Louisiana gang leader admits shooting at bondsmen

April 11, 2009
The Town Talk

NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) — A man who already had admitted leading a gang that brought methamphetamine and stolen cars from California to Acadiana has pleaded guilty to shooting two bondsmen who went to his mobile home in 2007 to get him to turn himself in.

Arthur Basaldua, 29, whom prosecutors described as linked to the Cuatro Flats gang of east Los Angeles, faces a minimum 20-year sentence in the federal case.
He and eight men indicted with him last year are scheduled for sentencing Wednesday in federal court.

Basaldua pleaded guilty Monday in New Iberia to attempted murder of Valerie King of Breaux Bridge and Eddie Mackenzie of Youngsville, and to state drug charges from 2004. Sentencing on those charges is scheduled June 3.

Basaldua was the first of five to plead guilty; the others were convicted Jan. 29.

The grand jury charged Basaldua with 20 of 21 alleged crimes, including conspiracy, carjacking, possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute it, and mailing a threat. He admitted one count of continuing criminal enterprise, which carries a minimum 20-year sentence.

Court papers gave one past address for Basaldua in Los Angeles and said he appeared to have lived for a while in Oakland. Investigators have said they do not know why he moved to Acadiana.

He was living in Loreauville when King and Mackenzie tried to convince him to turn himself in.

According to a sworn statement in the state court record, Basaldua talked to them for about an hour, then pulled a handgun out of a desk drawer. Mackenzie told sheriff’s deputies he tried to wrest the gun from Basaldua’s grip when it began going off.

Police said Mackenzie was shot in the abdomen and King in the thigh, and a bullet narrowly missed King’s forehead.

The four convicted Jan. 29 are Misay Chandakham, Christopher Aucoin, Duc Huu Pham and Bounthong Xaphilom. The four who pleaded guilty after Basaldua are Eng Champkungsing, Travis Joseph, Phanut Phonchinda and Israel Perez.

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