Crime & Justice

Feds target longtime LA street gang

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Law enforcement authorities Wednesday announced more than two dozen arrests of people allegedly connected to the Lennox 13 street gang.

Nearly 500 local and federal officers descended on the homes of suspected members of the Lennox 13 street gang. They arrested 27 people.

A federal indictment names 15 men, accusing them of charging “rent” to local drug dealers and legitimate businesses in exchange for protection in the Lennox neighborhood near Inglewood.

Authorities said four men remain at large.

A statement by the US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles said Lennox 13 has close ties to the powerful Mexican Mafia prison gang. Like many gangs, prosecutors said, Lennox 13 pays taxes to the Mexican Mafia to secure protection for its members serving prison time.

Authorities said the gang consists of about 650 members. They said about 250 are regularly involved in criminal activities.

In its statement, the US Attorney's office listed the names and colorful gang monikers of those accused. They included:

• Miguel Estrada, also known as “Stranger,” 42, of Hawthorne, a Lennox 13 shot-caller who allegedly was directly involved in drug sales, tax collections and extortion of at least one local business (currently a fugitive).

• Marco Ruiz Nario, also known as “Sniper,” 34, of Lawndale, a Lennox 13 member who allegedly supplied cocaine to the gang (arrested this morning).

• Jorge Arturo Hercules, also known as “Joker” and “Trouble,” 25, of Westmont, a Lennox 13 member who allegedly assaulted innocent citizens on behalf of the gang (arrested this morning).

• Jose Manuel Gonzalez, also known as “Cyclone,” 37, of Hawthorne, a Lennox 13 member who allegedly engaged in violent crimes on behalf of the gang (previously taken into state custody).

Additionally, authorities arrested one woman on a federal weapons charge, eight on state narcotics charges, five on probation violations, two on federal criminal charges of illegal re-entry after deportation, and two on suspicion of being illegal aliens.

Those charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Twelve of the defendants named in the indictment face 10-year mandatory minimum penalties if they are convicted of charged narcotics offenses.