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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Trece street gang injunction placing limits on their behavior

21:35 |

police continue serving members of the Trece street gang the injunction placing limits on their behavior, but law enforcement feels the injunction has taken gang members out of their normal routines.
"I know that members of Ogden Trece have been laying low, trying to avoid the police to avoid being served with the order," said Weber County Attorney Dee Smith, one of the authors of the injunction.

He accompanied Ogden gang detectives Thursday night as they searched out Trece gang members to serve.

"I think it's having an effect already," said Sgt. Will Cragun, a supervisor of the Ogden Metro Gang Unit.

"They're trying to avoid us. They don't want to be served. They're not sure how to deal with this. They obviously want to avoid law enforcement right now, even more than usual."

The injunction meant to sweep Ogden's oldest gang off the street formally went into effect Sept. 27 as 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones declared the gang a public nuisance.

Jones was responding to the 331-page injunction, proposed by Smith's office, that lists Trece activities -- everything from murder to graffiti -- over the past three to five years.

The injunction, now a court order, bans Treces from associating in public, being around guns, drugs and alcohol, and staying out past 11 p.m.

But gang members have to be served a copy of the order before they can be found in violation of it.

"We started serving it Thursday, beginning at the jail," Cragun said. "We served 16 in the jail."

Another estimated 20 members were served through Friday and Saturday morning, he said, including a number at the Northern Utah Community Correctional Center, or halfway house, in West Ogden.

When the injunction was first filed Aug. 20 and approved a few days later on a provisional basis as a temporary restraining order, 17 people were served, so the total served to date is well under 100, with hundreds more to go.

The figure 485 has been used as the number of known gang members, but Cragun said the actual number is not that firm and is subject to change as names are purged on a regular basis and new ones are added.

While confirming addresses to serve the injunction, Cragun said, the actual current number has been adjusted to just more than 350.

While some officials have debated whether members had to be served in person, or if their copy of the order could be simply left at a last known address, Cragun said the approach so far has been the former.

"We're actively looking for them to serve them the order," he said.

"We're actually personally serving them, giving them a copy. We tell 'em, 'Make sure you understand everything in it, and you've been served.' We'll try to answer their questions."

Cragun said he has been surprised by how many of the Treces served were aware of the ban and expected to be served. "The word's gotten out."

Violation of the order is a class B misdemeanor for "violating an order abating a public nuisance," or more simply, failure to abate, Smith said.

Once arrests are made on the injunction, it will be the arresting officer's decision whether to book the individual into jail or simply issue a citation, he said.

Those violations will be heard in Ogden Justice Court because they are minor misdemeanors.

But officials expect to find evidence of other crimes as Treces are arrested on the injunction. Most of those will be prosecuted in 2nd District Court, which handles all class A misdemeanors and felonies.

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