'America's Most Wanted' Focuses On Cross-Border Violence
6:26 AM, Feb 16, 2010
America's Most Wanted returned to the South Bay this week to wrap up a series about a dangerous criminal organization operating on both sides of the border.Host John Walsh spoke to 10News about the organization, and said, "They were in the business of kidnapping successful business people in San Diego, holding them for ransom and then murdering them so they couldn't testify against them."The San Diego County District Attorney's Office said the organization, known as the Los Palillos, translated as Toothpicks, is responsible for a laundry list of crimes. "Seventeen individuals have been indicted on numerous felony counts including nine murders and several kidnappings," said Deputy District Attorney Mark Amador."Half the gang is in jail, but five of them are still at large," said Walsh. "And they're crossing back and forth across the border."The five men America's Most Wanted is focusing on are Juan Laureno-Arvizo, Juan Omar Sarabia-Calderon, Hector Altamirano-Lopez, Ernesto Ayon and Eduardo Monroy.San Diego authorities said kidnappings are on the rise, especially with the crackdown on drugs and weapons at the border. Unfortunately, those kidnappings are hard to tally because many are not reported, authorities said.The law enforcement community fears the violence will continue to spill into Southern California.Amador said, "I think the average citizen should be fearful based on the violence that could happen."Walsh added, "People need to be aware that it just doesn't happen in Mexico; it's spilling over the border."A 2008 DEA report acquired by 10News said kidnappings are a $6 million-a-month business.