Cuca Kingz

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Cuca Kingz

Post  dstrm300 on Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:19 pm

RANCHO CUCAMONGA - The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office filed a preliminary injunction Friday against the Cucamonga Kings street gang, barring its members and associates from congregating in a designated safety zone in Rancho Cucamonga and engaging in gang activity.

The Cucamonga Kings have 200 members and associates, whose territory stretches south of Arrow Highway between Haven and Archibald avenues in an area they call "North Town." The hub of its territory, Old Town Park, is one of several areas included in the injunction.

Teams of law enforcement officers served copies of the injunction and other court-related paperwork to 30 members of the gang during a predawn sweep in the city. Three people were arrested on suspicion of drug-related offenses.

The injunction sought by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office represents an 18-month-long effort to crack down on the Kings' illegal activities - everything from burglaries and thefts to drug sales, assaults and murder.

"We're suing to seek an injunction to abate a public nuisance caused by a criminal street gang," Deputy District Attorney Mark Vos said. He described Friday's effort as "very successful."

As daylight broke the early morning darkness Friday, 11 teams of law enforcement officers from the sheriff's department, local police departments, county probation and state parole, knocked on doors at residences across North Town.

At a home in the 8700 block of Ramona Boulevard, officers surrounded the residence to serve the paperwork. A man was patted down in the patio and brought to the front, while other officers woke up another man sleeping in a tent in the driveway.

Two Kings' members were served there.

"This is a known gang house, and they're always around," said Deputy Oscar Godoy.

At another home in the 10100 block of 25th Street, a team of officers searched for contraband in a backyard filled with several vehicles, childen's toys, couches, televisions, speakers. A 40-ounce beer bottle lay on the ground. A few chickens ran free, dodging the officers.

In a red Chevrolet truck, deputies found a black plastic bag with baggies of suspected methamphetamine and a scale.

Robert Sandoval, who was on probation, sat in handcuffs on front part of an Oldsmobile in the driveway. His button-down shirt was open, exposing several tattoos across his chest and torso.

The Cucamonga Kings are "especially hateful and violent toward black persons who reside in the safety zone," according to a 20-page criminal complaint filed in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.

The gang's graffiti was spotted on park tables, in alleyways and on the ground at a flood control channel that runs north-to-south through the safety zone. A small house that was converted to a barber shop on Main Street served as a King's hangout for a while.

Now the graffiti-ridden shop, with large holes punched through a wall, a ripped up row of chairs inside and junk on the floor, sits unused.

The injunction being sought by prosecutors will prohibit Kings' members from congregating and loitering in the safety zone, essentially the gang's territory. They are also barred from intimidating witnesses, blocking public passageways and possessing, selling or using controlled substances.

The gang also cannot display its name, signs or symbols.

Included in the safety zone are two schools: Cucamonga Elementary School and Rancho Cucamonga Middle School. While the process service was underway, a school bus pulled into the parking lot at Old Town Park to pick up a large group of children waiting there.

District Attorney Michael A. Ramos reminded citizens that he declared war on gangs in San Bernardino County in 2005. Since then, many serious gang members have been convicted and sentenced to state prison for a total of thousands of years, he said.

Gangs and the public nuisance they bring to cities are a quality of life issue, said Ramos. The time has come, he said, to give citizens back their neighborhoods and parks.

"Battle by battle, we're going to take these back," said Ramos. His office is already working on its next gang injunction. "We're going to make sure these gang members are no longer a threat to our citizens," he said.

But not everyone agrees with prosecutors' push for an injunction. A woman who lived at a residence on Ramona Boulevard, where officers had earlier served paperwork, was critical of the plan.

"They're not a gang. We're all related," said Anita Ornelas, as she came out of her house. "It's just not right."

Ornelas said she lived in the area for 40 years, and she is a working, single mother. Deputies say they've known of her son's activities since he was 16. At age 20, he was arrested in connection with a stabbing.

Ornelas said her son now has trouble finding a job. Police, she said, should be after the younger guys.

Prosecutors acknowledge in the criminal complaint that the gang consists in large part of a "tight knit group of inter-related families and friends." But deputies say citizens have a choice not to lead a gang lifestyle.

The injunction paperwork includes 86 sworn declarations by San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies, who detailed various acts committed by the gang.

A King's member shot and killed a rival gang member in 2005 at Center Street and Hermosa Avenue. Two Kings were arrested in 2007 and convicted of stabbing a man five times at La Paloma Market, near Archibald Avenue and Main Street.

Two Kings' members beat up and pointed a gun at a black realtor, who was working in the gang's area, in 2008 near Humboldt Avenue and Center Street.

Prosecutors are unsure exactly how long the court process will take to obtain a permanent injunction. Much of the time depends on whether any Kings' members contest it in court.

The Cucamonga Kings became the 13th gang in San Bernardino County to be barred from associating in certain areas, wearing gang clothing in public and displaying gang tattoos.

Injunctions, filed either by attorneys in individual cities or by the District Attorney, are already in place in Colton, Rialto, Adelanto, San Bernardino and Victorville.

The Kings were established in the 1950s as a social club for agricultural families in the area, but over the years it eventually became a street gang. It is multi-generational group with at least three generations, according to Vos.

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