Photo: Varrio Azusa 13 tries to cleanse California city of its black residents
Unsealed Tuesday, a federal racketeering indictment reveals that a Latino gang was working towards ridding a town in southern California of it’s black residents.
Wanting to prove themselves to the Mexican Mafia prison gang, the affiliated Varrio Azusa 13 gang intimidated, threatened and hurt the African-American residents of Azusa, California attempting to “cleanse” the predominantly working-class Latino city of the this specific minority. Gangs with the number 13 in their names are associated with the Mexican Mafia. The 13 indicates the 13th letter in the alphabet, “M”.
After police performed a number of early morning raids, more than 50 people were charged of the estimated 400 members. Federal prosecutors say those arrested took part is crimes ranging from drug trafficking to hate crimes.
U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. told the Associated Press, “We hope that this federal case will signal the end of this racist behavior and will help vindicate all of the victims who have suffered over the years.”
Thom Mrozak, the public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said, “What is underlying this whole thing is a belief held by some people that the Mexican Mafia ordered essentially a racial cleansing in some Latino neighborhoods.”
Court documents say that the gang has been active for around 20 years, and were often violent, and intimidating not only to rival gangs, but to average citizens.
“This gang has waged an insidious two decade campaign of violence fueled not only buy drug dealing, but also by racial hatred,” Birotte said. “We hope that this case will signal an end to all this behavior and will help vindicate all of the victims who have suffered over the years.”
According to a branch of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s office, known as Operation Safe Streets, there are 1,100 documented gangs in Los Angeles County, and Azusa’s “cleansing” is only the most recent indication of tension between Hispanic gangs and African Americans.
Back in 2009, more than 140 members of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang were charged for racially-driven crimes, while in 2007, members of two other gangs in the L.A. area were arrested for racial hate crimes.