SANTA ANA — A former gang leader who authored the peace treaty recently signed by Orange County gangs was arrested Friday by federal agents as part of a major investigation of narcotics and money laundering.
The Drug Enforcement Administration declined to discuss the case, but sources familiar with the investigation confirmed that Art Romo, 30, of Santa Ana was among those being held on suspicion of money laundering.
Romo's wife, Leticia Rivera, 26, said Romo was arrested about 10 a.m. at a fast-food restaurant where he had taken their two toddlers for breakfast. She said she learned of the arrest when police called her to pick up the children.
Rivera said that law enforcement officials refused to tell her why Romo had been arrested.
Romo is one of five founders of the United Gangs Council, a group of former neighborhood gang leaders who have met regularly since January with hundreds of gang members to forge a tenuous truce.
Romo is the only one of the five who has not served state or federal prison sentences, although he was jailed locally several years ago for four months on a minor drug offense, authorities said.