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Dead man in O.C. park identified as gangster

He and members of rival gangs had been banned from the site.

August 15, 2008|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

A man found dead at a San Clemente park was identified Thursday as a gang member named in an injunction that barred him and other gangsters from hanging out at the site where he died, authorities said.

Juan Montes Jr., 26, of Capistrano Beach had a criminal record that included three convictions since 2006 for offenses, including burglary and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records. He was included in a sweeping injunction that makes it illegal for about 225 members of two rival gangs in San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano to associate in designated areas of both cities, said Orange County district attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami.

Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said investigators did not know whether Montes' death resulted from gang activity. He said there were no suspects.

Amormino said investigators believed Montes was killed late Tuesday night or early Wednesday. Deputies were called about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday when a passerby saw Montes' body lying in a pool of blood near a tennis court at San Luis Rey Park. Amormino said he was killed at the scene.

Detectives have not released any other information about the incident.

A law enforcement source familiar with the case who requested anonymity because investigators were still searching for evidence said Montes was stabbed. His death was the third homicide reported in San Clemente this year. At least one was gang-related.

The district attorney obtained a court-ordered injunction, made permanent in January, against the Varrio Chico gang in San Clemente -- of which Montes was a member -- and Varrio Viejo gang in San Juan Capistrano after a two-year investigation by sheriff's deputies. Authorities documented dozens of weapons violations, acts of vandalism and cases in which suspects wore gang attire and made gang hand signs. The injunction bans these activities and others. Violations can be punished with up to three years in prison.

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hgreza@latimes.com

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