Monday, August 14, 2006

RICO Suave and The Vineland Boys

Los Angeles, CA

Opening statements are expected to begin this week in a 159-page, 78-count criminal indictment against 49 members of the Vineland Boys street gang, a sophisticated and ruthless group that has been hitting Burbank, Sun Valley, North Hollywood, and Palmdale for years. The counts include murder, money laundering, conspiracy, witness intimidation, dealing in cocaine, crack, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Oh yeah, and racketeering. Fifty-five of the counts are RICO indictments.

It's kind of unusual to bring RICO to bear against a street gang. At first glance they don't fit the mold of a lot of organized crime. And when they started they were the joke of the Valley. But if look a little further these days, they start looking a lot more like the Mafia.

Over the years the Vineland Boys have become increasingly sophisticated, and deadly. Killing police, laundering money through legitimate businesses, even buying and selling homes through shadow owners. I can't even imagine how much money they've got locked away in real estate.

They've even been linked with ex-Burbank city councilwoman Stacey Murphy, who was dating a man who was selling guns to them. Police found cocaine and unregistered weapons in her home. The fact that she was with the city council at the time that a Burbank officer was killed by members of the Vineland Boys and that she knew and regularly hung out with some of the gang members, didn't help her case much. She and her boyfriend plead guilty of a variety of charges in December of last year.

Some of these guys are facing life. Others are facing prison sentences almost as severe. But with all of that, the Vineland Boys aren't going away. The group is hundreds strong, and though the series of arrests that brought these guys in quieted things down a bit, a new generation is re-establishing turf and getting back in the game.

Groups like this are like hydras. Doesn't matter how many of the heads you cut off, another one's always ready to pop up. I'm expecting to see a lot more cases like this in L.A.'s future.


JD Rhoades said... sounds like something from Bangers by Gary Phillips.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

I was thinking the same thing, Dusty. Phillips captures, disturbingly enough, a slice of L.A. life that's gritty, sleazy and truer to life than I'm entirely comfortable with.

Anonymous said...

Posting this on the net , Is immature you don't understanbd what the people go threw daily , Findidng out there dads our in jail think about what you post on the internet please half of the things you said arn't even facts .

Anonymous said...

yes i beleive if you do the crime you do need to do the time but some of these so called gang members where targeted only because they used to be in the gang many of them have not gang banged since they were teens burbank pd has assaulted many of these people only because one gang member made a stupid move!!they have a vendetta against this gang and have become gang members themselves they arent any better than the vineland boys gang themselves!!!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it seems like police will do anything to get an arrest and yet the people who are trying to fix their lives and grow up and get away from the past lives they had and now there are little copycats kids trying to live on the vineland boys searching for some power that is not even there. A friend of mine is paying the price of being involved in vineland he couldnt stop being a troubled kid and now he is paying for it,