Grand jury indicts 12 Palm Beach County gang members
By Brian Haas, Sun Sentinel
December 18, 2009
SOUTH FLORIDA- A grand jury indicted 12 members of a Lake Worth gang known as MLK or “Making Life Krazy,” authorities said Friday.
Detectives rounded up the last four suspects early Friday morning in a 7-month racketeering investigation dubbed “Operation Vida Loca.” The charges were meant to target leadership in a gang that focused heavily on home burglaries in the Lake Worth area, investigators said.
“This is a major blow and another attempt to win the war against gangs,” said Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe.
Arrested in the operation were: Jose “Puchie” Garcia, 19; Ricardo “Lost” Rodriguez, 24; Martin “Gaato” Martinez, 27; John “Whiteboy” Bridier, 22; Faustino “Tino” Casiano, 18; Daniel “Headbuster” Delvalle, 21; Andres “Munchy” Francisco, 20; Franky “Chubbs” Juan, 19; Rafael “Chappy” Martinez, 26; Francisco “Lazie” Ramirez, 20; Miguel “Piglet” Samaniego, 18, and Juan “Flaco” Francisco, 21.
The indictment lists dozens of crimes associated to the gang ranging from criminal mischief to attempted homicide. Authorities are also looking to see if any murders can be associated with the gang, said Lt. Michael Wallace, head of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Task Force.
“We actually do believe we have some information on homicides with them,” Wallace said.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said detectives and prosecutors targeted the gang’s, likening the group to a snake.
“We just cut the head off this gang,” Bradshaw said.
The 12 indicted face up to life in prison on the charges.
Brian Haas can be reached at bhaas@SunSentinel.com or 561-243-6633.