Judge approves gang injunction in La Puente area
A judge granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday that restricts the activities of gang members in 16 square miles of the San Gabriel Valley.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office sought the civil injunction against members of Puente 13 and Bassett Grande, which are behind violence, drug sales and protection rackets in the Valinda Corridor and the city of La Puente, officials said.
Puente 13, a multi-generational gang formed more 60 years ago, is made up of more than 1,000 members believed to engage in narcotics trafficking and "tax" collection from other drug dealers, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Fern. The gang includes at least 14 subsets or "cliques."
Puente 13 is aligned with the Mexican Mafia, represented by "13" in the gang name, referencing the 13th letter in the alphabet -- M.
Bassett Grande, with more than 300 known members, is Puente 13's primary rival.
The indictment stated that the gang is controlled by Mexican Mafia member Rafael Munoz Gonzalez.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant granted the civil injunction, which designates the approximately 16-square-mile area a "safety zone."
The injunction covers the communities of Avocado Heights, Bassett, South San Jose Hills and Valinda. According to Fern, it is largest geographic area for which the district attorney's office has obtained such an injunction.
The injunction orders Puente 13 and Bassett Grande gang members not to associate with one another in public or possess weapons, narcotics or graffiti tools within the injunction area.
It prohibits members of those gangs from wearing gang apparel, trespassing on property and loitering in public places. It also imposes a 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew for the gang members.
A violation of the injunction can result in a six-month jail term.
To win approval, the district attorney's office produced Sheriff's Department tracking data showing how much gang graffiti there was in the injunction area.
-- Richard Winton
Images: Violent and property crime statistics for La Puente in the past six months. Credit: Crime L.A. database