The Los Angeles Times has an article about the indictment of local Vineland Boyz gang, which sounds closer to the Mafia than what one would typically think of as a street gang.
The Vineland Boyz, a tight-knit gang that grew out of a football team in the late 1980s, was one of the most violent street gangs in the San Fernando Valley, but it operated primarily as a business, trading in narcotics and high-end illegal weapons and stealing big-ticket appliances from construction sites, according to a federal indictment made public Tuesday.
They've been arrested under federal RICO statutes, which means it shouldn't be hard to get convictions because -- as I understand it -- the level of gang involvement required for guilt is very low. Good.
The gang absorbed several other street gangs, forged an alliance with the Mexican Mafia to boost its narcotics trade, and controlled large areas of the San Fernando Valley and Burbank, the indictment said.
The gang became the focus of law enforcement in November 2003, when reputed member David Garcia allegedly fatally shot Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka near the Bob Hope Airport and fled across the Mexican border. Garcia was captured 13 days later by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Obviously part of the alliance with the Mexican Mafia includes assistance for any Boyz member who needs to flee to Mexico... a sort of reverse Underground Railroad. I don't doubt that the gang also helped Mexican gang members come to Los Angeles.
In the Hat posted some history of the Vineland Boyz last year.
In a conversation with an SEU cop the other day, I was told that the VINELAND BOYZ gang is actually a migratory gang that used to claim NORTH HOLLYWOOD but were driven out or moved out due to pressure from other NH gangs. At one point in their move from NH to SUNLAND, they called themselves the VILLAGE BOYS. If anybody can shed light on this, feel free to correct me. This cop also pointed out that most VB players don't like to be inked and don't look like the average citizen's image of a gangster.
... They made the transition from ball players to tagging crews back in the mid 90s and by 1998 were heavily involved in drive-bys, slanging and tax collection. VB, of course, took a big hit when BURBANK PD and LAPD arrested dozens of players after PAVELKA's murder. While it may not be in shambles, VB isn't the hegemonic powerhouse it used to be. In the wake of police pressure, we heard that some shot callers in VB actually GREENLIGHTED every cop in the area.
An article about gang activity in Los Angeles from 1998 at StreetGangs.com also mentions the Vineland Boyz.
Despite its reputation as L.A.'s version of Nebraska, the Valley harbors nearly as many hard-core gang members per square mile as South-Central Los Angeles. The primary concentration is in Pacoima. Nearby rivals are next door in San Fernando, which has only a few gangs but many members. Gangs of interest include the Shakin' Cat midgets, who began aficionados of rockabilly music, and to the east, the Vineland Boyz, who have earned a nasty reputation for multiple drive-bys -- a Pacoima gang member estimates they`ve killed 26 and left at least four paralyzed. These killings have, in a twisted way, earned the respect of the other local gangs because the shootings were unprovoked and indiscriminate.