Attorney General Brown Announces San Diego and Temecula Valley Asian Street Gang Busts

Friday, October 31, 2008
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

October 31, 2008
Contact: Michelle Gregory (916) 869-0413

SAN DIEGO–California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. today announced the arrests of three key gang members from the V-Boys and Tiny Oriental Crip gangs, two violent Southeast Asian street gangs “terrorizing California’s cities and towns.”

“We can never let up in our relentless campaign to crack down on the street gangs that are terrorizing California’s cities and towns,” said Attorney General Brown. “With the takedown of these key members of the V-Boys and Tiny Oriental Crip gangs, we’ve made significant progress in our work to make our streets safer for everyone.”

Starting at 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning, California Department of Justice Gang Suppression and Enforcement Team (GSET) agents joined other state and local law enforcement agencies in serving search warrants in two counties and arresting three leaders of the “V-Boys” and “Tiny Oriental Crip” street gangs. Both gangs have a long history of violence in San Diego County, but several of the gang leaders have relocated and now live in the Temecula Valley area of Riverside County.

The investigation started in November 2006, when GSET agents learned that the San Diego-based street gangs were active in the southwest portion of Riverside County. Prior to yesterday’s takedown, police have already arrested 27 gang members and their associates for murder, robbery, burglary, identity theft and other crimes.

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the San Diego Police Department’s Street Gang Unit and Mid-City Division and the Murrieta Temecula Regional Gang Task Force, served 7 search warrants on the Southeast Asian street gangs. Agents made 3 arrests and seized weapons, including rifles, a sawed-off shotgun, semi-automatic handguns, and a cache of ammunition. Agents also seized a Tech-9 machine pistol with the serial number filed off and night-vision equipment. Agents plan to seek additional arrest warrants for several suspects who were not found during the operation.

The gang demonstrated its potential for violence during a surveillance operation in November 2007. While agents were conducting surveillance on a suspect, Tri Minh Vo, the suspect and his companion, Cao Lam, entered a home in City Heights, a community in San Diego. They shot six people in the home, killing one of them. When the surveillance team and members of the San Diego Police Department’s Gang Suppression Team confronted the suspects, Cao Lam fired at the officers and struck a DOJ agent. Tri Minh Vo was taken into custody at the scene. Cao Lam fled on foot while continuing to fire at the responding officers. During the pursuit, Cao Lam was shot by officers and died of his wounds. The wounded DOJ agent has since recovered from his gunshot wound.

The California Department of Justice GSET program assists local law enforcement with severe gang problems that bleed into neighboring jurisdictions. State agents have recently shut down a Nortenos street gang, a violent Cambodian street gang in Stockton, and a Sureño gang in Atwater. Attorney General Brown’s special agents have also participated in recent crime crackdowns in East Palo Alto, Compton and Oakland.

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