SOUTH GLENDALE — A 46-year-old reputed gang member was arrested Thursday morning on a $100,000 warrant for vandalizing an elevator at the Americana on Brand, which was likely done in retaliation for the incarceration of 20 Toonerville members three weeks ago, police said.
With an arrest warrant in hand, Glendale Police detectives went to Alonzo Loera’s one-bedroom apartment on the 500 block of Windsor Road, which he shares with his father, and took him into custody.
Loera appeared from the apartment with blood-draining from several needle marks on his hands. Other needle markings were on his legs.
“He’s been a heroin addict for years,” said Sgt. Scott Bickle of the Glendale Police Gang Unit. “All he does, is for drugs.”
A large, infected open sore on his arm was likely going to need medical treatment, Det. Rafael Quintero said.
Loera tried to flush a needle containing brown-colored heroin down the toilet as police knocked on his apartment door, but he was unsuccessful after authorities retrieved the needle as evidence.
Loera, a reported Toonerville gang member who goes by the nickname “Chino,” was captured two weeks ago on surveillance video at the Americana etching the gang’s initials into the mall’s elevator, said Glendale Police Sgt. Scott Bickle. The vandalism came nearly a week after multiple police agencies, including Glendale’s, raided the homes of suspected Toonerville gang members wanted in connection with four murders, assaults, narcotics and weapon-related charges.
The raid was the culmination of an investigation that started when Glendale police detectives began looking into the death of a Mongol gang motorcyclist, who was gunned down Oct. 8 on the Glendale (2) Freeway.
Glendale Police detectives wire-tapped some Toonerville gang members’ phones for six months to retrieve details about their criminal activities.
On Thursday, Glendale police detectives and other officers were briefed about Loera’s past before going to his apartment to arrest him.
“He’s a heroin addict,” Bickle said. “Make sure you wear gloves when you’re putting your hands in his pockets and be careful for needles.”
Bickle advised police to keep a close eye out for their surroundings when they approached the apartment. Det. Eric Meyer told fellow officers if anyone was severely injured, they should go to Huntington Memorial Hospital.
“Just maintain your perimeter,” Bickle said.
The officers wore helmets and walked in formation as they approached Loera’s home before scattering throughout the apartment complex with their guns drawn.
Loera’s father came out first from the dark apartment, then Loera, who was shirtless, exhibiting numerous tattoos on his chest. Loera has been a member of Toonerville for more than 20 years, Bickle said.
“He has been in and out of prison and county jail basically his whole adult life,” he said.
The father, Frank Loera, told police that another search occurred about a year ago.
Frank Loera has owned a transmission repair shop on South Glendale Avenue for 35 years, but a lot of his earnings go to his son to pay for drugs, Bickle said.
The constant cash flow to his son has forced them to reside in the cramped apartment.
Loera was booked on suspicion of vandalism and possessing heroin, police said.
After Loera was arrested, detectives conducted probation and parole compliance checks on the homes of known Toonerville gang members.
They went to the Glendale home of Eduardo Castaneda, a reputed gang memberon probation for possessing a switchblade, Meyer said.
Police searched his home and car, but didn’t find a violation.
Castaneda was one of those named in a Toonerville injunction, which Glendale and Los Angeles city officials got earlier this year against certain gang members.
The court order forbids Castaneda and others named in the injunction from associating with each other within a so-called Glendale Safety Zone. The zone encompasses a 4.5-square-mile area that includes Verdugo Road, south Glendale, the 2 Freeway, Glendale Boulevard into Los Angeles and a separate 1.25-square-mile area of Tujunga just north of Foothill Boulevard.
The areas identified as the safety zone were known hangouts for Toonerville members.
The injunction forbids Toonerville members from selling or possessing drugs, weapons and graffiti tools, using lookouts, trespassing, loitering and intimidating people who live and work within the zone.
They must also obey a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew.