5th and Hill Taken Down, Downtown

March 14, 2007

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department announced the culmination last February of a major narcotics investigation, which netted 31 arrests, nearly a dozen guns, and narcotics by the pound, including heroin, valued at over $1 million on the street.

"Our target was the 5th and Hill criminal street gang," said LAPD Captain Andrew Smith. "With these arrests, we have cut off the gang’s head. Local heroin addicts are finding it much harder to find someone to sell them a balloon."

Local narcotics and gang officers worked for 10 months, focusing on the gang and its leadership. They identified Pedro Sanchez-Limon as the gang’s presumptive leader and major supplier; Alberto Blanco, "El Morro," as its transporter; Jamie Chacon Diaz, "Archie," as the gang’s accountant; and Abel Flores, "Barbas," as the gang’s enforcer. In addition, detectives arrested two women, Lourdes Valdez and Ruth Segura, who processed and packaged heroin for the gang.

Sanchez-Limon and Diaz had been deported previously but reentered the US illegally. Blanco had been twice deported. All four gang leaders have long criminal histories dating back to the 1980s.

The 5th and Hill gang formed in the 1970s from a group of day laborers and transients who began robbing pedestrians near 5th and Hill Streets in downtown Los Angeles. The gang transitioned to heroin sales in the 1980s and has been the major suppliers of heroin in Skid Row and the surrounding blocks since then.

In addition to arresting the major leadership, detectives arrested 25 more members and associates for a variety of narcotics and weapons-related charges. Police seized six handguns, 2 shotguns, and 2 rifles. They also booked $250,000 in cash, 85 pounds of tar heroin, most of it packaged into 45,000 balloons ready for sale. Detectives also nabbed 3 pounds of methamphetamine and 5 pounds of cocaine. The heroin alone was valued at $1.5 million on the street.