The Los Angeles County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) asked at least 35 Sheriff’s deputies to appear for interviews about alleged internal gangs.

In a May 12 letter to deputies, the OIG said it sought information about any possible internal gang membership or gang tattoos.

The OIG said it asked the sheriff’s department for a list of members within these alleged gangs to no avail and is now seeking help from deputies to gather evidence.

“Your cooperation is being sought because we believe you may have information regarding one of two groups that may be law enforcement gangs, commonly referred to as the Banditos and the Executioners,” the letter to deputies said. “The Sheriff’s Department is in possession of evidence that the Banditos and Executioners are exclusive, secretive, and may qualify as law enforcement gangs…”

Among the questions the office plans to ask deputies are “Do you have a tattoo related to the banditos or executioners anywhere on your body?” Additionally, they would ask where they got the tattoos, who was with them when getting them, who knows about the tattoos and who else might be in the alleged groups.

Inspector General Max Huntsman has long accused the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department of forming internal cliques that performed initiations and received specific matching tattoos.

In 2022, Huntsman alleged that at least 40 deputies had been linked to internal gangs, such as the “Bandidos” and “Executioners.” Then-Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Huntsman had no evidence of deputy gang activity and said he had an “unhealthy obsession with attacking the department.”

In February, newly-voted Sheriff Robert Luna formed an internal department to “eradicate” alleged deputy gangs, working with not only the OIG, but the L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commission (COC) on the new department.

The department was called the Office of Constitutional Policing and while Luna said he had no information on any of his deputies being in gangs, the public perception was hurtful and “until we prove otherwise, the problem exists.”

In March, the COC presented a report to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors with “27 recommendations to eradicate deputy gangs,” which was unanimously passed, as the alleged gangs have been an issue that current board members stressed throughout the tenure of former Sheriff Villanueva.

“Deputy gangs are indeed a cancer within the Sheriff’s Department,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said after the 27 recommendations were adopted. “There are lawsuits from former deputies and residents stating they were bullied, harassed, and intimidated by deputy gang members. I can’t stress how damaging this is and has been for our workforce, community members, and budget ─ with the latter costing taxpayers $50-60 million dollars a year.”One of the 27 recommendations was to “rotate” deputies to different parts of the county, which was reportedly disputed by the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), who represent more than 9,000 deputies, calling the measure unnecessary. In its rebuke of the recommendation, ALADS called the measure unnecessary as “gangs” were associated with former Sheriff Villanueva.

Upon hearing that he was mentioned by ALADS, Villanueva called their claims “unbelievable” through his Twitter account and accused ALADS of working for “their own profit.” Former Sheriff Villanueva then called ALADS “vendidos,” a Spanish term which roughly translates to “sellouts.”

Now the OIG believes it can retrieve evidence through these interviews, although it stated the deputies do not have to answer under the Fifth Amendment and possibly be called for interviews at a later time. The OIG also stated the deputies may conduct the interviews with their own legal representation.

The OIG letter did not disclose specific disciplinary measures for failure to appear to the interviews, but it said they would be scheduled as “official work functions” and lack of cooperation could be seen as “grounds for desertification.”






































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