Crime & Justice

Prominent anti-gang activist Alex Sanchez denied bail

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A federal judge denied bail Tuesday to a prominent Los Angeles anti-gang activist. Prosecutors allege that Alex Sanchez led a double life as a leader in the Mara Salvatrucha gang. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.

Judge Alicia Rosenberg acknowledged the outpouring of support for 37-year-old Alex Sanchez. More than 100 people sent letters that praised his work as executive director of Homies Unidos, a gang intervention program in MacArthur Park. They committed more than a million dollars for his bail. Former state senator Tom Hayden said he’d put up his house to free Sanchez.

But the judge agreed with prosecutors who argued that Sanchez is a threat and should remain locked up until his trial. They claim that wiretap evidence suggested Sanchez led a clique of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, and that he participated in phone calls connected with a murder in El Salvador three years ago.

Outside court, more than a hundred Sanchez supporters wept and held signs that said “Free Alex.” They included young men Sanchez had helped get out of gangs.