Presented to you by Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
Robert Helfend

In a rarely seen twist of events, three Los Angeles based gangs, Rascals, Toonerville, and Frogtown, joined together — under a new name of the Arnold Gonzales Organization, or “United Nations” — to supposedly, conspire to assert control over drug trafficking deals and to carry out criminal orders that included extortion, racketeering, illegal gun possession, and murder.

The Arnold Gonzales Organization was named after a Mexican Mafia member who is serving a life sentence in prison for committing murder. Gonzales allegedly, unified the three once rival gangs in prison by sending coded messages to various members outside, then directed member’s actions and split drug profits. Apparently, the former leaders of each of the three gangs were arrested for racketeering and sent to federal prison in 2010, making the unification much easier for Gonzales.

Nearly two-dozen purported members have already been indicted and many have been arrested. However, one key figure in the unification and the so-called leader or “shot-caller” on the outside, Jorge Grey, has not been arrested, despite being a known member and conspirator. As of Thursday, Grey, along with two other members, Frutoso “Drowsy” Mendoza and another unnamed member, are still at large. Grey was Gonzales’s alleged “mouthpiece” to make orders and carry out drug crimes, as well as, collect “taxes” from drug dealers, in order to keep the whole gang in business.

A currently unnamed woman also aided Grey in making the deposits into Gonzales’s prison bank account, which is normally used for commissary items — toiletries, snacks, clothes, phone calls, etc. while serving time. The last known amount in the account was $133,000.

Many of the crime planning and organization took place at a business called Homeboy Industries, of which Grey was a former client. Founded by Father Gregory Boyle, Homeboy Industries is a “safe haven” for people who have run afoul of the law, to turn their lives around. Their mission is to provide jobs, support, and hope for such individuals and to improve the community through “jobs and education rather than through suppression and incarceration”.

When current CEO Thomas Vozzo learned that the alleged crimes took place at the safe haven, he remarked that he was saddened by the news and that Homeboy Industries “operate[s] with a zero-tolerance policy for illegal activity and believe[s] that people should be held accountable for their actions.”

Those who are currently indicted may face twenty years in prison, if convicted.

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