Eight suspected members of the Puente 13 street gang were arrested Tuesday morning by federal authorities in a racketeering and drug case.
The feds allege that the group was involved in violent crimes and selling meth to help fund La Eme — the Mexican Mafia.
The 22-count indictment names 17 defendants. Sixteen are charged with taking part in a RICO conspiracy.
“Puente-13, a street gang that was formed in the City of La Puente approximately 60
years ago. Puente-13 claims as its turf a large portion of La Puente, as well as
unincorporated parts of the San Gabriel Valley and portions of nearby cities such as
Hacienda Heights, Walnut and West Covina,” according to U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek. “The gang is comprised of approximately 600 members and includes at least 14 subsets or ‘cliques.’”
Among those arrested was Rafael Munoz “Cisco” Gonzalez, the group’s alleged kingpin.
“Violent drug gangs continue to wreak havoc within our communities,” said Drug
Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum. “Today’s
arrests send the message that law enforcement will continue to work together to take
back our neighborhoods and get violent drug traffickers and gangs off our streets.”
Four of the defendants in the federal racketeering case are eligible for the death
penalty because of their involvement in the 2006 murder of the rival gang member identified as David Dragna, 44, who was collecting taxes without authorization.
Arrested were Cesar Munoz “Blanco” Gonzalez, 36, of Rowland Heights, Steven “Flaco” Nunez, 30, in state prison, Angel Frank “Smiley” Torres, 34, also in state prison.
“Authorities are continuing to search for two defendants named in the RICO
indictment – Adrian Rodriguez, also known as “Trips”, 25, of Huntington Park; and Henry
Rick Zabala, 40, of La Puente.”