Friday, October 27, 2006

When we first posted on the killing of officer Matt Pavelka and the ensuing GREENLIGHT that the Boys put on all cops, we knew there was going to be some serious fallout. Yesterday we saw the final result of that fallout in Federal court. Law enforcement sidestepped State prosecution and instead dropped the biggest bomb in the Federal arsenal -- RICO statutes. It looks like they invited everybody to the pile-on party including the Internal Revenue Service. Ouch!

Yesterday, nine Vinelanders were convicted on racketeering charges and will eventually land in a Federal prison someplace far, far away. Oddly, David Garcia, the guy who is accused of pulling the trigger in the murder of Pavelka, will face State charges in a few months. We can only speculate that they want to save him for the State court for a one way bus trip to San Quentin.

The point of all this is clearly to send the strongest message possible that you can't shoot a cop and greenlight the juras and expect to be treated like a common killer. According to US Attorney Debra Yang, "This is the first time in Southern California that the RICO statute has been used to dismantle the leadership of an entire street gang." And it probably won't be the last. In SOCAL, Federal law enforcement has gotten better and becoming more educated in prosecuting street gangs. Witness the Avenues racial homicides they successfully prosecuted two months ago.

For history fans, the Vineland Boys were started as an offshoot of 18th Street by two homies, Teddy "Greeneyes" Lopez and his brother Hilario. The 18th Streeters saw that as set jumping and have been feuding with them ever since. Because they wouldn't follow the rules, Vineland was greenlighted by the Eme in the late 1980s but since then, they've tried to mend fences and become loyal Surenos. Apparently the turning point came in January 1998 when Teddy "Greeneyes" was killed in a nightclub called "Baby Doe's" in Monterey Park. The killers in that case shouted "Pacoima" when they cut loose. Somebody got the message and since then, Vineland has joined the fold.