A graffiti ring known by the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department as "AI" -- which stands for "Always Intoxicated" or "Artistic Illusions" -- was busted yesterday in downtown L.A.
Deputy Rene Gonzalez says that two AI members had been arrested about a year ago, but that he and other investigators didn't know the extent of the operation until recently. Yesterday at 7 a.m., they entered the homes of five additional AI suspects and slapped them with an arrest warrant.
Now, four more teenagers and one 20-year-old are awaiting trial for "several dozen" works of art/vandalization (the great debate!) on public-transportation vehicles around the city. Photos after the jump.
Gonzalez says their work -- which would cost up to $71,000 to repair -- is, for the most part, still open for public viewing.
"Most of it is still going to be up," says Gonzalez. "They're permanent etchings into the frames of buses and trains. ... But I have seen some of them grinded down."
He says the kids' punishment could range from county jail time to formal probation, depending on if the District Attorney decides they should be considered minors. Some are accused of various other crimes as well -- petty theft, attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
Sergeant Augie Pando told City News Service that the boys started tagging in 2008, and mostly did their work while commuting between home, work and school.
Marvin "Flame" Bonola, 19
Frankie "Mode" Lozado, 19
Andrew "Drue" Salazar, 19
Horvyn "Mesk" Henriquez, 20
And finally, what you've been waiting for -- the damage:
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More photos to come.