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Injunction targets O.C. street gang

March 27, 2009 |  6:19 pm

An Orange County judge issued a court order today that bars dozens of alleged members of a street gang from assembling with each other, authorities said.

Superior Court Judge Kazharu Makino signed the preliminary injunction against the Orange Varrio Cypress gang, which claims territory in the city of Orange, according to the district attorney’s office. The court order is the sixth signed in Orange County in the last 2½ years. The last injunction was issued against a rival gang, also in Orange, in July.

Law enforcement authorities served 108 alleged gang members with injunction notices starting last month, and 55 of them were named in Friday’s injunction.

The judge’s order demarcates a 3.8-square-mile area, mostly in downtown Orange west of the 55 Freeway, in which alleged gang members are not allowed to congregate together, drink or use drugs in public, or wear gang attire. They must also obey a curfew and other laws or face increased penalties.

“They’ve been committing violent crime and really been a nuisance to the community,” said Orange Police Sgt. Dan Adams, who added that the gang dates back to at least the 1970s.

More recently, police said, the gang's members have been involved in dozens of attempted homicides, weapons violations, assaults and drug crimes from 2005 to 2008.

As in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, gang injunctions have become more common in Orange County as a way to step up the fight against gangs in Anaheim, Orange, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and Santa Ana.

Gang injunctions are somewhat controversial, with civil libertarians saying they cast too wide a net and can amount to racial profiling.

But law enforcement officials say that they pursue court orders in response to fears and concerns by law-abiding residents, and that they include only the most active and well-documented gang members, such as those who have admitted to gang membership, dress in gang colors, bear gang tattoos or have committed crimes on behalf of the gang.

--Tony Barboza