Posts Tagged ‘R.I.C.O.’

El Salvador Gang Truce One-year Anniversary, TAGSPPES Statement/Declaración de TAGSPPES Sobre el Aniversario de Un Año de la Tregua en El Salvador

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
TAGSPPES Statement on the One-year Anniversary of the Truce in El Salvador
Statement: 
March 9th 2013 marks the one-year anniversary of the truce between El Salvador’s two major gangs, MS-13 and Barrio 18. The peace agreement can be credited with saving thousands of lives and dropping El Salvador for the first time off the list of countries with the highest homicide rates for 2012. Despite much public skepticism about the reliability and durability of the truce, the benefits of the truce continue to grow. It is important to recognize what an enormous and historic achievement this peace represents, and to credit the small group of individuals and groups that have worked tirelessly to make this peace a reality — in particular the leadership of MS-13 and Barrio 18, the facilitators of the truce, Raul Mijango and Monsignor Fabio Collindres and their team, and those within the Salvadoran government who sup-ported this process. The Organization of American States (OAS) deserves special mention for its courageous stand as guarantor of the truce and the leadership it has taken in the international community.

It is imperative that this process, which has established greater public safety in El Salvador than years of expensive and harsh law enforcement, be supported by all stakeholders. The benefits of a safer and more peaceful society accrue and belong to all of Salvadorans , not only the participants of the truce. The introduction of the second phase, the violence free municipalities, is a welcome opportunity to share the peace dividend from the truce to some of the communities most affected by violence in El Salvador. The formation of the Fundacion Humanitario and the addition of three other gangs (Mao Mao, La Máquina y la Mirada Locos), Father Antonio Rodriguez and mayors from both major political parties to the ranks of those supporting the truce and actively working for peace gives strength and additional legitimacy to the process.

However despite the success of the peace process and additional supporters, there is much more sup-port required to ensure the peace lasts and cycle of violence that has afflicted El Salvador for over thirty years ends. For this reason it is imperative that all of Salvador-an society be part of this process in order for it to succeed.

Download PDF Complete Report

Los Angeles, Alex Sanchez: asanchez@homiesunidos.org

New York, steve.vigil@gmail.com
Washington D.C., Luis Cardona: luiscardo@hotmail.com and Juan Pacheco: peacewarrior703@gmail.com
YouTube: tagsppes

Declaración de TAGSPPES Sobre el Aniversario de Un Año de la Tregua en 
El Salvador

Declaración: 

El 9 de marzo 2013, se cumplió el primer aniversario de la tregua entre las dos pandillas más grandes de El Salvador, MS-13 y Barrio 18. Se puede dar crédito al acuerdo de paz por salvar miles de vidas y por sacar a El Salvador por primera vez fuera de la lista de países con las tasas más altas de homicidios en el 2012. A pesar de un gran escepticismo público acerca de la durabilidad de la tregua, los beneficios de la tregua continúan creciendo. Es importante reconocer que esta paz representa un gran logro histórico, y se puede dar crédito a los individuos y grupos que han trabajado incansablemente para hacer que esta paz sea una realidad – en particular el liderazgo de la MS-13 y Barrio 18, los facilitadores de la tregua, Raul Mijango y Monseñor Fabio Colindres y sus equipo, y a los que estan dentro del gobierno salvadoreno que apoyaron a este proceso. La Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), merece una mención especial por su valiente posición de garante de la tregua y el liderazgo que ha tenido en la comunidad internacional.

Es importante que este proceso, que ha establecido una mayor seguridad pública en El Salvador que en los años de aplicación de la ley costosa y extrema (Mano Dura), siga adelante con el apoyo de todos los grupos de interes. Los beneficios de una sociedad más segura y más pacífica pertenecen a toda la sociedad salvadoreña, no sólo a los participantes de la tregua. La introducción de la segunda fase, los municipios libres de violencia, es una buena oportunidad para compartir el dividendo de la paz de la tregua a algunas de las comunidades más afectadas por la violencia en El Salvador. También es importante la formación de la Fundación Humanitario y la adición de tres otras pandillas (Mao Mao, La Máquina y la Mirada Locos), Padre Toño y los alcaldes de los dos partidos políticos principales en las filas para que apoyen a la tregua y trabajen activamente por la paz, dar fuerza, y den legitimidad adicional al proceso.
Sin embargo, a pesar del éxito del proceso de paz y los partidarios adicionales, se necesita más apoyo para asegurar que la paz siga y el ciclo de la violencia que ha afectado a El Salvador desde hace más de treinta años finalise. Por esta razón, es importante que todos los de la sociedad salvadoreña sean parte de este proceso, para que tenga éxito.

