In a coordinated operation, King County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives – with help from the ATF Violent Crimes Task Force – arrested five male gang members over several days last week.
The suspects – ranging in age from 17 to 19 – are now charged with 2 counts each of Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the First Degree.
Police say that two of the defendants are Juveniles, but are being charged as adults. All of the defendants are charged with only 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the 1st degree.
The defendants are:
- Francisco Montero (5/1/98)
- Fray-Martin Garcia (9/23/99)
- Sergio Salgado-Vanata (11/11/00)
- Jesus Terrazas-Avalos (12/27/99)
- Ismael M Martinez (08/28/2000)
All are confirmed United Lokotes gang members, also known as UL’s. UL’s are associated with the Surenos street gang.
According to King County Major Crimes Detectives, the UL’s have been locked in a deadly and dangerous feud with rival gang “Varrio Locos” (VL’s) for the past year.
During the course of their investigation, KCSO Detectives obtained a search warrant for the defendants’ Facebook accounts. Investigators discovered that the 5 males often communicated their plans through a chat group they designated “for shooters only.”
In April 2017, messaging through Facebook, the five defendants conspired and agreed to kill any VL gang member they came across. One suspect referred to their road trips in search of VL members to shoot as “duck hunting”.
On April 11, 2017, Detectives determined the five defendants accelerated their deadly plot after learning fellow UL gang member, 19 year old Artura Marcial Alvarez, had been murdered by VL gang members in Federal Way. Three men have been charged with the Alvarez murder.
On April 12, 2017, just 8 hours after Alvarez was killed, VL gang member/associate Erasmo Plata was shot to death outside a convenience store at SW 136th Street and Ambaum Boulevard South in Burien.
Later that same day, a female believed to have been the driver in the Alvarez killing, suffered a graze wound to the head from a flurry of bullets fired at her as she sat in her van in the South Park neighborhood.
24 hours after these violent acts, the Facebook account activity obtained by search warrant revealed defendant Montero sent a message bragging about targeting rivals. Defendant Montero wrote “We just got one of the VL’s last night”.
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht praised the great police work of the Major Crimes team.
“Hundreds of hours of detailed investigative work lead to these arrests” Johanknecht said. “We believe we have now sent a strong message to other gang members that retaliatory violence will not be tolerated and will be met with swift and decisive law enforcement action.”
The suspects will be arraigned on May 10, 2018 at 9 a.m., Courtroom GA, at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.