Gang arrested for food truck extortion

March 19, 2013 at 8:04 AM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, March 19 (UPI) -- Los Angeles police said they arrested 20 reputed members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang for the alleged extortion of food-truck operators at construction sites.

The Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Patrol Division arrested the 20 defendants -- including four women -- in a series of raids early Monday after a year-long investigation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

They were all charged with extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion and were being held on bail ranging from $2 million to $3 million.

Police said the members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang -- or MS-13, which has roots in El Salvador -- organized the shakedown of food trucks serving blue-collar workers at construction sites in the Hollywood area.

The indictment alleges one defendant, identified as Marlon Juarez, demanded food-truck operator Dany Lara pay "rent" if he wanted to continue operating in the gang's territory. Lara was allegedly forced to pay a rent of $30 to $50 each week and to give gang members free food.

In another instance, one defendant, identified as Juan Gomez, threatened to kill food-truck operator Juan Mendieta if he and his employees did not pay rent, the court documents read.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
New York Post defies #ISISMediablackout with graphic James Foley cover
North Korea insults John Kerry on his appearance
Group tweaks Westboro Baptist Church with 'God Loves Gays' campaign
New York Times reporter ordered to leave Afghanistan
David Cameron: 'Increasingly likely' jihadist in Foley video is British citizen
Trending News