Suspected High-Level LA Gang Member Arrested in Salina

A woman suspected of being involved at a high level in a Los Angeles gang is arrested in Salina.

Late Wednesday morning officers from the Salina Police Department along with deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, arrested Cecilia Virgen-DeLeon.

Virgen-DeLeon was arrested at a home at 701 Carriage Circle in Salina where she has been living for about a year. Investigators believe that she was operating as a high level secretary for the Mexican Mafia, which is a Los Angeles prison gang. She was operating out of Salina, communicating via electronic devices including cell phones and computers.

According to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, in January of 2013 detectives began an investigation into the activities of the criminal street gang Armenian Power. The investigation resulted in the arrest of Gevork Simonian, a high ranking member of Armenian Power. The investigation of Simonian led to developing connections between Armenain Power and The Mexican Mafia, a prison based gang in California.

In order for the prison gang, a very sophisticated criminal operation, to operate, they use what they call a Secretary. The job of the Secretary is to coordinate orders for the movement of drugs and the ordering of murders and assaults within the Los Angeles County jail. This coordination is done via the phones.

Detectives believe that Virgen-Deleon is the current Secretary for the Mexican Mafia member running the Los Angeles County jail. She was doing so via cell phones from Salina.

Los Angeles Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Virgen-Deleon. Deputies Mark Lillienfeld and Francis Hardiman traveled to Salina Tuesday night. Wednesday morning, along with officers from the I 135 / I 70 Drug Task Force, they executed the arrest warrant at 701 Carriage. Task Force Commander Lt. Jim Norton says that Virgen-DeLeon refused to open the door, prompting officers to make a forced entry. She then surrendered without incident.

Deputy Hardiman says that she was charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office with two counts of conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon and seven counts of street terrorism. In California, the charge of street terrorism is in California Penal Code Section 186.22(a). Essentially it is being a member of a criminal gang and aiding, furthering or assisting members of that gang in felonious conduct.

Investigators say that all of the crimes Virgen-DeLeon allegedly facilitated while in Salina were carried out in California. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department intends on extraditing Virgen-Deleon to Los Angeles County for prosecution.

Hardiman says that it is not common for a person in this position in a gang to be operating from so far away. He adds that the investigation is still continuing, and that officers would like to talk to anyone who may have known Virgen-DeLeon while she has been in Salina. They are asked to contact the Salina Police Department.

Norton adds that officers believe that Virgen-DeLeon is not the only person living in the Salina area with connections to California gangs. He estimates that there are currently 120 to 150 gang members in the Salina area.