Sweep targets Pico Rivera gang

By Ruby Gonzales (Whittier Daily News)
April 7, 2010

PICO RIVERA – Deputies arrested a parolee, a 17-year-old boy and seized a handgun, a shotgun and methamphetamine during an early morning sweep targeting a local gang.

They served a search warrant at one home then went to four other residences to check if members of Rivera 13 were complying with the conditions of their parole and probation.

Deputies said the gang’s activities increased recently. One member, Rudy Ruiz of Whittier, was tied last year to the June 27 shooting outside Falcone’s Pizza that left three men dead and seven people wounded.

Ruiz and Canta Ranas gang member John Perez of Pico Rivera have been charged with the killings. Detectives haven’t revealed the motive for the fatal shootings, which happened during a fundraiser by a local motorcycle group. Detectives said the men killed and the motorcycle group don’t have gang ties.

Since those murders, the gang has been involved in several killings, shootings and drug trafficking, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Bailey of Operation Safe Streets, the department’s gang unit.

He attributed the gang’s hike in criminal activity to clashes with other Pico Rivera gangs.

“It’s just been rival gangs. That’s all we’ve been able to establish at this point,” he said.

But he said the parolees and probationers they checked Wednesday weren’t wanted suspects.

One team arrested a 17-year-old on suspicion of violating his probation and for possession of drug paraphernalia after meth pipes were found in his house.

At a second location, another team arrested parolee Gregory Martinez, 34, on charges that include possession of a loaded firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm. They also recovered a .22-caliber revolver at the house and some meth, Bailey said.

A rifle was recovered at a third location along with ammunition.

Martinez was being held without bail at the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station. He has a Friday court appearance at Whittier Superior Court. The teen was taken to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey.

Detective Hank Ortega said Martinez got out of Pelican Bay State Prison a couple of months ago.

Not all of the parolees were home. The team that headed to Canford Street was told by the parolee’s relatives that the man was at his girlfriend’s home in Moreno Valley.

The teams were comprised of gang deputies, two agents from the county Probation Department’s Intensive Gang Supervision Unit, agents from the Special Service Unit of the Office of Correctional Safety and representatives from the Department of Children and Family Services.

Special Agent John Castanedo said the special service unit investigates prison gangs and street gangs.

“A lot of us work multi-agency task forces,” Castanedo said.

The Office of Correctional Safety is part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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