Crime

20 Idaho gang members, associates indicted on drug, weapon charges

Clockwise from top left: Christian Barker, Dezirae Hicks, Maria Garcia, Moises Joel Ortiz, Jailene Gonzalez, Amanda Paine, Joeseph Hovater, Javier Juan Garcia. Not all photos for those indicted in the gang sweep were immediately available Thursday.
Clockwise from top left: Christian Barker, Dezirae Hicks, Maria Garcia, Moises Joel Ortiz, Jailene Gonzalez, Amanda Paine, Joeseph Hovater, Javier Juan Garcia. Not all photos for those indicted in the gang sweep were immediately available Thursday.

Prosecutors hope they’ve helped eradicate the Sureno Mob Trece street gang in Canyon County, following 20 indictments this week against believed members or associates of the gang.

The Wednesday indictments came after several months of investigation. Five people face federal charges related to distributing meth and hydrocodone and/or unlawfully owning firearms. Another 15 are charged in Canyon County 3rd District Court with recruiting gang members, delivering drugs and/or supplying firearms to the gang, prosecutors said at a Thursday news conference.

U.S. Attorney for Idaho Bart Davis announced the indictments accompanied by law enforcement and prosecutors from both Canyon and Ada counties. Members of the Sureno Mob Trece street and prison gang are involved in drug trafficking, firearms trafficking and acts of violence, Davis said.

Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor said 13 of the people charged in Canyon County 3rd District Court are suspected members of the gang. The other two he described as associates.

Those indicted include Moises Ortiz, 19, of Nampa. Ortiz was also arrested back in April on suspicion of aggravated assault and unlawful discharge of a weapon after police say he shot at a rival gang member in Caldwell.

Others charged in state court include Javier Juan Garcia, William Jordan, Joeseph Hovater, Vanessa Rodriguez, Dezirae Hicks, Adolfo Ramirez, Danny Mascorro, Kaylee Sayasounthone, Maria Garcia, Juan Rangel, Joshua Rangel, Jailene Gonzalez, Melissa Garcia and Amanda Paine. Their ages and cities of residence were not immediately available.

Those federally indicted include Sebastian Levasseur, 22, of Nampa; Isaac Carreno, 20, of Nampa; Christian Barker, 18, of Meridian; Abel Negrete, 41, of Nampa; and Thomas Pinto, 21, of Meridian. Pinto and Carreno have warrants pending, but have not yet been arrested.

The Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force, a partnership between multiple law enforcement agencies, helps track gangs in Idaho and investigated crime related to the Sureno Mob Trece gang. The amount of gang violence occurring in Canyon County has dramatically dropped since its peak in 2004, authorities say.

Caldwell Police Chief Frank Wyant said Thursday his agency has seen a dramatic drop in gang violence since 2004. That year, he said, Caldwell had more than 100 drive-by shootings from July to October. In 2016, the city only had one drive-by shooting and the person believed responsible was arrested.

“That’s the difference that these partnerships make,” Wyant said.

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