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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Two teens delayed entering pleas in Marin County Superior Court May 20. The case involves the murder last week of an alleged rival gang member.

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Carlos Eduardo Gutierrez, 18, and Bryan Sandoval Rocha, 17, both of San Rafael, are charged with killing 21-year-old Jeffrie Lee Olmstead of Corte Madera after a car chase in San Rafael on May 11. Rocha is being tried as an adult.

Both teens are also charged with participation in a street gang and assault, Deputy District Attorney Yvette Martinez-Shaw said.

Gutierrez also is charged with felony vandalism of a Ford Explorer, the car Olmstead got out of before he was fatally stabbed on Woods Street in San Rafael, and Rocha is charged with personal use of a weapon, Martinez-Shaw said.

The defendants are scheduled to return to court to enter pleas to the charges June 2.

Two juveniles, ages 16 and 17, who also were involved in the incident, are charged with participating in a street gang.

All four suspects are documented gang members, San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said.

The murder

Police said rival gang members armed with bats and sticks were seen running in the 600 block of B Street around 5 p.m. May 11.

They left the area in a white Pontiac Grand Am and a red Ford Explorer and the Ford chased the Pontiac west on Ross Street until the Pontiac turned onto Woods Street, a dead end, Rohrbacher said.

The occupants of the vehicles then began fighting in the street, Rohrbacher said.

Three occupants in the Ford, including Olmstead, were stabbed, Rohrbacher said. Olmstead told his friends to leave him and he went to a nearby house for help, Rohrbacher said. The residents called 911 and gave Olmstead first aid, but he collapsed in the front yard as the combatants left in their vehicles, Rohrbacher said.

Olmstead was taken to Marin General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Two occupants of the Ford who suffered minor injuries were dropped off in the emergency room of the hospital. They were treated and released, Rohrbacher said.

An ongoing problem

Meanwhile, the Marin County civil grand jury released a report examining gang activity in the county on May 23. The document’s release was not pegged to the recent homicide, foreperson Fred Cushing said.

“The body of this largely informational report is intended to shed light on the various facets of a very complex topic by providing the reader the same information this Grand Jury was privileged to examine,” it states, without drawing any definite conclusions as to whether gang violence is escalating countywide.

A grand jury report released in 2008 concluded, “Marin’s gangs are less violent and their numbers are growing more slowly than in other Bay Area communities.” However, interviewees who interact regularly with gangs almost unanimously said that gang violence has escalated following the 2008 report, the document says.

Nortenos and Surenos are the largest gangs in the county, it reports. Generally, gangs are run by “kingpins” who are often operating out of prisons. San Quentin’s highest gang members are merely “middle management,” according to prison staff, while the highest gang officials can be found in maximum-security prisons like Corcoran and Pelican Bay.

Motivation for joining a gang varies, the document says. Some gang members are the offspring of two or three generations of members. Others had been placed in foster or group homes that were, they said, “physically abusive” or poorly managed, and turned to gangs for support. Clique affiliation with gangs in Juvenile Hall offered safe passage, some told the grand jury, while rejection would mean isolation or abuse.

The report is based on information gathered from firsthand experience (from ride-alongs and sweeps) as well as from law enforcement, government officials and documented gang members. It is subtitled “A Tale of Two Counties” because gangs members feel they exist in a separate sphere from the rest of Marin.

“They took delight in the fact that they see us, but we tend not to see them,” the document reads. “They were amused to call our attention to the fact that citizens of Marin who eat in restaurants, have their landscapes groomed, cars washed or repaired, or take local buses, have most assuredly rubbed shoulders with bona fide gang members.”

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Adrian Rodriguez, 21, of Santa Ana was detained Wednesday night during a traffic stop near McFadden Avenue and Raitt Street,

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Adrian Rodriguez, 21, of Santa Ana was detained Wednesday night during a traffic stop near McFadden Avenue and Raitt Street, police said. He was booked on one count of murder and gang enhancements at the Santa Ana City Jail, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

Adrian Rodriguez, 21, of Santa Ana, is accused of being involved in the fatal altercation that happened Sunday night outside Taqueria Zamora in the 3100 block of South Main Street, police said.

