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Top-10 fugitive caught while buying ice cream

The capture of Steve Garcia in Mexico comes days after another man on L.A.'s list of wanted gang members is detained in Guatemala.

March 07, 2007|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

Police Chief William J. Bratton on Tuesday announced details of the arrest of a second member of the Los Angeles Police Department's 10 most-wanted gang members list -- the takedown of a murder suspect as he bought ice cream in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

Steve Garcia, 43, was taken into custody Friday after a four-day surveillance by Mexican authorities and was taken to the U.S. border. There he was handed over to representatives of the U.S. Marshal's Service, who took him to the California Institute for Men in Chino because he had violated parole.

Bratton said Garcia is accused of killing fellow San Fers gang member Kenneth Landon during an argument at a Sylmar motel on Feb. 12, 2001.

Garcia was captured just days after police announced the arrest in Guatemala of another most-wanted fugitive, Angel Zevallos, who is accused of attempted murder.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday March 08, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 56 words Type of Material: Correction
Gang arrest: An article in Wednesday's California section about the arrest of murder suspect Steve Garcia incorrectly characterized Kenneth Landon, 26, whom Garcia is accused of killing, as a fellow San Fers gang member. Landon was not a gang member, according to law enforcement records. Detectives say he was killed as the result of an argument.

"Two down, eight to go," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday at a City Hall news conference with Bratton. "The capture and arrest of two of the most violent offenders in two weeks sends a clear message that violent offenders will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law no matter where they run, no matter where they hide."

Officials conceded Garcia had been the focus of a fugitive task force in Mexico for the last 18 months, well before Bratton and Villaraigosa released the "top 10" list in February, and that the reward offered by the city was not a factor in his arrest. But Bratton said that publicizing the list and offering a $50,000 reward had generated information on others.

"The purpose of the list is to refocus attention on these people that we have not been able to apprehend," Bratton said.

Villaraigosa also announced that Arash Semerome Safaie, 32, a member of the Hardtimes gang in the Santa Ana area, will replace Garcia on the list.

He is wanted in the shooting death of Anna Vasquez, 17, and wounding of two other people at a South Los Angeles party on Sept. 28, 2003. Bratton said Safaie, who was born in Nayarit, Mexico, is believed to be in Mexico.


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