Idaho's new U.S. Attorney Bart Davis says he believes a new offshoot of the street and prison gang Surenos is close to being eradicated after a series of indictments in state and federal court.
During a press conference Thursday, Davis said five people believed to be members or associates of the Sureno Mob Trece gang were indicted in Idaho's U.S. District Court on drug and firearms charges on Wednesday. Another 15 people were indicted in Idaho's 3rd Judicial District the same day, most charged with conspiracy to recruit a gang member.
The indictments came after a months-long investigation by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force.
"I think this will effectively dismantle the Sureno Mob Trece and remove it from our community," said FBI senior resident agent Doug Hart.
Most of those indicted are from the southwestern Idaho city of Nampa and surrounding communities. Not all of them have been arrested yet, said Davis, and none have entered a plea. It was not known if any of those charged have hired attorneys.
"We have and will continue to have zero tolerance when it comes to gangs in this valley," said Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Taylor. "We've been down this road before, and we don't want to return."
The cities of Nampa and Caldwell were once hot spots for gang violence in Idaho. In the mid-2000's, there were as many as 200 drive-by shootings a year in the region. The violence led to the creation of the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force, which focuses on complex investigations of gangs and gang-related crimes.
Drive-by shootings are now rare in the region, with only one reported in Caldwell last year. Area law enforcement officials also say gang activity has dropped dramatically over the last several years.
The Sureno Mob Trece gang is believed to have formed last year as an offshoot of the Sureno street and prison gang, which operates across the nation but has an especially large presence in the western United States.