At least 20 burglaries in Huntington Beach blamed on South American gang, police say
The owner of a restaurant said his business was targeted by thieves who broke in and threatened him with a meat cleaver and a knife. He’s now seeking help in tracking down his assailants. A South American crime ring is responsible for the burglaries, police say. (Lori Van Buren Photo: Handout/Los Angeles Times)
It wasn’t until the second time they targeted him that the owner of a popular Mexican restaurant in Huntington Beach realized what was going on.
The burglars had broken an alarm, ripped out the lock and then set the place on fire. All of his money — $65,000 in the bank — was gone.
All this in just two days.
But they weren’t done. Over the rest of the week, the burglars again ransacked the business, stealing as much as $1,400 from safe-deposit boxes and more than $8,000 from a deposit box. They’d even damaged the restaurant’s equipment, said the owner, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
The suspect was South American gang members.
“We don’t even know why the thefts are happening,” said Huntington Beach’s Police Chief Jim McDonnell, who’s investigating the case. “We don’t have any suspects or a motive. But we do have that gang involved.”
Huntington Beach is just one of the cities targeted by an organized crime ring dubbed the “Laredo Six.”
Two of six Mexican Mafia-affiliated members arrested in February were indicted in June on drug trafficking charges involving more than 100 kilograms of heroin, and all six pleaded not guilty.
The Laredo Six are accused in a rash of burglaries and bank robberies dating back to 2012. The charges include more than 30 burglaries in Huntington Beach, South Gate and Riverside.
The group’s members have been arrested after using their gang ties and their ability to pay to rob dozens of banks across Southern California, including nine in the city of San Diego, in the past year alone.
Huntington Beach police are investigating these cases