Bajar Reporte Complete

Los Angeles, Alex Sanchez: asanchez@homiesunidos.org

New York, steve.vigil@gmail.com
Washington D.C., Luis Cardona: luiscardo@hotmail.com and Juan Pacheco: peacewarrior703@gmail.com
YouTube: tagsppes

 

Hearing To Dismiss all Charges Against Alex Sanchez of Homies Unidos

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Title Bar 2
– All Charges to be dropped against Alex Sanchez Wednesday, January 16th at 8:30 a.m.
– Press conference with supporters of Alex Sanchez after hearing
 

CONTACT: Elvira Padilla 213-399-2606

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Government Requests that Court Drop RICO Charges Against Peacemaker Alex Sanchez:

Defense reveals flaws in 2009 Grand Jury indictment

Los Angeles, California – January 15, 2013 – After a three-and-a-half-year ordeal that began in June of 2009, the government has requested that the court dismiss all the charges brought in a RICO grand jury indictment against peacemaker Alex Sanchez.  According to the official filing, the government specifically reserves the right to re-indict.   Alex Sanchez now awaits a court order issued by Judge Fischer that will make the dismissal final, but by all indications, a new chapter can begin for Sanchez, his family and supporters. A press conference will be held on January 16 after court hearing.

Most of all Sanchez is relieved that his name will be cleared and he can begin to rebuild his life. Sanchez and his attorney Amy Jacks released the following statement. “We applaud the government for conscientiously re-evaluating the case and recognizing that the evidence it presented to the grand jury does not support the charges brought against Alex.  This has been a long time coming but the government has now made the right decision by recommending dismissal of the case against Alex.  If the court grants the government’s motion, Alex can focus on what he has done so well for many years: helping our community with gang intervention and prevention and promoting peaceful solutions to our conflicts.”

History. On June 24, 2009, internationally recognized human rights defender and peacemaker Alex Sanchez was erroneously named in a 66-page federal indictment, charging him and twenty-three others under the RICO Act, with being active members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang and alleging criminal acts of conspiracy.

Alex Sanchez was denied bail twice, first by Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg in June 2009 and by Judge Manuel Real in October 2009. As guarantee that Alex did not pose a flight risk or danger to his community, the court was presented with overwhelming support from the community: more than $2.5 million in sureties of affidavit and property deeds and hundreds of letters testifying to Alexʼs character from local residents, prominent academics, civic and community leaders, law enforcement and peace workers. Alex Sanchez remained imprisoned for over 6 months. His legal team then led by Kerry Bensinger appealed the October 2009 ruling to the Ninth Circuit and they ordered Judge Real to reopen the bail hearing and make his decision based on “findings of fact.” Alex was granted bail on January 13th, 2010.

Supporters always maintained that Alex should not be on trial to begin with. The public outcry against his indictment led to We Are Alex organizing chapters to open across the country to bring attention to his case and important work.

WHAT/WHO:     Press Conference with peacemaker Alex Sanchez, his attorney and supporters

WHEN:               Wednesday, January 16th 8:30 a.m.

WHERE:             Roybal Federal Building 8th Floor

255 East Temple Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 894-1565 or (213) 894-2215

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WHO IS ALEX SANCHEZ?   
Cuentame follows the story of Alex Sanchez

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 We Are Alex

This video was made by supporter and director of the documentary Fruits of War, Josiah Hooper.

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We Are Alex: Alex Sanchez Statement On Government’s Decision To Drop His Case

Friday, January 4th, 2013

On Monday December 17, I was notified by my attorney Amy Jacks of the intention of the government to dismiss the R.I.C.O (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) case. I immediately called my family and told my wife Delia, between sobs of relief. I then called the people who have been at the forefront in my defense through the We Are Alex campaign. I have not slept well this couple of days but soon I will. I applaud the government for making the right decision to dismiss the case. I am innocent of these charges and told the government they had made mistakes since I was indicted 3 and half years ago. I feel confident that the government will make the right decision as to re-filing the case.
On behalf of my family, community and close friends I extend the gratitude to all the people who have stood next to me and believed from the beginning that this case was a distraction from the work that has been the focus of Homies Unidos. We have not stopped the work, which is greatly needed in our community, but our funding has suffered since my indictment. We expect that we will get more support for the programs which have been reduced significantly since the indictment.
I will look back at this day and will be forever grateful of all who stood firmly next to me in this extremely difficult time and provided support to my family when they most needed it. I have taken my work seriously and with integrity and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

Judge Dale Fischer may sign the order dismissing my case any day or wait until January 16 at 2:30 when we had schedule the hearing of the motions.

