Task force gang sweep nets 6 arrests; others flee

Los Angeles Daily News

Task force gang sweep nets 6 arrests; others flee

By Jason Kandel
Staff Writer

Friday, July 01, 2005 – NORTH HOLLYWOOD – In an attempt to reduce gang tensions at local middle and high schools, authorities on Thursday executed an early morning probation sweep and arrested six people — some of whom are connected to local tagging crews and street gangs.
More than 50 officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Unified School District Police and county Probation Department hit the streets at 6 a.m. and served search warrants at 37 locations.
The task force was set up after police began seeing a rise in gang tensions around Madison Middle School and Grant, North Hollywood and John Francis Polytechnic high schools. Much of the problem is blamed on younger gang members – in graffiti gangs or tagging crews – who are eager to boost their reputations. “We’re having a big problem with a lot of our tagging crews warring with each other, and they’re escalating it to shooting each other now,” said LAPD Officer Dan Fournier of the North Hollywood Division. “They’re wanting to step up and be gang members.”

Those arrested Thursday were: Candelario Palomarez, 22, a suspected member of a tagging crew who was booked on suspicion of receiving stolen property; Marcos Torres, 28, who was booked on suspicion of car theft; and Guadalupe Cruz, 21, who was booked on a felony criminal threats warrant.
Three other suspects ranged from 16 to 17 years old; their names were withheld because of their ages. Two of them were believed to be members of the Vineland Boys and were arrested for violating their probation.

Police had targeted up to eight members of the Vineland Boys gang during Thursday’s raid, but weren’t able to locate all of them. Last week authorities targeted 43 members of the gang during an early-morning sweep, capturing dozens of suspects under a federal indictment alleging more than a decade of assaults, robberies, drug deals and murders – including the slayings of two police officers.

By Thursday, though, remaining Vineland Boys were lying low, police said.
“It looks like they’ve all taken off,” said Fournier, who said that at least one member of the Vineland Boys told police that a fellow member disappeared a day after the June 21 raid, dubbed Operation Silent Night. “That’s why we were targeting a substantial amount of Vineland Boys, and they’re all in the wind right now.”

Despite that, police said the raids helped send a message.
“We’re letting people that are on probation know that they’re still going to be watched pretty carefully,” said Lt. Keith Moore of the LAUSD Police Department.

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