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5 of 10 top gang fugitives corralled

LAPD says its list of most-wanted is bearing fruit, with four in jail and one dead after a standoff May 7.

May 20, 2007|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

Three months after the Los Angeles Police Department announced a list of the 10 most-wanted gang members, officials said Saturday that half are in jail or dead.

The decision to break with past policy and publicize wanted gang members and their gang affiliations was controversial when Police Chief William J. Bratton announced the list in February, with skeptics warning it would only embolden criminals.

But LAPD officials Saturday were encouraged with news that four of the most-wanted have been arrested. A fifth died in a standoff with law enforcement officers.

"We're very pleased with the success of the list in finding the suspects who were wanted for serious gang crimes," said Cmdr. David Doan, officer in charge of the Detective Support Division.

However, gang intervention worker Donald Andrews said he still believes the list is a publicity stunt, noting there are 30,000 gang members in L.A.

"It's like putting a Band-Aid on an elephant," Andrews said.

The list was established as part of a crackdown on gang violence, which increased 15.7% last year in Los Angeles.

The latest name taken off the list is Rudy Magana, a Compton Tortilla Flats gang member, who was wanted for the Jan. 20 shooting death of a 2-year-old boy.

Magana is believed to have committed suicide in a May 7 standoff with sheriff's gang enforcement deputies at a residence in Long Beach.

Two other gang members are no longer on the list because officials concluded that they are in Iran and El Salvador, which do not have extradition or prosecution treaties with the United States that would allow them to be returned.

Officer Marjan Mobasser said Saturday that three new fugitives have been added:

* Ismael Alejandro Campos, 32, a member of the Crazy Riders gang, who is wanted in the 2004 shooting death of another gang member.

* Soperry Chea, 18, a member of the Asian Boyz gang, who is wanted in a 2005 stabbing death.

* Eric Robert Cahuex, 37, a member of the Magician's Club gang, who is wanted in the 1999 shooting death of a man who had been sitting on his own porch with family members.

*

patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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