MANATEE -- Thirteen reputed members of the SUR 13 criminal street gang have been charged with racketeering and related charges, culminating an 18-month investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies.
The sheriff's gang unit Monday morning executed four search warrants and arrested two suspects. Four of the suspects were already in the Manatee County jail, two are in prison and five remain at large, according to a news release.
Two of the suspects were also charged in 2009 homicide in Manatee County.
Those charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering are:
-- Irwin Sanchez, 21.
-- Joel Rodriguez, 18.
-- Feliz Falcon, 21.
-- Juan Falcon, 18.
-- Daniel Fobledo, 25.
-- Luis Ortiz, 21.
-- Luciano Muniz, 21.
-- Danny Duran, 20.
-- Martin Agustin, 20.
-- Britney Vela, 19.
-- Manuel Ramirez, 20.
-- Marvin Villacorta, 19.
-- Jorge Reyes, 18.
Robledo and Ramirez were also charged with murder in the June 15, 2009, shooting death of Rolando Martinez-Rosales in Bradenton. Robledo was already in jail, charged with murder in the July 23, 2011, shooting death of Elvis Ruiz in Bradenton.
Ramirez is at large.
This is the second time the sheriff's office and agencies have targeted the SUR 13 gang with a racketeering investigation. Fourteen members were arrested in July 2007, and sentenced to prison terms of up to 60 years. Other gangs have been similarly targeted with racketeering charges, which are similar to how authorities have prosecuted other organized crime activities.
According to the Florida attorney general's website, racketeering laws allow "prosecutors to charge a complete enterprise all at once and allows prosecutors to couple historic convictions with newly charged crime. In order to charge RICO, the government must first prove that an enterprise exists and then that the defendants committed individual predicate incidents in furtherance of the enterprise."
Five of the suspects charged Monday -- Feliz and Juan Falcon; Vela; Ramirez; and Reyes -- remain at large.
Feliz Falcon was released from prison in May 2011, after serving almost a year on a aggravated battery conviction.
Robledo, Duran, Agustin and Villacorta are in the Manatee County jail on unrelated charges. Ortiz and Muniz are in state prison.
Ortiz is serving time for aggravated battery, burglary and grand theft, for crimes committed in Manatee in 2008 and 2009. Muniz is in prison for armed robbery, battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed firearm, out of Hillsborough County.
Agustin is in jail, charged with several weapons violations and with violating a previous probation.
Villacorta is in jail on a marijuana possession charge.
Sanchez and Rodriguez, who were arrested Monday, are being held on bonds totaling $1 million each for the racketeering charges. Rodriguez faces additional weapons, drug and trespassing charges.
The search warrants were executed at locations in the 600 block of 58th Avenue Drive East; 600 block of 59th Avenue Terrace West; 3000 block of 46th Avenue West; and 5700 block of 44th Avenue East, all in Bradenton.
"One firearm and numerous gang-related items were seized at these locations," a news release states.
Rodriguez was arrested on 58th Avenue Drive East; and Sanchez was arrested on 59th Avenue Terrace West.
Other agencies involved in the most recent investigation are the statewide prosecutor's office and the Bradenton Police Department.
Anyone with information about the five wanted suspects can call the sheriff's office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.