The Salt Lake Police Department's new gang-intelligence unit made what officers believe is its first gang-related arrest Thursday morning since the unit was formed two weeks ago.
An 18-year-old man, originally from the Los Angeles area, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on a misdemeanor warrant and for investigation of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, said Salt Lake police Sgt. Mike Fierro, who heads the unit.Fierro said the man, "believed to be active in a Hispanic gang," was arrested along with a 13-year-old boy who had escaped from a state-ordered group home. The arrest was made with the help of the Salt Lake Juvenile Probation Office.
The arrest enabled police to locate an 11-year-old runaway.
Fierro said he believes the youths were involved in gang-related activity but he declined to name the gang. "We don't want to give them publicity."
However, the Deseret News has learned through street sources that a Hispanic gang called Surenos 13, which originated in Southern California, has been recruiting local members, usually boys between ages 10 and 15.
According to police reports, the suspects in several recent shootings and car thefts are believed linked to the gang.
The gang unit, comprised of Fierro and another detective, is gathering information about street gangs in the area.
But Fierro said he also plans to be on the street as often as possible.
"We hope our presence among (the gangs) is going to make them aware that we're watching them."