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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    HSI probe leads to indictment of 18th Street gang members linked to drug and weapons

    I.C.E.News Release

    July 24, 2013
    Los Angeles, CA

    HSI probe leads to indictment of 18th Street gang members linked to drug and weapons trafficking

    LOS ANGELES — Ten suspected 18th Street gang members and associates have been indicted on drug and weapons charges in connection with a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) targeting the gang's involvement in methamphetamine and firearms trafficking in South Los Angeles.

    Six of the defendants were taken into custody Wednesday morning by HSI special agents. A seventh defendant was already incarcerated on unrelated state charges.

    Five of the defendants arrested Wednesday made their initial appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon. The sixth will make his initial appearance Thursday morning. Three of those indicted remain at large.

    The defendants are named in eight separate indictments, five of which were unsealed following Wednesday's arrests. Because the three defendants who remain at large are charged in indictments that remain sealed at this time, their names are not being released. Eight of the 10 defendants are charged with trafficking methamphetamine. The remaining two defendants are accused of weapons violations. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.

    Wednesday's enforcement actions are the culmination of an HSI probe that began in February 2009. Over the course of the investigation, HSI special agents used undercover purchases of narcotics and firearms to develop evidence about the alleged trafficking activity. To date, the case has led to the seizure of 10 weapons, including a gold-plated AK-47 assault rifle.

    "Street gangs, like any criminal organization, need a means to generate income and for these 18th Street cliques, selling drugs and guns provided vital illicit proceeds," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. "With these arrests and indictments, we've dealt a significant blow to several of the most well-established gang cliques in South Los Angeles and our efforts to disrupt their criminal activities are continuing."

    Investigators say the defendants identified in the drug and weapons trafficking probe were older gang members who held leadership positions in the organization. Investigators say that, as "shot callers," the defendants played a key role in overseeing the gang's methamphetamine trafficking activities in South Los Angeles. The defendants named in the indictments unsealed Wednesday are:

    • Wesley Aaron Arredondo, 27, of Paramount, charged with distribution of methamphetamine; arrested Wednesday;
    • Martin Avila, aka "Chino," 43, of Compton, charged with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine; arrested Wednesday;
    • Edward Diaz, aka "Bouncer," 31, of Los Angeles, charged with distribution of methamphetamine; arrested Wednesday;
    • Sharon Paiz, aka "Hyper," 32, of Saugus; charged with distribution of methamphetamine; arrested Wednesday;
    • Ricardo Perez, aka "Vago," 31, of Los Angeles; charged with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine; self-surrendered Wednesday and will make his initial appearance Thursday;
    • Joaquin Saucedo, aka "Sniper," 39, of Hesperia, charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm; and possession of an unregistered firearm, namely a sawed-off shotgun; arrested Wednesday; and
    • Aaron Ramos, aka "Droopy," 28, of Los Angeles, charged with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine. Ramos is currently in custody on unrelated state charges.

    The Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Multi-Agency Response Team (MART), a division of the Los Angeles County Department Division of Children and Family Services, provided substantial assistance with Wednesday's enforcement actions. HSI advises the investigation into the gang's criminal activities is ongoing.

    This investigation was part of HSI's Operation Community Shield initiative. Operation Community Shield partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to identify violent street gangs and develop intelligence on gang members and associates, gang criminal activities and international movements to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members. HSI's National Gang Unit's goal is to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal activities.

    Since the inception of Operation Community Shield in February 2005, HSI special agents working in conjunction with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies nationwide have arrested more than 30,000 street gang members and associates linked to more than 2,300 different gangs. More than 390 of those arrested were gang leaders. Through this initiative nationally, HSI has seized more than 4,500 firearms.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

    ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423 or complete our tip form

