Alex Sanchex, a former gang member and anti-gang crusader in Los Angeles faces serious charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, says National Public Radio. Federal prosecutors say that while Sanchez was working to prevent gang violence, he allegedly ordered the killing of a rival in his role as a leader of an infamous street gang with ties to El Salvador. Sanchez’s supporters find the charges difficult to believe.
Sanchez was known as one of L.A.’s top gang interventionists, the leader of Homies Unidos, a transnational organization to prevent gang violence. A few years ago, Sanchez met with NPR in L.A.’s Pico Union, the Salvadoran immigrant neighborhood where, as a teen, Sanchez joined the now infamous MS-13, the Mara Salvatrucha street gang. “As soon as I heard the guys talking with the Salvadoran slang, and were not afraid to speak out, I was like man, this is my culture,” he said at the time, adding, “We learned violence in the communities of Los Angeles.” “You know, we saw dead bodies on the way to school,” he said of his time in El Salvador. “Then we came here to this city [L.A.], and we approached that psychological trauma that we had lived through, we addressed it in the way that many traumatized kids in this community addressed it – through violence and gangs.”