Violence is nothing new in the food truck scene, where payoffs to local thugs and vicious truck vs. truck fighting is just the cost of doing business for some vendors. What's rare is when any of this violence actually makes its way into the legal system.

Reputed 18th Street gang members Miguel Morales, 19, and Dainler Baquevano, 24, yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of extorting local food trucks, reports The Informer.

The trucks in question worked the area around the LAPD's 77th Street station in South L.A.: Athens Park, Chesterfield Square, Crenshaw, Gramercy Park, Hyde Park, South Park- 51st and Menlo, Vermont Knolls, Vermont Park and View Heights.

Morales and Baquevano allegedly threatened vendors who refused to pay up and even threw a large rock through one truck's window.

Both men had prior criminal records, says the DA. Morales was convicted of robbery in March and Baquevano was convicted in 2005 for taking a vehicle. They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing January 26th.

LA Weekly