Friday, June 01, 2007

How LA is Solving the Gang Problem

The following article about an L.A. gang leader's arrest pretty much describes to a "T" the basic failures of the Los Angeles City Counsel in their handling of the gangs in L.A.

From the LA Weekly News:

By Jeffrey Anderson

FEDERAL ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS AGENTS knocked first, then entered the Downey home of purported anti-gang activist Hector Marroquin on Wednesday, arresting him for selling silencers and weapons — including three assault rifles and a machine gun — to an undercover ATF agent.

The gun sales, some of which Marroquin, the founder of the gang-intervention group No Guns, transacted at his bar in the city of Cudahy, were captured on videotape and audiotape, said police officers present at his arrest.
The LA Times reports he was charged with the sale of an assault rifle, a machine gun, two pistols and two silencers.

So, was being an anti-gang activist just a cover for this goblin's gun sales? Did no one know he was a goblin?

Marroquin, an alleged associate of the prison-based Mexican Mafia, has grown accustomed to such intrusions, having been arrested many times over the years while at the same time being the founder and CEO of No Guns, which has received $1.5 million from Los Angeles City Hall via the much-criticized L.A. Bridges program designed by the Los Angeles City Council to keep youth out of gangs.
This is beyond funny, check out this goblin's family:

...his son, Hector Marroquin Jr., a former No Guns officer who police say is an admitted 18th Street Gang member, has been indicted on charges of home invasion robbery and faces up to 40 years in prison
And then there is his daughter,

who police say is a member of the Hawthorne L’il Watts Gang...
This family of street gang members convinces the city that they are a legitimate anti-gang organization, and get $1,500,000 for their efforts. You folks in LA are sure getting a nice ROI for your tax dollars.

Oh, but the trustee's of the common wealth did finally wise up -

No Guns finally lost its funding last year, after city officials found the organization had engaged in nepotism and misappropriation of public funds. Along with his wife, son and daughter, who police say is a member of the Hawthorne L’il Watts Gang, the Marroquins made more than $200,000 a year in salaries — public funds paid by L.A. taxpayers — to steer children away from gangs and help active gangsters escape the life.
Yep, they took away their funding. Umm... no mention of jail time, or even charges for misappropriation of public funds.

No wonder poor Mr. Marroquin was selling guns, he lost his job. Not only did he lose his job, but it was the cities fault that he lost his job. I think the City of Los Angeles owes Mr. Marroquin a apology, and maybe some compensation for forcing him out onto the street and into the gang lifestyle he had fought so hard against.

Is this an isolated incident? Was this just one case that slipped through the cracks of an otherwise effective program?

...a report by civil rights lawyer Connie Rice and independent audits have stated that L.A. Bridges, which has funneled more than $100 million to programs like No Guns, cannot show that it has reduced gang activity, and the city council lacks any meaningful measures for determining success. Just last week, another purported gang-member-turned-good, 30-year-old Mario Corona, with a group called Communities in Schools, also a recipient of L.A. Bridges money, was sentenced to 32 months in prison for transporting a large amount of methamphetamine and being a felon with a gun.
There was a time when LA was famous for giving us Hollywood and Disneyland. Soon LA will be best known for the gangs that have tentacles throughout the United States. It is the rare city that does not have street gang activity that, at the roots, is not traced back to LA.

The story according to the LA Times: Founder of anti-gang group arrested

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