You may contact 213-383-7484 for more information.
Peace,
Alex Sanchez

Articles on the government decision:

Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod

For Alex Sanchez, justice delayed or justice denied?

WHY GANG CHARGES WERE DROPPED AGAINST ALEX SANCHEZ

Key Prosecution Witness Missing in Alex Sanchez Case

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Federal prosecutors soon will be forced to admit that their star witness in the gang conspiracy case against Alex Sanchez is a fugitive still on a crime spree somewhere in Central America.

July 14, 2010
According to prosecutors, the government’s cooperating witness, Juan Bonilla, a k a Zombie, gave statements to FBI and LAPD investigators in El Salvador implicating Alex Sanchez in the May 2006 shooting of Walter Lacinos, a k a

Cameron, in that gang-ridden country. The prosecution claims that Bonilla/Zombie participated in an incriminating wiretapped phone call with Sanchez and others one week before the shooting. The Sanchez defense has strongly argued that the government has the “wrong Zombie,” that it was another Juan Bonilla who took part in the phone call.

The case of the mistaken Zombie aside, now the Salvadoran papers El Mundo and El Diario de Hoy are reporting that the real Zombie is not only a fugitive but has lied to Salvadoran prosecutors about the killings in 2006.

” ‘Zombie’ is on the loose,” El Mundo reported on May 11. The detailed article describes how Zombie offered himself as a witness to the police in the murder of Cameron and others, including a well-known gang intervention worker known as Smoky, who was written up sympathetically by National Public Radio reporter Mandolit del Barco. Smoky, a former MS leader turned peacemaker, law student and father, was killed May 13, 2006. Cameron himself may have been implicated in the killing of Smoky, which would make Cameron’s own death two days later an act of retaliation.

According to the El Mundo account, Zombie told prosecutors that Cameron traveled from Los Angeles to El Salvador to assassinate Smoky. “The latter had come out of anonymity and had achieved fame after appearing in a documentary about gangs, and he belong to an organization to rehabilitate mara [gang] members.”

Zombie was finally arrested in 2006 after committing some twenty home robberies. In June 2008, he received special privileges for cooperating with Salvadoran and US authorities. After testifying against MS in exchange for leniency, Zombie escaped in April 2009 when prosecutors became suspicious of his tales. He disguised himself as a priest, a postal worker and even a prosecutor, the better to gain entry to the homes of the wealthy and later rob them. He also is blamed for several kidnappings, rapes and sexual batteries.

If the Salvadoran media accounts are accurate, Zombie has been a fugitive since before the June 2009 indictment of Alex Sanchez. Government prosecutors have never provided the court with the fact that their witness is missing.

Now, with Zombie’s credibility shattered, it is not clear if the prosecution wants to find him.

Where does this leave the prosecution? They could recognize their mistake and drop the case against Sanchez. But with so much invested in their claim that Sanchez is a “shot caller” leading a “double life,” a responsible retreat from their flawed case is unlikely.

But going forward with the prosecution contains seeds of embarrassment for the government as well. First, they will have to prosecute Sanchez with their central witness a discredited fugitive, and with strong evidence that the Zombie on the wiretaps is not the Zombie the government claims. Second, the other accusation against Sanchez is strikingly similar in its emptiness. He is charged in a gang racketeering conspiracy that took place over a fourteen-year period beginning when he left the gang in the ’90s and concluding in May of last year. Though the government indictment alleges over 150 specific overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy against twenty-four defendants, the majority for selling drugs to government informants, there are no overt acts attributed to Sanchez beyond the disputed wiretaps.

This conspiracy case, then, is about RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a 1970 law that makes prosecution possible on the basis of guilt-by-association. The acronym RICO derives from Edward G. Robinson’s gangster hero, Little Caesar, in the 1930 movie of the same name. In the most famous scene, Robinson goes down after shouting, “Caesar Enrico Bandello, this is Rico speaking. Rico! R-I-C-O! Little Caesar, that’s who! Listen, you crummy flat-footed copper, I’ll show you whether I’ve lost my nerve and my brains!” Released during the 1950s McCarthy period after decades of suppression, the film became a favorite of prosecutors and gang-bangers alike.

