After years of legal wrangling, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced this week that it is moving to dismiss charges against longtime anti-gang activist Alex Sanchez. One of the most respected gang intervention leaders in the country, Sanchez was arrested in 2010 on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder.
Key evidence presented to a grand jury in the 2009 indictment of Alex Sanchez, executive director of Homies Unidos, contained "errors" that made it necessary to dismiss the charges, federal prosecutors said in a court filing Monday. Although neither the prosecution nor the defense would specify what the errors were, court documents outline a case built heavily on recorded telephone conversations in which participants referred to each other by nicknames.
Federal authorities said that Sanchez was recorded as he helped leaders of the gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, plot the 2006 killing, and that he used the gang name Rebelde or Rebel.
Prosecutors filed the motion to dismiss Monday, and asked that the charges be dropped without prejudice, leaving the door open for them to file charges again in the future. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said it was likely that new charges would be filed against Sanchez.
Sandra Hernandez points out in a Los Angeles Times op-ed this morning that Sanchez isn't out of the woods quite yet. He's scheduled for a hearing next month, at which prosecutors have suggested that they will refile new charges.