Rodriguez is accused of being involved in the fatal altercation Sunday night outside Taqueria Zamora in the 3100 block of South Main Street, police said.
The shooting occurred after two groups of rival gang members got into an argument inside the restaurant, according to police. The argument continued in the parking lot, where members of both groups pulled out handguns and shots were fired, Bertagna said.
Detectives have not revealed what role Rodriguez played in the confrontation.
Officers responding to reports of gunfire found 32-year-old Sergio Maldonado suffering from life-threatening wounds. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
During the investigation, gang detectives determined a second man was injured during the shooting and tried to flee to Mexico to seek medical treatment, Bertagna said.
On Monday night, police got a call from a hospital in San Diego. Staff told police that Arnie Zavala, 20, of Santa Ana showed up at the hospital suffering from a gunshot wound and died, Bertagna said. Zavala and Rodriguez were associated with the same group, he said.
Maldonado and Zavala were from different gangs, Bertagna said, adding that detectives are piecing together what led to the shooting.
According to court records, Rodriguez pleaded guilty in 2008 to being a gang member carrying a loaded firearm and being in a criminal street gang and resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer or emergency medical technician. He was sentenced to two years in state prison, records show.
Detectives are looking for at least one additional person.
The gang homicide reward program is offering up to a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.
Four people have died this year during gang-related violence, according to officials.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

massacre in northern Guatemala, which has left at least 27 people dead, is another reminder of the growing influence exerted by powerful Mexican drug gang, the Zetas, in Central America.

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massacre in northern Guatemala, which has left at least 27 people dead, is another reminder of the growing influence exerted by powerful Mexican drug gang, the Zetas, in Central America.
The Zetas may have first entered Guatemala at the invitation of two drug bosses, Otoniel Turcios and Hearst Walter Overdick. But instead of partnering with local Guatemalan smugglers, the Mexicans became intent on displacing them.
The Zetas cemented their presence in Guatemala in 2008, when they ambushed and killed local crimelord Juan Jose Leon. Dislodging the Leon clan gave the Zetas power over key trafficking routes in the northern departments of Zacapa, Alta Verapaz, and Peten. It was in the latter that the recent massacre took place. In Peten, the government has now declared a "state of siege" similar to the security surge that failed to drive Zetas from Alta Verapaz at the end of last year.
As proved by the Peten killings, the Zetas' presence in Guatemala has drawn attention because of their willingness to use brutality. In contrast to the other Mexican cartel with sizeable presence in Central America, that of Sinaloa, the Zetas have frequently used extreme violence to establish control over a territory. While the Sinaloans have attempted to maintain their operations in Guatemala's western Huehuetenango department by buying the silence of authorities and negotiating deals with local traffickers, the Zetas have proven themselves more disposed to fight and kill their rivals.
In other Northern Triangle countries, the Zetas have been more accomodating to local gangs, although no less ambitious in expanding their operations. As recently noted by El Salvador President Mauricio Funes, the Zetas have made contact with gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 (18), which echoes statements made by the president and the defense minister in 2010.
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In El Salvador, the Zetas use gangs as drug peddlers and hired assasins, not for the purpose of trafficking cocaine via international routes. However, there is evidence that MS-13 is interested in deepening their relationship with the Zetas, with some cells reportedly soliciting training in combat from the Mexicans.
Like Guatemala, where the Zetas have recruited from the army's special forces unit, the Kaibiles, the Mexican group has also reportedly attempted to recruit members of the security forces in El Salvador, according to officials. In July 2010, a former Salvadorean police officer was killed in a shootout with the Mexican army in Nuevo Leon, one of nine police agents who may have found work with the Zetas in Mexico, reports El Salvadorean paper El Diario de Hoy.

In Honduras, the Zetas are based in the departments of Olancho and Cortes, managing air and sea routes for the trafficking of cocaine. Here, there is also evidence of the Zetas using local gangs as hired guns: in February 2010, Honduran intelligence officials said they intercepted a note in which Barrio 18 discussed receiving payment from the Zetas, in exchange for killing the security minister. The Mexican gang has also been able to establish control over human smuggling and arms trafficking routes in the country, according to one report.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Police found nine bodies over the weekend next to the bull ring in Durango city,

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Police found nine bodies over the weekend next to the bull ring in Durango city, the capital of the like-named northern Mexican state, the Public Safety Secretariat said in a posting on Twitter.

The bodies of the nine men were found Sunday morning in a street by the bull ring in the city’s San Ignacio district, the secretariat said.

Investigators are trying to determine who killed the men, the secretariat said, without providing details about the cause of death.

The men were killed by an organized crime group, Mexican media reported.

A total of 218 bodies have been found in mass graves in Durango city since early April.

Investigators suspect that the killings may have been carried out by the Sinaloa, Los Zetas and Beltran Leyva drug cartels, Mexican media reported.

The mass graves in Durango have now yielded more bodies than those in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, where 183 bodies were found in the city of San Fernando.

The majority of the bodies discovered in Durango city were in the Las Fuentes neighborhood.

The Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug trafficking organization, has been trying to gain control of Durango, the press reported.

Durango, one of the states most affected by drug-related violence, is reported to be the hiding place of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.

Nearly 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Along the Central Coast in California the FBI arrested thirteen suspected members of the Deuce Brims Bloods and the Northwest street gang on various drug, weapons and other charges

Posted On 10:35 0 comments

GANGWAR NEWS: Along the Central Coast in California the FBI arrested thirteen suspected members of the Deuce Brims Bloods and the Northwest street gang on various drug, weapons and other charges:  "The FBI says the Northwest street gang is known as the largest Hispanic street gang on the Central Coast and has ties to the Mexican Mafia."
*** The Mexican Mafia rules the roost in California prisons according to Kings County Gang Task Force Supervisor Andrew Meyer: 

"I knew these guys had a certain amount of power, but not how much," Meyer said. "It's pure evil all around. To a magnitude I never suspected. The violence in our institutions is out of control. And it all spills out onto the streets."

