A few hours after anti-gang expert Alex Sanchez and other alleged members of the notorious MS-13 gang were arrested in Los Angeles for federal racketeering charges on Wednesday, the non-profit organization Sanchez ran, Homies Unidos, took down its Web site without explanation. Now that has changed . . . somewhat.

Homies Unidos and Sanchez worked to reform gang members, which was why the Sanchez bust quickly turned into a national story. Some gang observers, however, weren't so surprised by the recent developments, such as Jack Dunphy at Patterico.com.

But by Saturday, June 27, the board of Homies Unidos had thrown its full support behind its executive director with a four-paragraph statement on the organization's Web site. It's still impossible to get any other information from the site about Homies Unidos — such as the fact that several Los Angeles politicians have ties to Sanchez.

“The Homies Unidos Board stands united in full support, behind our

executive director, Alex Sanchez and his family,” the Web site reads. “For the past 11 years,

Alex has been committed to helping bring about change in his community.

He is an exemplary leader, respected colleague and dedicated husband

and father. Just as we are confident in Alex's innocence, we are

confident that Los Angeles and the nation will remember that an

indictment is an allegation only. As stated in the FBI press release,

“Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in


Other bloggers and organizations are coming to Sanchez's defense, with the Echo Park Community Coalition denouncing the arrest as a “plain case of harassment.”

“We and other allied organizations are concerned that the federal

indictment against Alex follows in a long line of false charges against

him,” the EPCC statement reads, “and appears to be part of a pattern to target him for his work to

promote an alternative strategy for combating violence than that of the

LAPD which over the years have chosen iron-fist tactics over crime

prevention programs.”

According to the feds, MS-13, the violent gang with alleged ties to the Mexican Mafia, has operations around Echo Park. On Page Six of the federal indictment against Sanchez and others, it states that “many, though not all, MS-13 cliques operate within an area bounded by Sunset Boulevard to the north, Alvarado Street to the east, Olympic Boulevard to the south, and Gower Street to the west. MS-13 also maintains cliques in other parts of Los Angeles County.”

The indictment describes Sanchez as a high level member of the gang, naming him as one of four “shot callers of the Normandie clique of MS-13.”

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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