QUEENS, NY– On Wednesday, April 14th, four men who were under investigation for being suspected members of the infamous MS-13 gang were taken into custody after New York Police Department (NYPD) officers observed them carrying a suspicious object.
According to reports, officers followed the vehicle the men got into, only to later discover that the long suspicious object that they were carrying was a woman’s body that was wrapped in a blanket.
Four 'MS-13 gang-members' arrested after body is found in car trunk
— 🇺🇸 President-Elect Stacy 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@1stacyphillips) April 15, 2021
FOX NEWS reported that NYPD officers were working with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents early Wednesday, April 14th when the officers saw four men exit a building in Far Rockaway, Queens, around 1:50 a.m., police and law enforcement sources said. The men appeared to be carrying a “large, unknown object” and placed it in the trunk of a Nissan Altima, the sources added.
Officers found the suspected gang members activity to be suspicious, and followed their vehicle for just under a mile before conducting a traffic stop on the Nassau Expressway near Bayview Avenue on Long Island.
As officers approached the vehicle, they allegedly smelled a foul odor. Upon further investigation, officers discovered a “human body with severe trauma” wrapped in a blanket in the trunk, sources said.
Medics were called to the scene where they pronounced the victim dead. As of this writing, police have not yet released the identity of the female victim.
Suspected MS-13 Gang Members Arrested With Woman’s Body in Trunk – Police https://t.co/OOHEaVpVMC
— Constitutional Nobody (@USSANews) April 15, 2021
A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told Fox News all four men were suspected MS-13 gang members and were being looked at as part of the ongoing HSI investigation. The source did not know whether the men were in the country legally.
According to a spokesperson, the Homeland Security Investigations New York office was working with the NYPD and other law enforcement partners at the time and reportedly:
“made several arrests this morning pursuant to a long-term investigation into certain acts of violence in the Queens, New York area.”
Yep, defunding the police sounds like a good move, doesn’t it.
4 suspected MS-13 gang members stopped after NYC police see them lugging blanket-wrapped body to car: sourceshttps://t.co/W8kIa5Bjv0
— I Am The Shadow (@IAmTheShadow1bc) April 14, 2021
As of Wednesday afternoon, no charges were filed against the men, police said.
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Prosecutor claims LA County DA Gascón ‘limiting charges’ against MS-13 gang member in brutal attack
April 2, 2021
LOS ANGELES, CA – A member of MS-13 was charged this week with assaulting a transgender woman Thursday in MacArthur Park, but the prosecutor says he was blocked from charging a gang enhancement under orders from the District Attorney.
Where are our federal judge's ruling to stop this nut??
LA County DA Gascón limiting charges against MS-13 gang member in brutal attack, deputy DA claimshttps://t.co/oCnMN9sYAn
— Garry Miller (@GMMAGAKAG) March 31, 2021
Gabriel Orellana, 19, was charged with one count of battery likely to produce great bodily injury following his arrest for the assault.
The suspect, along with another man who has not yet been arrested or charged, allegedly approached the woman, and shouted derogatory remarks before knocking her to the ground and striking her repeatedly in the head and torso, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos.
The woman was taken to a local hospital where she received stitches for open wounds.
Ceballos said that the crime should have been charged as a gang-related crime, but Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has ordered his prosecutors not to seek sentence enhancements.
“It was clearly a gang case. The gang allegation should have been filed. But I wasn’t allowed to do so.”
Oh- it’s just a poor, misguided MS-13 gang member who brutally assaulted a transgender woman. Gascon doesn’t allow the handling prosecutor to file the gang enhancement & where is the hate crime allegation. Gascon is making our communities unsafe. Time to wake up & recall this 🤡
— Not a Snowflake (@NotaSnowfkake) March 31, 2021
After being elected in December, Gascón prohibited the use of sentencing enhancements in most cases, which has drawn criticism from his own prosecutors and from victims’ rights advocates.
He has since reinstated enhancements “in cases involving the most vulnerable victims and in specified extraordinary circumstances.”
Orellana pleaded not guilty in court Monday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 6, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.
LAPD officials have expressed concern about violence against transgender women at the park. The attack was the latest of at least four attacks against transgender women at MacArthur Park since August. MS-13 considers the park part of their territory.