***  The Mexican Mafia imposes a street tax on all drug sales by Southern California gangs according to Orange County Gang Unit Supervisor John Anderson:

"The Mexican Mafia is able to control the streets by controlling the custodial facilities where many gang members end up. The fear of in-custody retaliation is enough to gain compliance by the street gangs."

***  In San Francisco, CA three reputed MS-13 members indicted for their alleged roles in murder of restaurant employee on his way home from work:  "Investigators believe the barbecue restaurant worker had been involved in an altercation on a Muni bus and was not a gang member."

***  MS-13 is kidnapping or "hijacking" illegal immigrants for ransom across Texas:  "Intelligence indicates that they are continually participating in 'coyote rips' in which they commandeer control of a group of human smuggling victims."

***  In Lakewood, NJ a Bloods member sentenced to 62 years for ordering murder of associate whom he believed had snitched:  "Dyshon Ragland, who laughed at the victim's family during Friday's proceedings, must serve more than 52 years before becoming eligible for parole."

***  In Buffalo, NY the feds busted thirty-five suspected members from the rival Tenth Street and Seventh Street gangs:  "crimes alleged include four murders, 10 attempted murders, numerous assaults and scores of drug deals."

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Jackson, of the 5100 block of South Union Avenue, was one of several Black P Stone gang members who had fought with rival Gangster Disciples earlier in the day and then returned to even the score, police said.

Posted On 11:25 0 comments

Lesean Jackson, 21, was convicted in a bench trial last month of first-degree murder in the October 2007 slaying of Arthur Jones in the 800 block of West Garfield Boulevard.

Jackson, of the 5100 block of South Union Avenue, was one of several Black P Stone gang members who had fought with rival Gangster Disciples earlier in the day and then returned to even the score, police said.

Arthur, who went by the nickname "AJ," was heading to a store nearby with his best friend after school to buy candy and soda when he heard shots ring out and tried to run, according to witnesses. He was shot in the neck and died later at a hospital.

Arthur's mother, Rita Perez, said in court the pain of her son's death is "deep inside my guts."

"He was the most caring, loving and the funniest person anyone would like to know," she said. "Not having him in my life is so sad. Missing his smile and his touch is unbearable."

Perez said she blamed gang violence for taking her son, despite her efforts to keep him safe.

"I tried so hard to be the best mother I could be — I know that his death has nothing to do with me," she said. "It all has to do with your evil and selfishness."

Steven McCaskill, 20, who handed Jackson the gun, pleaded guilty to murder in October 2010 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, records show. A third defendant is awaiting a bench-trial verdict.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

"Our goal is simply this, dismantle gangs from the top to the bottom", says U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., "from the street soldiers to the shot callers and to put their drug-dealing associates out of business as well."

Posted On 09:05 0 comments

13 people were arrested during the early morning operation... nine of them on federal charges including drug trafficking.. specifically the distribution of methamphetamine.

Most of the federal defendants are from Santa Maria and range in age from 23 to 51:

Freddie Sutton, 51, Oceano

Mike Shepherd, 50, Santa Maria

Christopher DeLong, 50, Arroyo Grande

Keshon Cole, 34, Santa Maria

Randy Fuston, 29, Santa Maria

Melvin Braddock, 40, Santa Maria

Eduardo Sanchez, 27, Santa Maria

Jesus Buenrostro, 23, Santa Maria

Sergio Godinez, 30, Santa Maria

Four other men face state charges including distributing an assault weapon with a gang enhancement.

The four men facing state charges are:

Petri Duval Gordon, Lompoc, Troy Hemony Grant, Lompoc, Alberto Diaz Jr., Guadalupe Ralph Epiphano Castillo, Guadalupe.

"The biggest message here is to the criminal element out there that continues to prey on our innocent people here, we're tired of it", says Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni.

The operation is the culmination of a year long investigation into drug trafficking networks by members and associates of a Lompoc-based subset of the Six Deuce Brims Bloods gang and the Northwest street gang in Santa Maria, described by law enforcement as the largest Hispanic gang on the Central Coast that is affiliated with the Mexican Mafia prison gang.

"We're seeing the local gangs involved in a lot of our street robberies, a lot of stabbings, shootings", adds Chief Macagni, "bad guys are going to go jail, its going to be a safe place to live, the streets are going to be, we're going to take control of them, we are not going to tolerate the criminal element keeping people in fear."

The nine federal defendants will be arraigned in federal court in Los Angeles, the four others facing state charges will appear in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

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