The decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to drop criminal charges against Alex Sanchez, leader of the Homies Unidos organization, confirms a general interpretation that the charges were never well-founded from the beginning.
Sanchez’s arrest in 2009, announced after a much-publicized anti-gang action by the Los Angeles Police Department, surprised everyone. Sanchez was at one time an MS-13 gang member, but after being deported to El Salvador, he straightened out his life to return to LA and create an organization to combat gang violence. The activities of Homies Unidos have been recognized as a direct factor in gang violence prevention and intervention.
That is why people were skeptical when Sanchez was accused of having a secret life as an active gang member, responsible for ordering a hit in El Salvador.
The charges were based on a controversial interpretation of four phone conversations, which was made by an LAPD gang expert named Frank Flores. Whether the voice in the conversation is actually Sanchez’s is also being discussed, as well as the real identity of another individual mentioned. Some have even claimed the case was a vendetta by several police officers against Sanchez.
Three long years of a legal tug of war went by, until yesterday the U.S. Attorney recognized that there were problems with the information it presented to the Grand Jury in order for it to decide to indict Sanchez. It is unknown whether the U.S. Attorney will refile charges.
We hope that for now, this serves to recover Sanchez’s good name and reputation, allowing the activist to dedicate himself to his important community work without distractions. On the other hand, this development is today without a doubt a stain for the LAPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.