A Mexican-American street gang with a violent history has been tied to the illegal immigrant accused of killing a California police officer.
An intense manhunt led to the arrest of Gustavo Perez Arriaga after he murdered Newman Cpl. Ronil Singh on Wednesday when he was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. The 32-year-old Mexican national is reportedly affiliated with the violent Surenos gang.
According to Fox News:
Investigators previously said that a photo of a man sporting a “$ur3no$” tattoo on his right arm was the suspect in Singh’s murder. Authorities said Perez Arriaga had two prior arrests for drunk driving.
The Surenos gang’s tentacles have spread from Southern California to other parts of the U.S. with members engaged in a number of crimes, including murder, extortion, narcotics trafficking, prostitution, human smuggling and robbery.
Immigration Customs and Enforcement had launched a nationwide crackdown targeting the gang and announced hundreds of arrests in 2014’s “Project Southbound,” according to ABC 7 Los Angeles.
“It’s an umbrella group here in Los Angeles, the Surenos gang — ‘Surenos’ is Spanish for ‘southerners’ — but it’s the street gangs that affiliate with the prison gang the Mexican Mafia,” ICE Special Agent in Charge Claude Arnold told the station at the time.
Surenos members reportedly take their orders from the 250-member Mexican Mafia, according to Fox News.
ICE’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Thomas S. Winkowski, noted four years ago that the gang already had “more than 30,000 members in the United States and its numbers are growing.”
A Facebook image of Perez Arriaga showed a tattoo on his right arm saying “$ur3no$.”
“Sureños are a group of Mexican-American street gangs with origins in southern California (south of Bakersfield),” a police gang recognition guide noted. “The gang has allegiance to the [California] prison gang, Mexican Mafia, aka “La Eme”.
Members of the gang “claim the color blue and the number 13—the number 13 being a reference to the thirteenth letter of the alphabet—M—which is the symbol of the Mexican Mafia,” Fox News reported.
Back in April, 10 alleged members of the gang were charged for their connection with seven murders in the Bay Area going back to 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported. Another gang member, who was arrested in July by immigration officials outside of Tucson, Arizona, was charged with human smuggling after five illegal immigrants were found inside his truck.
Perez Arriaga, who was arrested in Bakersfield, Calif., and charged with the murder of the Stanislaus County police officer, was being held without bail Saturday in Modesto, according to SF Gate.
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