Mexican drug gang goes on trial in San Diego court

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2012 3:28 AM
Mexican drug gang goes on trial in San Diego court

A trial in San Diego will determine whether two alleged members of a violent Mexican drug gang are guilty of murder. A prosecutor says two victims had their bodies dissolved in acid.

Opening statements are scheduled Wednesday for Jose Leonel Olivera Beritan and David Valencia. They are charged in five of nine murders tied to "Los Palillos" _ or "The Toothpicks" in English.

Prosecutors say the gang moved to the San Diego area around 2002 from Tijuana, Mexico. Victims were allegedly abducted by men dressed in police uniforms and wearing badges while walking down the streets or in their driveways, then held in rented homes and sometimes killed.

The two defendants are the first to go on trial among 17 people charged in state court in 2009.