Food trucks serving more than just food - Los Angeles
Police make 20 arrests for extortion of food trucks.
Apparently, food trucks in Los Angeles have been serving more than food to some customers. To some, they have been serving money. The LAPD says they have arrested at least 20 members of the notorious MS-13 street gang who have been extorting vendors for money.
Taco Trucks in the Hollywood area have been the target of shakedowns by the violent gang, MS-13.
There are 20 defendants, including four women and they are being held on bail ranging from $2 to $3 million each.
There are five others who remain under indictment, but their records have not been unsealed.
According to the records, the defendants would target smaller truck operators, typically those serving blue-collar workers. A yearlong investigation uncovered both weapons and drugs.
Gang members supposedly charged "rent" from vendors who sold food in territories claimed by the gang, and they were also forced to provide free food to gang members. The weekly rent was typically between $30 and $50.
If vendors refused to pay, they were threatened with violence including death.
MS-13 is reputed to be a particularly violent gang with ties to notorious drug cartels in Latin America. The gang is spreading across the United States, and has conducted operations as far away as the Eastern Seaboard.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Keywords: extortion, food trucks, Los Angeles, MS-13
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