Orange County District Attorney
Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney Susan Schroeder
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
July 14, 2006
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 323-4486 Cell
ORANGE COUNTY GANG MEMBERS ORDERED
TO FOLLOW COURT TERMS OR FACE PROSECUTION
*Judge signs Orange County’s first injunction order in a step
to put 134 gang members out of business
Santa Ana – An injunction was signed today against 134 members of a Santa Ana criminal street gang in an undertaking known as Operation Safe Neighborhood. Judge Daniel Didier signed an injunction against members of a Santa Ana gang for their criminal activity and the nuisance they cause in the community. This injunction is the first of its kind in Orange County to be successfully served and signed, and is intended to thwart the terrorism and intimidation caused by this gang.
An injunction is a civil order that restricts or prohibits someone from acts or activities. The terms are important because the specific acts need not be criminal, but can be intimidating or harassing. If a gang member violates these terms, he will be arrested and prosecuted. Prosecution can be in the form of misdemeanor disobeying of a court order or a felony if the violation was for the benefit of the gang. They will be placed on gang probation terms or be sent to state prison for up to three years.
The original injunction court documents named 155 defendants (154 individuals and the gang as a whole). Of those, 134 gang members and 21 parents of juveniles were served with injunctions on June 14, 2006. The gang injunctions were served by 225 officers representing 15 agencies throughout Orange County.
The terms of the injunction include a restriction that prohibits any association with the gang. This includes standing, sitting, walking, driving, gathering, or appearing anywhere in public or in public view with any known member of the gang. The terms also maintain that there can be no intimidation, no drugs, no alcohol in public, no guns or dangerous weapons, no fighting, no trespassing, no blocking free passage, no graffiti, no gang hand signs, no gang clothes, no burglary tools, no littering, and that the defendants must obey curfew and obey all laws.
The gang members that were served injunctions are known to be active participants in a Santa Ana criminal street gang. Each individual’s affiliation with the gang has been documented by admitting their affiliation, associating with known gang members, dressing in the colors of the gang or having gang tattoos, possessing gang paraphernalia, or committing crimes for their gang.
The enjoined gang began as a social group that originated in the 1940s as a car club. By the mid 1960s to early 1970s, the group had evolved and transformed into the criminal street gang that it is today.
THE SAFETY ZONE
The gang operates within a ¾ square mile territory in Santa Ana and Garden Grove, referred to as the safety zone. Within the safety zone there are five schools, a park, and a golf course. In 2005 there were a number of crimes recorded within the safety zone, including two murders, 15 firearms violations, 12 felony assaults, 28 misdemeanor assaults, 28 robberies, 123 stolen vehicles, and 127 narcotics related incidents.
Residents and business owners within the safety zone provided affidavits with specific complaints about the gang activity in their neighborhood. These declarations were filed under seal, as many people feared retaliation from the gang. The complaints included reports of gang members terrorizing children as they walk to school, business being vandalized, parks being overrun by drug dealers and users, and residents saying they are afraid to leave their homes at night as they are afraid of being physically injured by the gang. Residents also said they are forced to install security bars and doors, and sleep in rooms at the rear of the house for fear of stray bullets coming through the windows and walls.
This gang also has rivalries with other local gangs, resulting in frequent gang warfare. Graffiti is often used as a method to intimidate the rival gang or issue them disrespect. This graffiti, often in gang colors, is used by the gang to mark their territory and acts as a warning, a threat, as advertising for their most recent activities, or to denounce the police or other entities.
“It’s like Bizarro World where everything is backwards. The good people have to sleep in back rooms away from the street so they don’t get hit by stray bullets. The good people have to install and live behind locked security bars as virtual prisoners in their own homes. The good people are afraid to go out at night because these thugs roam the streets. The kids are afraid of walking to school because they’ll be intimidated by gang members. Families can’t use the parks,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “It’s not right. We are drawing the line. We are putting them out of business.”
THE NEXT STEP
OCDA is actively working on filing other gang injunctions in Orange County.
This injunction was a coordinated effort by the City of Santa Ana, Santa Ana and Garden Grove Police, and the OCDA. Special recognition goes to Santa Ana Assistant City Attorney Paula Coleman, Santa Ana Gang Detective Jeff Launi, Deputy District Attorney Tracy Rinauro, and District Attorney Investigator Tim Day.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office would also like to thank the agencies and departments that contributed to the planning and execution of the gang injunction. These agencies include Anaheim PD, Cal State Fullerton PD, Costa Mesa PD, the Department of Parole, the Department of Probation, Fullerton PD, Irvine PD, Newport Beach PD, Orange PD, the OCDA Bureau of Investigation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Tustin PD, and Westminster PD.