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Alleged gang members fight outside Verdugo Jobs Center in Glendale

July 18, 2012

A 26-year-old reputed gang member was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly fought with a rival gang member outside the Verdugo Jobs Center, where they were looking for work, police said.

Luis Leon, a Los Angeles resident who claims ties to a Glassell Park gang, was taken into custody on suspicion of battery and committing an offense for the benefit of a gang, according to Glendale police reports.

Leon and a group of men were frequenting the employment center in the 1200 block of South Central Avenue for the past three days, police said.

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But on Tuesday, one of the men bumped the shoulder of an Highland Park gang member, who was exiting the center, and asked where he was from, according to police.

He replied and then a fight ensued.

Leon and another unidentified man chased the Highland Park gang member into the street, police said. When questioned by officers, the gang member was reportedly uncooperative.

“They demonstrated their people skills to potential employers,” Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Soon after, police spotted Leon — who authorities said is on probation for drug sales — at Yoshinoya and asked them about the fight.

He told them that he didn’t know what they were talking about, but a witness identified him as being involved in the fight, police said.

Leon was one of dozens of reputed gang members named in a federal indictment that charged the Glassell Park gang was involved in murder, attempted murder, robbery, conspiracy, distribution of crack cocaine and extortion.

The gang controlled the neighborhood surrounding the intersection of Drew Street and Estara Avenue in northeast Los Angeles since the 1990s by extorting money from business owners and residents, as well as threatening physical violence if locals didn't comply to the gang's demands.

The gang was responsible for four street robberies and five carjackings from August 2007 to December 2007 in southeast and northeast Glendale, police said.

Leon was convicted in March 2009 for conspiracy to distribute 11.5 grams of cocaine.

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Follow Veronica Rocha on Twitter and Google+

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