LOS ANGELES -- In a first-of-its-kind move, the Los Angeles City Attorney has filed a civil lawsuit seeking damages from notorious 18th Street Gang members.
Rocky Delgadillo is seeking monetary damages as a result of gang's criminal and nuisance activities.
"As the gangs who terrorize our neighborhoods evolve, so too must we adapt our laws and tactics to fit the times," said City Attorney Delgadillo. "The time has come to hold these gangs accountable for the extensive physical, emotional and financial damage they cause to our neighborhoods. We must send the clear message that crime does not pay."
Senate Bill 1126 authorizes the State Attorney General, district attorneys and prosecuting City Attorneys to act on behalf of members of the neighborhoods impacted by gang activity and collect damages awarded in specific civil actions. The law also requires that all money recovered by returned to the community that had been terrorized by the gang.
The lawsuit names nine leaders of the 18th Street Gang, all of whom are currently in prisons around the country:
- Sergio Pantoja
- Frank Martinez
- Ruben Castro (serving two life terms in Colorado)
- Araceli Bravo
- Michael Pineda
- Jose Juan Alvarez
- Noe Chavez
- Efrain Ruize Torres
- Jose Morales Perez
18th Street is the largest gang in the city of Los Angeles. The suit seeks to recover money damages, in an amount provable in a jury trial, for any and all damages caused by the named gang members nuisance activities, including property damage, loss in property value, loss in the use and enjoyment of property and/or public parks, loss of income, emotional distress, personal injury, medical expenses and out-of-pocket expenses associated with residents and business owners forced to implement and/or increase security measures, such ad security guards, security cameras and security windows and doors.
"Today we're sending a message to gang leaders across this city," said Delgadillo. "If you break the law, we will not only find you, arrest you and put you behind bars, we will also take away your money, your homes, your cars, your businesses. And for the first time ever, we will return that money to the communities you have brutalized."