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Thursday, 1 April 2010

members of the Salinas Acosta Plaza gang — a subset of the Norteño gang,were targeted

11:09 | ,

members of the Salinas Acosta Plaza gang — a subset of the Norteño gang,were targeted Wednesday — had previously attended a Ceasefire call-in meeting, where they were told to stop the violence or face a swift response from police. Wednesday's raids were "in response to specific acts" of violence, McMillin said. Officer Lalo Villegas took part in the sweeps of 18 residences in the city that began about 6 a.m.
He said officers recovered one shotgun, 9 mm ammunition and gang-related items. Three people were arrested, but Villegas said reports were taken that could lead to more charges. Gabriel Bravo, 32, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm while on probation. Also arrested were Sophia Curenio, 20, on probation violation charges, and Yvonne Martinez, 25, on drug paraphernalia possession charges.
Although the Salinas Acosta Plaza gang originated years ago in the apartment complexes of the same name, Villegas said its members are now scattered all over the city. The Norteño subset is one of the oldest and most notorious in the city.
The police department's three sweeps conducted since March 25 have netted 11 firearms and resulted in 15 arrests, according to police records. Search warrants executed Tuesday ended with the seizure of nine weapons, including two assault rifles. Three men were arrested, including Ivan Zamora, 21, who was the victim of a gang-related shooting in 2008. That raid was not part of Ceasefire, but was a result of an anonymous tip, Villegas said. A Ceasefire raid differs from other police actions because it focuses on specific gangs that have been given a warning at a Ceasefire call-in. While part of Ceasefire hinges on offering violent gang members opportunities to leave the criminal life, an equal component is a "swift and certain" response from law enforcement if shooting continues, Salinas police gang unit Sgt. John Murray has said. In a Ceasefire sweep conducted March 25, officers arrested nine Sureño gang members and seized one firearm. One of two gang "cliques" targeted in the sweep is believed to have been the intended target in the shooting that killed Azahel. Police said they have evidence indicating members of the group went to a park next to Azahel's house and were prepared to commit violence that day when members of another gang opened fire on them, hitting only Azahel.

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