residents of two city neighborhoods":
If successful, the suit would distribute proceeds from seized homes, businesses and other assets to neighborhood residents who cannot file suit themselves because they fear retaliation, prosecutors say. "Today, we're sending a message to gang leaders across this city: If you break the law, we will not only find you, arrest you and put you behind bars, we will also take away your money, your property, your homes and your cars," City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said. "Every penny we strip away will be returned to the neighborhoods."
Prison allegedly has not prevented the gang members from profiting from their enterprises:
Delgadillo said the action is necessary because the gang leaders, even though they are in prison, collect profits from illegal "street taxes" imposed on residents of the Pico-Union and Westlake areas, where drug dealers, store owners and even ice cream vendors must pay protection.
Among those named as defendants in the civil suit are Mexican Mafia leaders Ruben "Nite Owl" Castro and Frank "Puppet" Martinez:
Castro, 46, is a leader, or carnal, of the Mexican Mafia, also known as the "La Eme" prison gang. Authorities say Castro controls two cliques of the 18th Street gang -- the Shatto Park Locos and the Hoover Locos. Castro is alleged to have run those gang cliques from a federal maximum-security prison in Colorado, where he is serving multiple life terms and was recently sentenced to an additional 27 years and three months for racketeering. Prosecutors say that from behind bars, Martinez, another La Eme carnal, allegedly made as much as $40,000 a month from criminal activity.
*** In suburban Chicago seven members of the Insane Deuces -- "an organization that lived to kill, maim and sell drugs" -- were convicted on federal racketeering charges:
It is unusual for federal prosecutors to bring charges in local murders. But the keys to these cases were tape-recorded conversations. While working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, an Aurora man wore a wire to gang meetings and gang funerals, secretly taping plots to kill rivals and better organize young members. The racketeering convictions tie the men to three murders, five attempted murders and up to $1.25 million in drug trafficking. Most of the allegations focus on a bloody 10-month period in Aurora, between February and November 2002.
Last April additional members of the Insane Deuces were convicted for their participation in the enterprise.
Inside, police recovered several hundred rounds of ammunition, a fully automatic pistol, a sawed off shotgun, a revolver and another shotgun. "The weapons that were recovered here were significant. Sometimes these organizations, the guns are in this house, and the drugs are in this house. So you may have a big drug seizure with no weapons and then you'll find the weapons house. This was a weapons house," said Maj. Terry McLarney, commander city Homicide Unit. Baltimore Police task forces do these kinds of raids every morning.
*** In Howard County, TX three alleged members of the Texas Born Hustlers have been indicted on oranized crime charges involving drug trafficking.
Scott Best, resident agent in charge for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations, said the probe began after an arrest by Columbus police in 2004. A 2005 operation netted nine "international" gang members, meaning they'd traveled to and from the country, he said. "This is part of a nationwide crackdown, Operation Community Shield," Best said. "Columbus is one of the key areas."
*** After a two-year investigation in Oklahoma City the FBI arrested 19 alleged members of Shotgun Crips, and is looking for another ten:
Gary Johnson, FBI special agent, said the goal of the Oklahoma City Metro Gang Task Force is to target the most violent and active gangs and try to remove as many of the most dangerous members as possible. "The Shotgun Crips was identified as one of the most violent gangs in the area,” Johnson said.
*** Police have arrested 14 alleged members of Conservative Vice Lords in connection with a drug trafficking operation on Chicago's West Side: "Officials recovered 3,000 grams of crack cocaine, 850 grams of heroine, more than $43,000 cash, three vehicles, two handguns and two shotguns."
*** New Jersey's anti-gang Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods has netted "more than 1,800 arrests and more than $4 million in drug seizures since its launch this summer":
The statewide initiative, directed by Jose Cordero, the statewide director of gangs, guns and violent crime control strategies, led to the arrest of 29 suspects in connection with 17 murders. Another seven suspects were arrested in connection with three attempted murders. About one-third of those arrested had violent criminal backgrounds and 530 were suspected street gang members, belonging to various sets of the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings and other gangs.
The state also plans "to create 'Gangstat,' a police intelligence model which will allow prosecutors and law enforcement officials throughout the state to share gang-related information."
*** Four high school kids in Kansas have been arrested on a new felony law prohibiting the recruitment of criminal street gang members.
*** A high school student who was a member of a Crips gang in Fayette County, GA was sentenced to four years in jail for his gang-related crimes, and admitted that he recruited a middle school student.