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Injunction seeks to restrict gang

June 25, 2008|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

A judge issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday aimed at restricting the activities of one of the San Fernando Valley's most notorious gangs.

The injunction, filed by Los Angeles Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo, seeks to limit the ability of "San Fers" gang members to meet in public, threaten witnesses and sell or possess weapons or narcotics.

The injunction covers a 9.5-square-mile area bounded by the I-5 to the west, the I-210 to the north and east and State Route 118 to the south. The injunction, which is one of 37 across Los Angeles, applies to the gang's 900 members.

Under the injunction, gang members are prohibited from recruiting and intimidating students at two schools in the area, and going to the Sylmar Recreation Center, which prosecutors said had become the gang's headquarters. In arguing for the injunction, prosecutors said gang members have intimidated youngsters, shot a man baby-sitting his 1-year-old nephew and beaten people walking in the gang's territory.

LAPD officials and prosecutors have long hailed the effectiveness of civil injunctions, but studies have found them to be only mildly effective at reducing violent crime. A gang member violating such an injunction typically serves about six months in jail.

The San Fers is one of the oldest and best-known gangs in the Valley and police say they are heavily involved in narcotics trafficking, particularly marijuana and methamphetamine. The area covered by the injunction has also been pinpointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as an area that should receive intervention and prevention programs.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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