Burbank court Dec. 18 for a hearing, pleaded not guilty to
threatening to hurt boys as a way of coercing them into joining their
Under newspaper policy, the gang's name cannot be published.
If convicted on the coercion charges, as well as assault and other
charges, Ghoghas could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
Because of prior convictions, Ibrahimi could be sentenced to 25 years
to life in prison.
The men also instigated increased tagging, fights and auto
burglaries in the area of Santa Anita Avenue and San Fernando
Boulevard, Officer Scott Meadows said. Gang members also were
reportedly hanging around local high schools.
"They were allegedly approaching children that lived in that area
with nice cars and clothes, saying 'Hey. What's up?' and started to
intimidate them," Meadows said. "A few refused."
The recruiting escalated into initiation through vandalism and
theft, as well as an assault at McCambridge Park allegedly involving
Ibrahimi and Ghoghas.
"This beating was done with intent to pulverize these kids and
break their spirit," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven Lopez of the Hard
Core Gang Division.
The beating itself was a coercive act, he said.
The gang coercion charge is a relatively new state penal code
section, and has been hard to prove because victims fear retaliation,
Meadows said he has never seen gang coercion charges used here,
and Lopez said he was aware of them being used only once in Los
The gang, which peaked with a membership of more than 100 in the
early 1990s, was involved in at least one beating and shooting that
left a Los Angeles gang member dead in 1985.
Authorities estimate the membership here is 10 boys and men.
Police Capt. Ed Skvarna said the arrests were part of a strategy
to stop remnants of the "gang lifecycle" in this city, which reached
its height in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Lopez said more gang members off the streets through convictions
translates into less fear of retaliation among those who they try to
recruit, and more willingness by victims and witnesses to talk to
authorities. It also means leaders such as Ibrahimi and Ghoghas are
more desperate to bolster their numbers. That combination can lead to
arrests, he said. In this case, because the gang in Burbank is a
fraction of what it was, they essentially had no one to lead, Lopez