State

Officials hope gang stays quiet on Fourth

Gang investigators will be on the lookout this weekend for those violating a restraining order designed to restrict a street gang entrenched in a south Modesto neighborhood west of Crows Landing Road.

Patrol officers, however, will wait until they get trained next week before they begin to enforce the gang injunction against 10 members of the Deep South Side Norteños.

The Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force did not plan any specific enforcement of the injunction this weekend, said Froilan Mariscal, an investigator with the district attorney's office assigned to the task force.

"But we will have gang investigators working this weekend," he said. "Obviously, if they see any violations of the injunction, they will take action."

The Fourth of July, as it does in other Modesto neighborhoods, brings south Modesto residents to front yards to celebrate the holiday. Barbecues are fired up for afternoon grilling, and fireworks are sparked on the street as soon as dusk arrives.

Mariscal said authorities hope news of the gang injunction will keep gang members indoors this weekend and stop them from harassing or threatening residents.

"That would be the smart thing to do," Mariscal said. "That's the kind of thing we hope would happen. It sounds like the word is getting out among the people in the injunction zone."

He said the district attorney's office is hoping to organize community meetings to provide information and answer questions from residents within two to three weeks.

The injunction applies to a 2½-square-mile neighborhood bordered by the Tuolumne River on the north, Crows Landing Road on the east, Whitmore Avenue on the south and Carpenter Road on the west.

One man who has lived in the neighborhood since 1990 said he didn't know anything about the injunction. The 65-year-old man, who declined to give his name, hopes it will work.

"There are so much gang problems here that I don't want to get targeted," said the man, who lives on Cribari Drive just north of West Whitmore Avenue. "There's a lot of shootings here."

Threat of contempt of court punishment

Judge John G. Whiteside said Thursday that any documented gang member who has been served with a copy of the restraining order may be punished for contempt of court if he violates any of 14 banned behaviors, including hanging out in public places, wearing red clothing or staying out after curfew.

The restraining order was sought by the Stanislaus County district attorney's office, which is suing the gang under public nuisance laws.

Twenty men are listed in the injunction; only 12 of them, however, have been served with court papers. Whiteside gave two defendants, Armando Parra, 21, and David Tubera, 28, about two months to mount a defense against the lawsuit because they came to court to object.

Violating the restraining order is considered a misdemeanor and will result in an arrest with a sentence of up to six months in jail, District Attorney Birgit Fladager has said.

Diana Santallines, 23, moved with her husband and children from Ceres to their south Modesto home on Imperial Avenue about a month ago.

The young family moved from Sinaloa, Mexico, to the United States about nine months ago.

"I've heard about what happens here, and it scares me," Santallines said in Spanish. "I've heard about the rival gangs killing each other on the street. I think (the injunction) is good for us, more security for us."

Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies who patrol the neighborhood will not begin enforcing the injunction until they receive training next week, said Undersheriff Bill Heyne.

The same goes for Modesto police officers who patrol the area, said acting Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden.

"Not until our officers receive training and learn all the nuisances and requirements of the injunction," Harden said. "Our intent is to make that area safer for everyone who lives there."

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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