OGDEN -- Are Treces becoming scarce?
Officials have hit something of a peak in serving members of Ogden's oldest street gang with the injunction ordering them off the street.
To date, 212 members of Ogden Trece have been served, but it's getting hard to find the remaining 136 gang members with their names on the injunction, said Lt. Scott Conley, head of the Ogden Metro Gang Unit.
"It's been slow getting the rest of them served," Conley said. "They are laying low. But that's the effect we want anyway."
The injunction, first of its kind in Utah, was signed Sept. 27, 2010, by 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones. The injunction will highlight next month's Northern Utah Gang Conference put on by the Ogden gang unit.
The injunction bans Treces from associating with each other in public, being in the vicinity of guns, drugs and alcohol and staying out past 11 p.m. The 331-page injunction documents Trece crimes of the past few years, including several murders in gang disputes, drug dealing, assaults, burglaries and a car-theft ring. The injunction approach has been in use successfully for 20 years in California, with limited success in a few other states.
Efforts to seek out Treces and serve the injunction on known addresses continues sporadically, along with serving it through police contacts such as traffic stops or other arrests.
Arrests for violating the injunction are also slowing down, Conley said.
"I think that says a lot," Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said of the backlog of Trece injunctions.
"That tells me they are staying off the street, and they are keeping out of trouble. The injunction is working without even being served."
"They're going outside the boundaries of the injunction," Conley said. "But we haven't heard from other cities yet to complain."
The injunction's boundaries are essentially the city limits but for the Ogden Industrial Park and small pockets at the city's perimeter.
But Smith said he's had two municipalities complain.
In both cases, one a local city and another in Davis County, he said the offending gang members turned out not to be Treces.
"The reality is there are gang members in every community," he said. "But it's not because of the Trece injunction."
He said he has asked all police departments in the county to keep him posted if Treces have become a problem elsewhere.
"We're just not seeing it," Smith said.
While the larger group seems to be abiding by the injunction, Conley said there is a smaller group that keeps getting arrested for violating it over and over again.
"They're just not buying it," Conley said. "They are not understanding the consequences. There's a handful of them who have been arrested under the injunction five or six times."
The injunction still has some legal hoops to clear, such as the legal technicality of having a judge label it a permanent injunction, instead of preliminary, even though it currently has no expiration date. That will amount to a civil trial with the handful of local defense attorneys who have challenged the injunction in 2nd District Court and the Utah Supreme Court, so far unsuccessfully, joined by the ACLU.
Constitutional questions raised include First Amendment concerns over free association rights, plus the viability of the criteria police use to label an individual a gang member, which can come with no criminal record.
Once those final touches are completed, possibly at the beginning of next year, Smith said his office will begin work on the next gang injunction. Whichever gang is causing the most trouble at that time, he said, will be targeted.
Smith will make a presentation on the injunction at the gang conference scheduled for Sept. 7-8 at the Megaplex theater at The Junction in downtown Ogden. Officials had hoped for some comprehensive statistical studies of the injunction's first year, but may not be able to release such numbers at the conference.
Other speakers include national gang specialists, such as Mary Lou Carillo speaking on the influence of gangs on the prison system and impacts on families of gang members.
Tamra Lucero, of Ogden, will speak on generational gang families. She joined Trece as a teen, then raised her children as members. She now speaks out against gang membership for the gang unit since her son was sentenced to life in prison for a 2007 gang murder in Ogden.
Representatives of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will discuss the emergence of improvised explosive devices used by gangs involved in narcotic and human trafficking at the Mexican border and other trends.
Other topics include marijuana grows in Northern Utah, changing focus of white supremacist groups, and regional updates, including a Trece component.
"Boozing, Doping, Clothing and a Touch of Spice," is the title of a scheduled presentation from Germaine Galloway, an Idaho officer, on gang trends, including drug use, attire and social networking sites.