Suspected Gang Members Held in Drive-By Slaying

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles police arrested four suspected gang members Friday morning in a series of raids targeting a Reseda-based street gang believed to be responsible for a recent slaying and several drive-by shootings, robberies and auto thefts.

Miguel Hernandez and Alejandro Perez, both 18-year-olds from Reseda, were arrested in connection with an Aug. 4 drive-by shooting on Hart Street in Canoga Park that killed an alleged gang member, Ruben Rivera, 16, and wounded a 19-year-old man.

Hernandez and Perez were being held without bail at the West Valley Division jail.

A team of homicide and gang detectives who served search warrants at six residences in Reseda and Mission Hills also arrested two 16-year-olds, who were being held in Sylmar Juvenile Hall on suspicion of robbery, said homicide Detective Rick Swanston.

A handgun, ammunition and other evidence recovered during the searches are expected to link them to the additional crimes, Swanston said.

Police said they hope the arrests, which follow the arrests Tuesday of two 17-year-olds on suspicion of murder in connection with the Rivera slaying, will end a violent conflict between the Reseda-based gang and a Canoga Park gang.

"These two gangs have been going at it for several weeks now," Swanston said. "We hope this will have a positive impact."

Swanston said the Reseda gang appeared to have targeted the Canoga Park gang at random in a spree that began Aug. 1, when a teen-ager was wounded in the leg in a drive-by shooting on the block where Rivera was gunned down three nights later. Witnesses said they saw at least five youths riding in the car used in the Rivera shooting, Swanston said.

In addition, detectives believe that during the last several weeks the four youths were involved in two street robberies, at least five auto thefts, and an incident in which shots were fired into a building, Swanston said.

Friday's arrests were prompted by evidence obtained after the two juveniles were taken into custody Tuesday, Swanston said.

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