Street gang charged with terrorizing blacks in Azusa; 51 indicted
A federal grand jury has indicted 51 people allegedly associated with the Azusa 13 street gang, accusing them of harassing and terrorizing blacks in the Azusa area in incidents dating back to 1992.
The 24-count indictment, scheduled to be announced at a U.S. Department of Justice press conference Tuesday morning, catalogues numerous alleged meetings at which gang members discussed targeting blacks in the area, and incidents in which blacks were beaten and robbed.
According to the indictment, the gang also allegedly taxes drug dealers in the Azusa area, passing some of the proceeds on to members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, a practice common among many Latino street gangs in Southern California.
The Azusa gang paid taxes to a man the indictment identified only as "Mexican Mafia Member #1" until his death in December 2008. Since then, the gang has allegedly paid drug taxes to three other members of the Mexican Mafia that the indictment does not identify.
In 1997, one gang member allegedly drew up a "business plan" for the gang to control drug trafficking in Azusa through violence, and urged gang members "to imagine the 'varrio' as a company, [and] imagine the homeboys as employees of this company," according to the indictment.
The gang, with more than 400 members, has been a force in the Azusa area since its formation in the 1960s. Authorities said many of the gang members named in the indictment are already in custody.
-- Sam Quinones
Photo: An alleged member of a San Gabriel Valley gang is in custody in Irwindale on Tuesday morning. Credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times