Thursday, June 23, 2005

We haven't seen this level of LE activity in ten years. First we had the big SANA bust in the OC. Following quickly on the heels of that, we've now got a RICO case on the VINELAND BOYZ. US ATTORNEY DEBRA YANG has clearly been a busy lady and the TASK FORCE has been working at what the military calls a high operational tempo.

Just before dawn on June 21, 1300 Federal and local cops brought the big fist down on 36 Vineland soldados and shot callers in North Hollywood, Sun Valley, Simi and the Antelope Valley. Most of them were arrested in their underwear or PJs.

VINELAND last made a big noise in 2003 when one of their soldiers, DAVID GARCIA, killed BURBANK police officer MATT PAVELKA. Garcia escaped to Mexico where hundreds of other suspected murderers and criminals have found a safe haven and protection under Mexico's vile judicial system. Mexico won't surrender fugitives if they face a death sentence or even LWOP in US courts.

Garcia wasn't as lucky as the rest. For reasons I still don't understand, Mexico gave up Garcia. I posted something after his arrest wondering aloud if Garcia's return was the beginning of a new Mexican policy. Apparently not. It looks like Garcia's give-up was one of those non-recurring phenomenons. Since Garcia is also named in this recent RICO indictment, chances are he'll get yanked from County and taken into Federal custody.

It doesn't take much imagination to figure out why VINELAND was targeted by the TASK FORCE. After Officer Pavelka's murder, that neighborhood got an awful lot of LE "attention." Something Vineland resented. Instead of taking their lumps and laying low, the BOYZ went on the offensive and even declared open season on LE. Bad move. A loser move. Especially since TASK FORCE headquarters is right there in the SF Valley. Vineland is in the TF's back yard.

So here we are 18 months later and VINELAND is practically no more. When you murder cops and then openly challenge them, you're just begging for it. What would have been shorter County or State time for low level beefs is now longer Federal time someplace far, far away. The Feds have the manpower and money to sustain the long-term surveilance and investigation that local cops can only dream about. Local cops clock out at the end of their shifts. Not because they want to or they're lazy. It's just impossible to get enough bodies assigned and overtime pay approved. It's a mundane matter of city budgets. The Federal Task Force on the other hand never sleeps. It's also a lot easier for the FBI to get wiretap authority than local LE. Plus they've got better security and relocation programs for CIs. All of which adds up to bad news for anyone who gets in their crosshairs. VINELAND found that out the hard way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I don't want to beat the "clueless reporter" thing to death but I was just made aware of the OC Register's story on the SANA bust. The reader who sent it to me underlined the relevant sentences. The reporters, LARRY WELBORN and RACHANEE SRISAVASDI, are talking about SANA and his past.

"Once, the repeat criminal tried to turn away from crime. In 1992, Ojeda unsuccessfully tried to broker a gang truce among local street gangs to stop a spree of drive-by killings."

I have no idea how they came to this bizarre conclusion or who they talked to, but it's clearly bogus. It will probably stand uncorrected and eventually cited as gospel by someone down the road.

On another topic, I want to send out props to everyone that comments. I've noticed the haters have either decamped to other sites or changed their confrontational manner to one that's more respectful. I'm even more gratified to hear from people in the neighborhoods and those who have been through the county and state systems. You're helping make this site what I want it to be. Namely, a place to get the straight deal without the filters.

Monday, June 20, 2005

In a follow-up story to SANA's bust in OC, Sam Quinones makes a couple of startling but long overdue admissions in the LA Times. For the first time, the LAT finally cops to the fact that the famous EME gang "truce" way back in 1992 was a "ruse." Anyone familiar with the subject knows that it was never a truce. It was merely a change in the rules of engagement. The edict from Sana, Chuco and Boxer was not "no more killing." It was "no more drivebys." A big difference. If somebody needed to be checked, it was going to be up close and personal. They said as much on FBI surveilance tapes which have always been available to the public after they were used as evidence in the big RICO cases mentioned in my previous post. The Times never bothered to look.

For years after the 1992 "park meetings" the LAT has held the opinion that LE was making the violence worse by taking "peace keeping" shot callers off the streets. The Times would back up that contention by quoting the usual suspects like Malcolm Klein, Diego Vigil, Greg Boyle and more recently, Tom Hayden. Hayden, in fact, repeated the "peace keeper" myth in his book "Street Wars." And like an echo chamber, the myth was picked up from that book and repeated in other media. If the Times writers were at all familiar with the dynamics of the relationship between the Eme and the neighborhoods, they'd know that a shot caller doesn't need to be on the street to control activity. They can do it from the SHU or anywhere.

The Times has also never written about the other items on the park meeeting agenda: taxation and organizing SOCAL gangs under the Sureno flag. This piece by Quinones finally sets the record straight.

Correct me if I'm wrong on this one, but I think this article is the first major media acknowledgement that Boxer has debriefed. I follow this stuff as closely as I can, but I don't recall ever reading about Boxer debriefing prior to this piece.

Quinones went to some savvy guys for his piece: Rich Valdemar, Leo Duarte and Al Valdez. The collective knowledge of those three is encyclopedic and anyone who has worked with them or watched them testify as gang experts knows they go deep and way back. They all get props from both sides of the street for being fair and even-handed in their assessement of crimes and criminals.