The latest 7th street gang case...

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The latest 7th street gang case...

Post  Ty on Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:11 am

A San Bernardino gang's alleged murder plot uncovered

10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Press-Enterprise
A plot to kill a man who left his violent San Bernardino gang was intercepted last week just as the potential murder weapons were being delivered, officials said.

After a weekend of arrests and search warrants, nine people were charged Tuesday with felonies, including conspiracy to commit murder and street terrorism.

"This was plotted out, schemed out and ready to go that evening," said Sgt. Paul Wynn of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Wynn's gang impact team began investigating Friday, following an informant's tip that the plot targeted a "dropout" ex-member of the 7th Street West Side Verdugo.

The man, whose identity was withheld, had left the gang to join another, Wynn said.

Working against the clock, the team arrested the first suspects midday Friday in a car traveling near 30th Street and Sierra Way. Police seized multiple weapons from the car, which they believe were going to be used in the killing.

Deborah "Cookie" Cortez, 45, and Lisa "Flaca" Rocha, 39, were riding in the vehicle. They are charged with street terrorism and being felons in possession of firearms.

Roughly four hours later, officials tracked another 7th Street member to Mount Vernon Avenue. Peter "Wino" Amaya, 29, faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, street terrorism and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

As Friday turned to Saturday, three more suspects were jailed. Sean "Scrappy" Rodriguez, 22, Lawrence "Pelon" Cabrera, 30, and Nicole Rene Manjarrez, 27, were found within five blocks of each other on San Bernardino's Westside, near Spruce and Pico avenues.

Rodriguez and Cabrera also face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and street terrorism. Manjarrez is charged with street terrorism.

According to a criminal complaint filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court, authorities learned another suspect told Amaya the location of their target. Amaya then called Rodriguez to obtain a weapon, prosecutors allege.

Next, he called Cortez to arrange for additional weapons, including a .45-caliber handgun and a shotgun, according to the complaint. Cabrera then offered him more weapons and suggested another gunman to take part, prosecutors allege.

In all, sheriff's special enforcement investigators searched eight homes in and around San Bernardino following the arrests.

"This was a great case," Wynn said, noting that his entire team worked all weekend piecing it together.

He said the plot proves that 7th Street, which has ties to the Mexican Mafia, remains active years after the notorious "Dead Presidents" killing of 2000, in which two "shot callers" and two other gang members were ambushed in San Bernardino and killed by another faction of the gang.

"These guys are just violent, stone-cold killers," Wynn said.

Three of the suspects have prior robbery convictions. Three others, who also have been charged with felonies, including conspiracy to commit murder and street terrorism, remained at large Tuesday.

All the suspects face additional special allegations of committing the crimes to benefit a street gang.


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