Guest Entry by CaliGirl9!
On October 23, federal prosecutors unsealed a document charging 29 individuals, each with alleged connections to the MS-13 street gang, with 52 counts, including charges for attempted murder, murder, drugs and firearms trafficking, robbery, assault, witness tampering, and car theft. Twenty-two face federal racketeering charges, which are punishable by life in federal prison without parole. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello, who unfortunately had to share the press conference with two of SF’s “finest,” Police Chief Heather Fong and DA Kamala Harris, aka the DA whose motto is “I won’t use the death penalty ever.”
Perhaps in a bid to make her look all rough and tough and into law enforcement, Harris took the occasion to announce state murder and robbery charges against four members of MS-13 in the July 31 stabling death of 14-year-old Ivan Miranda during a robbery over an iPod. Cesar Alvarado, 18, Walter Chinchilla-Linard, 22 and two juveniles, ages 16 and 17. Guillermo Herrara, age 20, was arrested and charged in yet another slaying, that of 30-year-old Armando Estrada on July 11.
The individuals under indictment include senior leaders of the 20th Street clique branch of MS-13. This deadly branch of the gang is responsible for five slayings in SF’s Excelsior district this year. Federal investigative authorities set up an export warehouse in Richmond (an East Bay city) where undercover agents bought guns and vehicles said to be stolen by gang members and their associates.
A total of 31 individuals are under indictment (federal or state); two were already in custody and three remain at large.
Russoniello said that prosecutors would seek "maximum possible penalties so we don't have to play cat and mouse in the future.”
One of the individuals under indictment is Edwin Ramos, the brute who wiped out 2/3 of the Bologna family this summer because the Bologna’s car momentarily impeded Ramos’ ability to complete a turn onto a street. Awaiting charges is Eric Lopez, who is in custody on federal weapons charges after he was arrested placing a gun out of a vehicle driven by Ramos. That weapon was used in the March 29 slaying of Ernad Joldic and Phillip Ng. As you may recall, Ramos was released because DA Harris said there was no evidence Ramos knew Lopez had the gun in his possession.
This sweep, finally undertaken after a three-year investigation known as “Operation Devil Horns” in reference to the gang’s sign, also reached to Guam, where one suspect, John Briez, was about to board a plane headed to the Philippines. In his possession was more than $10,000.
Naturally SF’s very vocal immigrants’ rights community was outraged, outraged I tell you! SF’s Board of Stupes member Tom Ammiano’s office claimed that federal agents brutally attacked a woman during one raid, “causing her to lose consciousness and require hospitalization.” An ICE agent quickly disputed and countered the accusations, saying the woman fainted, and was treated by medical personnel and released.
(This was all avoidable. If the fainting woman hadn’t been hanging out with gangstas, she would not have been in a location to be raided by federal agents and cause her to faint dead away in the shock that she was in the company of gangstas!)
(By the way SF readers, I understand there is another candidate you can vote for to rid yourselves of Ammiano. Might I suggest that San Franciscans vote all incumbents OUT of office and start with a clean slate? Your formerly beautiful city is a laughingstock pigsty, bordering on Third World and flat-out dangerous to visit. Personally I avoid it as much as possible. Also, if you have time to check out the links to some of the stories I used to help me write this editorial, please read the comments. For such a liberal city, San Franciscans have had enough!)
I have no problem with ICE getting on its horse and doing the right thing with this well-investigated raid. But there is another side to the illegal immigration story, that of those people who have two crimes against them—coming over the border illegally AND using someone else’s social security number—but no history of violent crime or crime against another person or property. I know that a crime is a crime, but honestly I’d rather ICE spend time rounding up the thugs—I am sure there are plenty all over the U.S., and not only thugs of Hispanic background—and perhaps help the people in the executive and legislative branches of government come up with a viable solution to the problem of illegal entry into the U.S.
Even though I have been a “victim” of someone using my social security number nearly 20 years ago, all I had to do is tell the authorities that I could not have possibly had a job in a field in the southern Central Valley in the same period of time I was working as a nurse elsewhere in coastal Northern California. That “unreported” income was immediately taken off of the ledger as unreported income.
We all agree that securing the border needs to be Priority One. With the economy the way it is, it’s going to be easy to put that one aside. But think of the huge public works project designing and building a nice fence, moat or unclimbable cliff along with some nice comfy guardhouses and holding jails between the U.S. and Mexico will be how many people will be employed!
Raids like that in Postville, Iowa, earlier this year are parts of ICE’s mission. Last week, the first of the 388 workers taken who were taken into custody at the Agriprocessors meat plant raid were deported. There is no doubt the injustices that these workers suffer is real, nor does that mean employers who allow such horrible treatment of humans beings come away scott-free, but that does not change the fact that a crime has been committed by those people being in the U.S. illegally. I would much prefer these workers be given some sort of identification to let them stay in the U.S. as long as they stay out of trouble and immediately begin a path to a viable green card. (Notice I did not say move them to the head of the line toward citizenship—a totally different issue. Let’s do a better job of identifying who is here illegally and then keep the cream of the crop, those who have jobs, those who do not get arrested for gang activity or running down soccer moms while drunk. If you screw up, you are gone. Period. And the nice big fence we’ve built in the meantime will keep you where you belong.)
When my mother’s family came from Europe in the 1950s, they were cautioned to keep themselves out of trouble lest they be deported. And they did. That simply needs to be enforced. Why is that immigrants of European extraction take this seriously yet those from Latina America (or even Southeast Asia to a point) really don’t seem to take this admonition seriously at all? (Vietnamese coffee houses that operate on a cash-only basis, I’m looking at you. Pay your damn taxes!)
Look, there is no way in this day and age that a round-up of everyone here illegally, and then a mass deportation, is going to happen. And even if El Salvador or some Southeast Asian country today declared war on the U.S., or Mexico attacked Tucson, Arizona with M-80s, citizens simply would not allow a mass round-up of possible “sympathizers” as was done in WWII with the Japanese and the Germans. I think we can all agree that is wrong. (In this election year, remember the political party in charge when those round-ups were ordered and people were housed in internment camps, and the legislative branch and American citizens let it happen. How much we’ve forgotten and forgiven in over 60 years!)
This week, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former candidate for president of Guatemala Rigoberta Menchú was in California, touring community colleges and universities and autographing copies of her book, I Rigoberta.* One of the things she said late in her speech was directed at those illegally in the U.S.—the “no person is illegal, we all live on this planet together” statement, but then went on to say,
“I know that many immigrants are living in great fear each day because any day they can be deported ... If you get deported, go with a smile. You should bring everything you learned here, all the opportunities, and bring them to the service of your people.”
Isn’t that a novel idea?
*Okay before you all think I’ve gone soft, I do know about the controversy surrounding the truthfulness of Ms. Menchú’s autobiography. However, even if parts of her story weren’t necessarily lived by HER, the atrocities that landowners inflicted on Mayans and other native Central Americans during Guatemala’s civil war were very real. What I don’t understand is how Hispanic audiences can cheer Menchú’s message while the people dishing out the bad things to those native peoples are … other Hispanics. Where is the outrage?
MS-13 gang suspects arrested in Bay Area raids
Racketeering, murder charges filed against 29
Alleged gang members indicted after NorCal sweep
Candidates need to speak out on immigration
Guatemalan Mayan political leader speaks in Pittsburg