FBI Investigating Secret Society Of Deputy Gangs Within Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office

The FBI is investigating a secret society of tattooed deputies in East Los Angeles in addition to related gang-like teams elsewhere inside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a number of individuals accustomed to the inquiry stated.

The federal probe follows allegations of beatings and harassment by members of the Banditos, a bunch of deputies assigned to the Sheriff’s East L.A. station who model themselves with matching tattoos of a skeleton outfitted in a sombrero, bandolier and pistol. The clique’s members are accused by different deputies of utilizing gang-like ways to recruit younger Latino deputies into their fold and retaliating in opposition to those that rebuff them.

In interviews with a number of deputies, FBI brokers have requested concerning the interior workings of the Banditos and the group’s hierarchy, in accordance with three individuals with shut data of the matter who spoke to The Times on the situation that their names not be used as a result of the investigation is ongoing.

In specific, the sources stated, brokers have been making an attempt to find out whether or not leaders of the Banditos require or encourage aspiring members to commit prison acts, akin to planting proof or writing false incident studies, to safe membership within the group.

The brokers even have inquired about different teams identified to exist within the division, which has almost 10,000 deputies and polices giant swaths of the sprawling county. They have requested for details about the tattoos and practices of the Spartans and Regulators within the division’s Century station, and the Reapers, who function out of a station in South Los Angeles, in accordance with the sources.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva stated he couldn’t remark when requested concerning the FBI probe Wednesday. An FBI spokeswoman additionally declined to offer any data.

The secretive teams have been entrenched within the division for many years. Defenders say the cliques are innocent fraternities, likening them to close-knit teams within the army. But again and again, the deputy golf equipment have come below hearth for selling aggressive ways and an us-versus-everyone mentality.

A watchdog panel in 1992 pressed the Sheriff’s Department to handle the drawback. Two a long time later, a blue-ribbon fee sharply criticized the division for turning a blind eye and permitting the teams to make use of extreme pressure in opposition to individuals within the county jails and on the streets.

The Times reported final 12 months {that a} new tattooed membership of lawmen surfaced on the Compton station after a deputy there admitted below oath to having ink of a skeleton holding a rifle. The deputy — who was accused of extreme pressure within the deadly capturing of an unarmed man — stated as many as 20 of his colleagues have the identical tattoo.

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