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    18th Street gang

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    18th Street Gang Graffiti
    Founded 1960's[1][2][3]
    Years active 1960's – present[1][2]
    Territory Central America, the western and southern areas of the United States, Mexico
    Ethnicity Mexican
    Membership 90,000[4]
    Criminal activities Drug trafficking, assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping, pandering, money laundering, extortion, arms trafficking, human trafficking, theft, murder, racketeering, illegal immigration, illegal gambling, identity document forgery and fraud
    Allies Mexican Mafia, Los Zetas and Kkangpae
    Rivals MS-13, Bloods, Latin Kings, Norteños, Armenian Power [5]
    18th Street gang, also known as M18, Calle 18, Barrio 18, La18 or Mara-18 in Central America,[2][6][7][8] is a multi-ethnic transnational criminal organization that started as a street gang in the Rampart area of Los Angeles, California.[1] They are considered to be the largest transnational criminal gang in Los Angeles and it is estimated that there are tens of thousands of members in Los Angeles County alone. Their wide-ranging activities and elevated status has even caught the eye of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who recently initiated wide-scale raids against known and suspected gang members netting hundreds of arrests across the country. The FBI has documented close to 65,000 active gang members and they are active in 120 cities in 37 U.S. states.[1][9][10]

    18th Street gang started near 18th Street and Union Avenue in the Rampart District of Los Angeles.[1][2] There is conflicting information as to the exact area, but this is a generally accepted area by most academic sources. They were originally part of Clanton 14 but wanted to make a separate clique called Clanton 18th Street and allow immigrants the opportunity to join. This proposal was rejected by the Clanton 14, which led to the formation of the 18th Street gang. The two gangs have been bitter rivals ever since.[11] The 18th Street gang grew by expanding its membership to other nationalities and races, and it was among the first multiracial, multi-ethnic gangs in Los Angeles.[2] In the beginning, they were made up largely of second-generation Hispanic immigrants.[2] As the 18th Street gang began to battle with more established Hispanic gangs, they began to recruit outside of the Hispanic community.[1] There are approximately 200 separate individual autonomous gangs operating under the same name within separate barrios in the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay, Riverside California, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, Downtown Los Angeles, Mid-City, Pico Union, Inglewood, Cudahy, Lynwood, South Gate, Huntington Park, Maywood and Orange County, according to the latest figures from the NDIC. In the last decade,[when?] The Federal Bureau of Investigation has initiated wide-scale raids against known and suspected gang members, netting hundreds of arrests across the country.

    The majority of 18th Street cliques operating throughout Southern California are the result of Los Angeles members migrating to other areas and establishing their own cliques. 18th Street cliques have been identified in 120 cities in 37 states and the District of Columbia in the United States, as well as Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Canada and possibly Australia.[1]

    18th Street gang members are required to abide by a strict set of rules. Failure to obey the word of a gang leader, or to show proper respect to a fellow gang member, may result in an 18-second beating, or even execution for more serious offenses.[12] According to the FBI, some factions of the 18th Street gang have developed a high level of sophistication and organization. 18th Street gang members often identify themselves with the number 18 on their clothing and sporting clothing from sports teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers and Oakland Raiders. 18th Street will use the symbols XV3, XVIII, 666, 99,(9+9=1, and 3-dots in their graffiti and tattoos. 18th Street colors are blue and black; blue is to represent Surenos and used to pay tribute to The Mexican Mafia, and black is to represent the original color for the gang. The 18th Street gang is occasionally referred to as the "Children's Army" because of its recruitment of elementary and middle-school aged youth.[13] In El Salvador it is common for members of the gang to be tattooed on the face with a large "18". In many cases the tattoo covers the entire face.[14]
    Criminal activity[edit]

    18th Street gang signs.

    "We recognize them as one of the most violent street gangs and one of the most prolific in the United States," says Special agent George Rodriguez, who until his retirement oversaw investigations for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Cars are stolen and homes are burglarized by the gang routinely. On average, someone in Los Angeles County is assaulted or robbed by 18th Streeters every day. The gang has left a bloody trail of more than 250 homicides in the city of Los Angeles in the last 10 years – a pace three times that of many of the city’s most active gangs. 18th Street is a well established gang that is involved in all areas of street-crime. Some members have even become involved in producing fraudulent Immigration and Customs Enforcement identification cards and food stamps. Several 18th Street gang members have reached a higher level of sophistication and organization in their illicit activities than other gangs. While their main source of income is street-level distribution of cocaine and marijuana, they also have been linked to murders, murder-for-hire, assaults, arson, copyright infringement, drug trafficking, extortion, human trafficking, illegal immigration, kidnapping, vandalism, drug smuggling, people smuggling, prostitution, robbery, and weapons trafficking, as well as other crimes.[15] 18th Street Gang has also been implicated in the high-profile kidnapping and murder of the 16-year-old brother of internationally renowned Honduran football player Wilson Palacios.

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