Raids in Modesto, Manteca net 1 of 2 suspected gang members

HAYWARD — A pair of Central Valley raids targeting two men police think are leaders of a notorious Hayward street gang netted one suspect in Modesto on while the other got away.

Samuel Soares, 22, was traced to a home in Modesto, where he was arrested Tuesday without incident.

He faces charges of drug trafficking, being a felon in possession of a handgun, conspiracy and several other drug-related charges.

“Sam basically succumbed,” said Hayward police Sgt. Steve Brown. “He threw his hands up and was taken into custody.”

A short time later, about 4 p.m., parolee-at-large Ruben Chavez, 32, fled from police at a house in Manteca and, after some evasive action, ran into a strip mall on West Yosemite Avenue, officials said.

Hayward officers, who were being assisted by state Department of Justice and federal agents, thought Chavez ran into a small bar called the Starlite Room.

“They were pretty optimistic he was in there,” Brown said. "They surrounded the bar and called everybody out.”

Bartender Janna Miller said she and seven patrons went outside, where officers “were everywhere, pointing guns, lying on the ground across the street with rifles.”

Officers searched the Starlite Room but did not find Chavez.

“They looked everywhere,” Miller said. “The jukebox was pulled away from the wall, drawers were all open, they moved the ceiling tiles. “... It was pretty funny.”

Police said Chavez should be considered armed and dangerous; they do not know where he may be headed.

He and Soares are thought to be involved in a recent homicide in Las Vegas, as well as various other crimes in the Hayward area. The gang that they belong to is thought to be responsible for several Hayward-area homicides in recent years.

Brown said Chavez and Soares are believed to have assumed top posts in one of Hayward’s notorious gangs after the April 2009 arrest of Antonio “Tiger” Gomez, who is serving an eight-year sentence for weapons and narcotics charges.

Chavez is described as Latino, 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact them at 510-293-7000.