— Caroline (@Carolin06258167) March 30, 2021
Two days before the attack, the police held a “midnight stroll” with community leaders through the park, offering food and resources to transgender residents. LAPD Chief Michael Moore told the city’s civilian Police Commission last week:
“Midnight stroll has been a strategy that the department has worked with the transgender community for some years, typically much later in the evening and typically in the Hollywood area of our city.
“But given the outlandish attacks on two transgender women that occurred in the MacArthur Park area just months ago, and the underlying incidence of gang violence and intimidation in that community, we thought that it was appropriate to have that outreach and that engagement in that park.”
LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala, the department’s liaison with the LGBTA community, said she has been in several meetings with advocacy groups and service providers to gain ideas on how the department can address the violence.
“They’re asking for the ability to be out in public, to not feel that every time they’re out there, no matter what time of day it is, that they are being judged or feeling vulnerable.
“(MS-13), they’re in and out of that park and probably saw what they would think is a target of some kind,” she said of the attacks. “That’s something we’re feeling and hearing from the community.”
We ALL need to call, email George Gascon and let him know that WE will make sure he loses his position. He is incompetent and biased. pic.twitter.com/K8Du89BqG4
— Circle Back To Trump @csutton1959, SCMama on Gab (@csutton1959) March 30, 2021
Ceballos has been a vocal opponent of Gascón’s reforms. The 30-year prosecutor, who had a brief run for District Attorney before pulling out and endorsing Gascón, said he thought Gascón would take a more conservative approach. C
eballos said that did not happen:
“[Gascón acted] almost like, ‘I’m the savior, the messiah of LA’s criminal justice system and I’m going to do this without really consulting anyone. That was probably one of the dumbest things he could have done.”
MS-13 gang member charged in latest attack on transgender woman in MacArthur Park https://t.co/uZWy8ZLXpa
— J- (@JTTwweets) March 31, 2021
District Attorney Gascón has been under fire for a series of police reforms he unilaterally instituted after taking office.
In February, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant issued a preliminary injunction requested by the union that represents prosecutors to stop the DA from blocking sentencing enhancements in cases involving the Three Strike Law.
The judge said:
“The Special Directives violate the Three Strikes law by prohibiting prosecutors from pleading and proving prior convictions in new cases. Prosecutors have a ministerial duty to allege all prior convictions under the Three Strikes law.
“The Special Directives violate Respondents’ duty to prosecute violations of general laws under Government Code section 26500, which is mandatory, not discretionary.”
The LAPD and the Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Council conducted an LGBTQ+ community outreach, referred to as the “Midnight Stroll", to bring awareness to safety concerns due to a recent attempt murder hate crime of a transgender woman in MacArthur Park involving gang members. pic.twitter.com/AKJPqoNUOR
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) March 24, 2021
In a rare instance of support for a prosecutor, the American Civil Liberties Union defended Gascón’s reforms during court arguments, saying the enhancements are often used to force defendants into pleas bargains:
“Although most prosecutors review their cases and exercise their discretion to charge only the appropriate charges and enhancements, some overcharge their cases, piling on counts and enhancements.
“For example, prosecutors routinely file gang enhancements for the most mundane crimes committed by gang members even though the crime was not committed for the gang’s benefit. This practice of overcharging and routinely filing felonies is particularly prevalent in juvenile cases. Prosecutors routinely choose to charge the most egregious of charges that impact the most vulnerable of clients.”
Two Charged in Connection to Brutal Attack of Transgender Woman in MacArthur Park https://t.co/8rCXtVxv8m
— Carolyn Marie Weiss (@TransDocent) December 7, 2020
The widow of LA County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen, who was murdered in 2016, now chairs a campaign to recall Gascón. Tania Owen, a retired officer, said:
“My husband for 29 years fought for victims’ rights to the point where he actually laid down his life for victims. I can tell you that no victim I ever encountered has ever said: ‘We don’t want these individuals held accountable and responsible to the full extent of the law.’”
California Penal Code 186.22 titled the “California Gang Sentencing Enhancement” makes it a crime to “participate in a street gang and to assist in any felony criminal conduct by the gang’s members.”
The enhancement states:
“Anyone who commits a felony for the benefit of a gang will receive a mandatory prison sentence . . . in addition and consecutive to the penalty s/he receives for the underlying felony.
“Depending on the circumstances of the offense, Penal Code 186.22(b) PC could mean an additional two (2) to fifteen (15) years, or even twenty-five (25)-years-to-life, in prison…even if you’re not a gang member, and even if you aren’t the individual who was most directly responsible for committing the underlying felony.”
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