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Reputed Montebello gang members linked to six murders, police say

May 15, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein

Seven reputed Montebello-area gang members have been arrested for their alleged involvement in at least half a dozen murders stemming from ongoing rivalries over drugs and turf, authorities said Wednesday.

The arrests by Montebello police and agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, coupled with several dozen federal and state indictments, are part of a bid to clear a backlog of unsolved gang homicides.

Officials from those agencies, as well as the U.S. attorney's office and the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, were expected to hold a news conference Wednesday to release more details about the crimes and the suspects.

People familiar with the operation dubbed "Sudden Impact" (the title of a 1983 Dirty Harry movie starring Clint Eastwood) said those arrested faced a variety of charges including murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to deal drugs and robbery.

As part of the investigation, authorities seized more than 600 grams of methamphetamine and more than two dozen weapons, including several fully automatic assault weapons. An anti-tank rocket launcher seized as part of the operation was not operational, but sources said it could have been used as a makeshift explosive device.

Police said the murders in question date back to 2007 and involve a total of six victims in crimes carried out by gang members.

One of the main suspects in the case is Jimmy Valenzuela, 30, of Montebello who was arrested last June on suspicion of committing two gang-related slayings.

In one of those crimes, Joe Alvarado, 22, was shot multiple times while sitting in his car on the afternoon of Dec. 22, 2007, in the 800 block of Mines Avenue in Montebello.

Detectives said they also have evidence linking Valenzuela to the killing of Jimmy Jimenez, 29, who was fatally shot July 24, 2010, in the 300 block of West Lohart Avenue in Montebello.

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Twitter: @anblanx |Facebook | Google +

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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