The RICO law makes it a crime to “associate” with any “enterprise” through a “pattern” of racketeering activity. The assumption is that street gangs like MS are identical to vertically organized crime structures. There is a presumed board of directors, known as “shot callers,” who are an organized conspiracy responsible for every specific crime committed anywhere by any of the gang’s individual members.

Alex Sanchez left the gang life behind at approximately the time that the present investigation began fifteen years ago. Subsequently, he founded Homies Unidos in Los Angeles, a gang intervention agency that works with young people, including gang members, to prevent violence and open up alternative opportunities. As an intervention worker, his task involves numerous conversations and phone calls with members of street gangs. In 1999, he helped expose the LAPD’s Rampart scandal in which hundreds of young people were subjected to false charges, beaten, jailed and deported, violations that led to federal intervention. Since becoming an intervention worker, Sanchez also has testified as an expert witness in at least eleven federal and state gang conspiracy cases, in which six defendants were found not guilty. One of the government experts he has testified against is LAPD officer Frank Flores, a former Rampart beat detective who, nearly fifteen years later, is the prosecutor’s expert witness against Sanchez in court today. It is fair to say that Sanchez poses a challenge to the prosecution mentality driving the war on gangs.

It is helpful to Sanchez that the prosecution lacks any specific evidence against him, a fact which led to his release on bail six months ago. But under RICO law, often referred to as an Alice in Wonderland statue by defense attorneys, that is beside the point. Prosecutors will try to prove that Sanchez, against all present evidence, is a secret shot caller leading a double life. As their case crumbles, they can be expected to compile a new one.

About the Author

Tom Hayden
Senator Tom Hayden, the Nation Institute’s Carey McWilliams Fellow, has played an active role in American politics and…

One Year Anniversary since the Infamous Arrest of Alex Sanchez

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

June 24, 2010

I was reminded last night of the psychological trauma that children go through when they witness their parents torn apart from them either through violence or incarceration. I spoke with a 15 year old young man who had been a witness to both parents getting arrested by the FBI two and a half years ago. He was mad at the world at how his life had suddenly come to a halt and was flipped over that morning when he saw both of them being dragged away in handcuffs. This young man was trying to deal with his trauma and no one was there to help him through his ordeal, he elected seek help from what was in his neighborhood for a quick fix of his problems.
He joined a gang, got a tattoo and now that his parents were released from prison it has become so hard for him and his family to be what they once were. I looked at him and asked him why was he angry. His answered that he felt his father was disappointed with what he has turn out to be. His eyes started to get watery and said that he wants to change, that he doesn’t want to be in gangs anymore. All he wants is to be understood and so do his parents who are going through the stigma of now being called ex-felons.
It is important for all of us to take extra consideration of those children who have been affected with the trauma when Immigration comes braking the doors of their homes and tear apart parents from U.S. citizen children and housing them in detention centers until they are deported, when law enforcement comes charging into communities arresting individuals putting people in prisons under the three strikes law and many other inhumane laws that continue funneling the parents of U.S. citizen children into warehouses they call rehabilitation centers. They can call them Department of rehabilitation, detention centers it is still a prison. They tear up families. What happens to the children, not only those who are citizens but those who did not have a choice and are now called an immigrant?
This young man reminded me of what my children went through this day one year ago. I was awakened by LAPD, Sheriffs, and FBI officers at six in the morning at my home in Bellflower as part of an FBI Gang Taskforce sweep throughout Los Angeles. In front of my six year old daughter Melissa, my 14 year old son Alex and 13 year old Marlon, while my wife Delia was taking a shower getting ready to head to work. I was taken in shackles after I walk out from my apartment and turn myself over to over 20 armed officers with M16 that they were pointing at me while my children watched, after they had awaken all my neighbors with their screaming ordering for me to turn myself over to them. It was a day I will never forget, neither will my children who I have spoken with them about it, but they don’t really want to have to remind themselves of it and live through it again in their minds. They, unlike this young man that I spoke to last night had a support system, a community that came to heal them through this ordeal, my family, my extended family, all my friends that have stood next to me in the work I do for Homies Unidos, youth whom I helped leave the gang life, they all came together for my children. Forever I will be indebted to all of you and today I invite you to recommit yourselves to do the same for other young men and women who everyday turn to negativity because we are not there for them.
Peace,
Alex Sanchez


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