L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

White supremacist group tied to attacks against Hemet police

Mn1_l17branc

A Riverside County task force arrested 23 people Tuesday while serving search warrants at dozens of locations as part of an investigation into suspected attacks by a white supremacist group against Hemet police officers and city property, according to law enforcement authorities.

Tuesday's operation by a local, state and federal task force took the suspects into custody on suspicion of narcotics, weapons and parole violations, the Hemet Police Department said.

Hemet police Capt. Dave Brown said some of the 23 people arrested have gang affiliations. But citing the ongoing investigation, he declined to specify whether the suspects were involved with street gangs, prison gangs, motorcycle gangs or white supremacists groups.

A law enforcement source familiar with the probe said task force members believe that the attacks -- including booby traps set up at police facilities and the torching of several city vehicles -- appear to be the work of a white supremacist gang.

"We think right now it's tied a supremacist group. ... That's where we're leaning," said the source, who asked not be named because of the ongoing investigation.

Hemet police Capt. Dave Brown said task force members targeted locations they believe are connected to the attacks. But he cautioned that authorities were still interviewing the suspects Tuesday evening and had not determined whether they took part in the recent string of attacks.

The task force includes members of the Hemet Police Department, the Riverside County district attorney's office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI.

Last month, authorities arrested 33 alleged members of the Vagos motorcycle gang. After the operation, Riverside County Dist. Atty. Rod Pacheco said in an interview that the Vagos were "an extreme threat to law enforcement."

Beverly Hills attorney Joseph Yanny, who represents the Vagos and some of its members, said Tuesday that none of the 33 people arrested were Vagos members. He also said the group was not involved in the attacks against police.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is nothing but politics," Yanny said. "They know none of the people arrested were Vagos."

In response to the attacks, the Hemet City Council approved an emergency resolution to award $165,000 in no-bid contracts to "harden" Police Department headquarters and City Hall with buffers including plexiglass shields and surveillance equipment.

In recent months, the attacks have involved booby traps set at the headquarters of the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force, officials said. In December, a gas utility line was redirected to fill the offices with gas. Officials said a spark could have triggered a devastating explosion.

In February, a "zip gun" was hidden by the gate to the task force office and rigged to fire. When a gang officer opened the gate, the weapon went off, the bullet narrowly missing him, authorities said.

In early March, police said, a "dangerous" device was found near the unmarked car of a task force member. That was followed by an arson attack on four city code enforcement trucks March 23.

Authorities were also investigating whether an early-morning fire last week at a Hemet police shooting range was another attack on the department.

The fire at the remote training facility off Warren Road broke out shortly after 2 a.m. Much of the building was destroyed in the blaze.

-- Robert J. Lopez and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Hemet Police Chief Richard Dana arrives at the police headquarters. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (18)

I'm sure the 23 arrested are tea baggers.

Don't believe a word. They just died their hair blond to disguise themselves. That's all.

For some of you who might think their "booby antics" are funny, they actually end up costing tax payers money........booooooo*

Wow first it "might" be the VAGOS! now it "might" be White supremest! what it "might" be the Police? hum Now Mr. Pacheco whos next

How does a California white supremacy groupe come to be known as Vagos?

Why not talk about the black panthers for a change.

Having grown up in L.A. and the Inland Empire, and having dealt with the LAPD and San Bernardino and Redlands police on a regular basis I must say I'm not fan of California law enforcement. But that said, whoever is attacking these officers needs to be caught and jailed for life without possibility of parole. The last thing we need is a situation like Mexico's where there is no respect for law and order. The lack of respect for the rule of law is why I have no respect for California's corrupt and unprofessional law enforcement agencies in the first place. But god forbid California ends up any more like Mexico than it already is.

Gangs are not a group of angry people. They are hardened criminals who intend to distroy anyone who attempt to stop them from their criminal acts. These are not rational people you can reason with. You call in the millitary and round them up and put them in a confined area and seperate the worse of them from the others and send them to a life of imprisonment where none is allowed to talk to them ever. The remainning gang members are then allowed to be in prison where they will get help but only based on their behavior. None of these gang members will ever be released back into society again. Then you go to every city where there is gang activity and one by one do the same thing until you have covered the entire nation.

That's domestic terrorism. Hold them in Guantanamo indefinitely as terrorists. I'm sure the majority in society will have no problems with that.

Did I read that correctly? Now, even the gangs are using that old saw, "It's political"? Oh, brother..yeah, it's "political" when you try to kill someone, all right. Shades of Al Capone.."Hey..it's just business".

am I the only one who has a hard time telling these guys apart from the teabaggers?

am I the only one who can't tell these guys apart from the teabaggers?

Why is Hemet Police Dept not revealing meaningful information. I live in the vicinity of Hemet and truly concern about safety. All they mention is the Vagos Gang but have they checked on the Mongos Gang? My propery was tagged(graffiti) once and now I am very observant of what it is going on in my neighborhood.

When are we going to go after these folks who seem to have an inclination towards child molestation, becoming serial killers, and paranoia which includes hate for anyone who is different.... We need to send them back to Europe asap!!!

Well, we'll see how many more people they continue to wrongly accuse and arrest before a genuine, outside investigator comes in to determine what's REALLY going on. Please, give me some faith in the human race and tell me there's SOMEONE in Hemet who recognizes this stinks to high heaven!

I'm curious to see whether any Hemet cops will ultimately prove to have been involved in this "series" of "attacks."

The truth it appears, is that Hemet Police Dept. is running around like a chicken without a head. Arresting everybody in sight surely will eventually null any credibility they might have left. They arrested the Vagos, at the time they said they were the ones. Later on they had a press conference; no-they said it was the work of one or two individuals at most. Now they turn around and arrest all these people. I think they are using this as a convenient tool to harass "undesirables" and to spend money on "hardening" their buildings. They should hire a new Police Department, may be THAT would really fix the "Hemet Problem".
P.S. It appears that a lot of people in Hemet don't like their Police Department, to me this seems like the real problem there.

Sounds like a bit of suspicion and very little proof to me. Look at the facts. The beaners are the ones running the drugs and raising our taxes by being ho0used in the prison systems. Their crime rate far outpaces those of legal citizens. Figure it out. Where do YOU think the problems come from?

Was Jesse James arrested along with his crew?


Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: