Tue. May 21st, 2024

Santa Ana Gang War?

A war between two small Santa Ana gangs – the 5th Street and 17th Street Gangs, left a 4-year-old child dead way back in 1989.  The slaying came after “a moderate amount of gang activity, moderate to heavy” during the summer, according to the L.A. Times.

Sounds a lot like this summer doesn’t it?  Once again we have a number of Santa Ana gangs at each other’s throats.  Their graffiti is everywhere and it is taking a long time, sometimes over three weeks, for the City of Santa Ana’s anti-graffiti contractor to paint over the gang tagging.

Santa Ana Graffiti

Graffiti is bad enough – it makes our city look terrible.  But leaving it up for weeks is adding to the simmering gang wars in our city.  One gang tags then another crosses their tag out and adds their own.  The cycle will worsen into violence before long.

Pete Ojeda and his Carnals
Pete Ojeda and his Carnals

None of this is new to our city. In August of 1992, the local Mexican Mafia leader and local heroin hype, Peter “Sana” Ojeda, called a meeting in El Salvador Park (east of the Santa Ana River at Civic Center Drive and Raitt Street) of representatives of more than 50 rival Hispanic gangs. Leading the meeting of several hundred gang members was Mexican Mafia members Peter “Sana” Ojeda, Mike “Musclehead” Salinas, Raymond “Champ” Mendez, Ambrose “Sporty” Gil, and La Eme associate Arturo “Art” Romo, according to Police Mag.

After the infamous El Salvador Park meeting, Art Romo organized the “United Gang Council” to support La Eme and “Sana” Ojeda’s gang edicts. This ordered “peace treaty” was actually the enforcement of the Mexican Mafia rules of engagement and taxation. These edicts did not stop gang murders; they only prohibited the drive-by shooting tactic. But the gullible politicians and the media ate it up like piranhas on a pork chop. They treated the Mexican Mafia’s gang truce leaders as if they were neighborhood heroes.

Santa Ana 2015 GRIP

The City of Santa Ana responded as well, back in 1992, with a plan to increase recreational programs for youth, set up a hot line for reports of gang activity and expansion of a self-esteem program to more local schools, according to the L.A. Times.

Most of the plan was never implemented.  In the first five months of 1993, 15 people were slain in gang violence–six more than were killed during the same period in 1992.

“All the programs aren’t going to change anything,” said a former gang member who refused to give his name. “It’s la vida (the life) in Santa Ana.”

Trask Gang Tag 2

The programs continue today, with different names.  Project Pride is now the OCDA’s GRIP program, for example. But they don’t seem to be working any better today than they did in 1992-1993.

I have no confidence in our City Council or our Chief of Police and City Manager.  If they can’t even control the graffiti in our town what hope is there that they will solve our city’s eternal gang problem?  What will they do when the gangs start killing innocent residents of our city?



By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

3 thoughts on “Is the summer of 2015 a rerun of the Santa Ana gang war that heated up in 1989?”
  1. Why dont more people use the city’s mobile phone app to report issues? I used it to report graffiti and it was gone the next business day. It’s called “mySantaAna” and has the city’s logo as the image.

  2. For the past 26 years I’ve lived in the same neighborhood, Logan. It was once one of the most dangerous places to visit, or simply pass by, so much so that even to this day people are still afraid of this neighborhood. Today, its a different story. I can literally fall asleep in the local park, its that quiet and peaceful. I believe the main reason why the violence between gangs has decreased is related to sports and after school activities for students. The local handball courts draw a lot of attention from the local neighborhood kids and motivate other kids, teens, and etc. to play. I’ve seen firsthand how the children have told their troubled friends that they’re staying at the park to play handball, thus avoiding any illegal activities.
    The city is supporting the development of new apartment complexes, and housing in dense gang troubled neighborhoods. Its ludicrous and naive to believe that the increase in population per area will be resolved by flooding the neighborhoods with more money in the form of housing. Teens, kids, and even adults need an outlet, or area where they can enjoy themselves, such as parks.
    You can drive through the city of Santa Ana and witness kids playing their hearts out on concrete floors meant for cars to be parked. Its sad and infuriating. Santa Ana needs more parks, and they need to listen to the kids, not some studies based on a minute sample size. Also, the main reasons why the plan to increase youth activities hasn’t worked to deter gang violence are because many of the so called programs aren’t free, the activities that are being offered aren’t interesting to youth. Who wants to play tug of war at the age of 15? Come on,

  3. One big problem is the antagonizing of the police force. Granted, they’ve brought that upon themselves in a few ways (such as the pot-eating video), but when an “organization” like Santa Ana Copwatch (lives by the creed “f*ck the police”) has so many fans, it’s only going to encourage more gang violence/power.

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