Playing Stanton Gang Roulette as District Attorney Announces New Gang Injunction

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The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) is today heralding the 11th injunction brought against an unnamed "multi-generational gang" in Stanton that is "one of the oldest in Orange County, dating back to the early 1950s."

The OCDA description fits Hispanic street gang Big Stanton, but right smack in the middle of injunction-zone boundaries is the territory of Big Stanton's rival gang, Crow Village.

The Anaheim Police Department gang unit identifies a third Stanton gang, Royal Samoan Posse, although the cops peg Crow Village as the biggest gang in Stanton with at least 128 members, followed by Big Stanton with 68 bangers--as of a 2009 report the department submitted for an award.

Meanwhile, my colleague R. Scott Moxley wrote of a fourth gang in Stanton, 18th Street, which is actually all over California.

Stanton's 18th Street Gang Used SUV as Lethal Weapon in Turf Battle

For 3.5-square-mile Stanton, them is a lot of gangs!

Gang injunctions, which civil rights lawyers have fought bitterly in California courts, allow documented gang members served court documents to be arrested if they are caught together in public view anywhere within an established "safety zone" except at school or in church.

Those served injunctions also face arrest for intimidation, use or sale of drugs, consuming alcohol in public, possessing guns or dangerous weapons, fighting, trespassing, blocking free passage, flashing gang hand signs, wearing gang clothing, holding burglary tools or acting as a lookout for other gang members. They must obey curfews, not talk ill of police and abstain from tagging, other graffiti or vandalism that, gang experts caution, can be used to intimidate rival gangs.

The .37-square-mile safety zone established under this injunction is south of Katella Avenue, north of Chapman Avenue, west of Beach Boulevard and east of the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, and not only within those boundaries is Crow Village territory but Stanton City Hall.

According to the OCDA, which states the injunction was served to 27 active gang members:

Between January 2009 and June 2012, criminal activity in the Stanton Safety Zones resulted in the documentation and/or arrest of gang members for crimes including: one murder, one attempted murder, 29 incidents of gun or dangerous weapon possession, four participants involved in assaults, 53 drug violations, three incidents of fighting, 11 incidents of graffiti or vandalism tools, 54 for associating with other members of the same criminal street gang, four for intimidation, nine for alcoholic beverage in public, four for displaying gang hand signs, 12 for wearing gang clothing, 15 for burglary or possession of burglary tools, five for robbery, 14 for curfew, one for carjacking, and 20 for failing to obey all laws.  Additional crimes were committed but not documented because many people that live and work in the neighborhood are reluctant to cooperate with police for fear of retaliation from the gang.

Besides Stanton's gang, there are injunctions against 10 gangs in Anaheim, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Orange, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Ana.

By the way, according to an insightful 1990 Orange County Register story by Robert Chow, Big Stanton's roots actually date back to the 1930s. He writes of youths in the so-called Big Stanton neighborhood northwest of Katella Avenue and Gilbert Street first facing off on the baseball diamond against kids from La Colonia, a neighborhood about three city blocks away near the Anaheim side of Katella and Beach.

After World War II, many in those communities adopted the "pachuco" lifestyle, dressing up in baggy zoot suits and driving flashy cars. Competition between Big Stanton and La Colonia  then shifted to that of rival car clubs. The Anaheim outfit changed its name to Los Innocentos de Katella while their Stanton counterpart went by Latin Gents.

A Hatfield and McCoys-type rivalry began being played out, usually at dances that devolved into brawls, in the 1950s. It started getting bloodier in the 1960s, and by the 1980s both had become street gangs that reverted back to the names of their communities.

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