Thursday, June 01, 2017


"Los Hooligans" indicted in sophisticated vehicle theft operation in the San Diego area

Borderland Beat
May 30, 2017

A federal indictment unsealed today named 9 members of a Tijuana based motorcycle gang, allegedly responsible for hundreds of car thefts over the last few years. Los Hooligans have a relatively low profile in the hierarchy of San Diego motorcycle gangs and clubs, groups like the Hells Angel's and Mongols have long been the subject of federal cases, mainly racketeering, crystal meth and heroin trafficking, and violent crimes. San Diego, given it's proximity to the border, it's history with crystal meth, has long been a hub of vehicle theft, organize d and unorganized. A substantial amount is generally traced to Tijuana, where the cars are stripped, or given new plates, new VIN numbers, and re sold, sometimes to organized crime groups, who prefer suburbans and jeeps. The group is connected to Spring Valley, which has long been tied to car theft, and motorcycle clubs.

This marks the first time a Tijuana based gang has been subject of a major federal case. The indictment is not as far reaching in it's targeting of Los Hooligans, and focuses on what seems to be their main criminal endeavor, the theft and subsequent sale of the cars, and their parts. The cars were stolen from dozens of neighborhoods in San Diego, from Barrio Logan, to Rancho Santa Fe, and targeted a particular brand of jeep in the summer of 2014.

Jeep Wranglers were being stolen at an unusually high rate, and always without triggering an alarm, or forcing entry, by breaking the glass. Regional Auto Theft Task Force, RATTF, a conglomerate of local and federal law enforcement officials, including Homeland Security Investigations, and the San Diego District Attorney's Office, as well as the FBI, and San Diego Sheriff's Department were the primary investigators.

While reviewing surveillance footage from a theft in Rancho Santa Fe in September 2014, investigators saw three men disabling the car's alarm and entering using a key, then starting the car with a handheld electronic device. The investigators worked back through 20 other similar thefts, and found that duplicate keys had been ordered from Chrysler, through a dealership in Cabo San Lucas, the cars's owners were unaware.

Assumedly, through a connection to the dealership, Los Hooligans purchased or otherwise gained access to the keys, after carefully selecting the cars for theft. Then the cars were stolen, without much of a trace, and sold wholesale in Tijuana, or stripped down for parts.

Los Hooligans are not connected via these indictments to any acts of violence or drug trafficking, tying them to Tijuana based cartels, or cells. They are named as an organization in their own right, with the capacity to traffic, sell, transport, and facilitate large scale vehicle theft. They are tied to over 150 thefts in the indictment.

In August 2015, gunmen stormed a funeral home during a wake, and executed two individuals, and shot 7 others. It was reported by Zeta Tijuana that the two killed were members of a Tijuana based motorcycle club in Colonia Independencia, who rivals Los Hooligans. Zeta reports Los Hooligans were said to be responsible for the attack. Eye witnesses to the killings tied members of Los Hooligans to the scene.

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