10th member of local SUR 13 nabbed in Texas

MANATEE -- Reputed local SUR 13 gang member Britney Vela has been arrested by U.S. marshals in a small Texas border town near Mexico.

“This is a great apprehension,” said Detective Dan Hutto of the special investigations unit of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, which learned of the arrest at 10 a.m. Friday.

Vela, 19, is charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, Hutto said.

An 18-month investigation by the sheriff’s office culminated this past October with charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering filed against 13 reputed members of SUR 13.

Of those 13, only Felix Falcon, 21; Juan Falcon, 18; and Jorge Reyes, 18, still remain at large now that Vela is in custody, Hutto said.

“We have been after these four for several weeks,” Hutto said. “This will help wrap up the case for the detectives working on this.”

SUR 13 members in custody include Irwin Sanchez, 21; Joel Rodriguez, 18; Daniel Fobledo, 25; Luis Ortiz, 21; Luciano Muniz, 21; Danny Duran, 20; Martin Agustin, 20; Manuel Ramirez, 20; Marvin Villacorta, 19; and Vela, according to sheriff’s office records.

Vela, 19, will be flying back to Manatee County in the custody of detectives in the next week and will be housed at the Manatee County jail, Hutto said.

“I got a call from a warrant deputy here in Manatee County informing me that Britney had been arrested by U.S. marshals in Texas,” Hutto said. “I do not know how they found her. I just know it was a small border town. She may have been trying to make her way to Mexico.”

Vela’s fingerprints are in several huge databases that would reveal that she was wanted in Manatee County, Hutto said.

“Technology has made everything more available,” Hutto said. “There is more data out there.”

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 6686.