What Is the West Side Verdugo Gang?

The West Side Verdugo was a Latino gang in San Bernardino, Calif., that gained national attention during the "Dead Presidents" case of 2000. The gang was once the largest in the city, but it is unclear if it still exists as of 2014.

The gang is named after a neighborhood separated from the rest of San Bernardino by California Interstate 215. The gang once consisted of four major cliques but was broken up by the events of the "Dead Presidents" case, in which members of the Seventh Street Locos clique murdered the president of their own clique as well as the president of a related clique called Little Counts. It is believed that this was done at the behest of the Mexican Mafia. Four shooters were eventually captured, with two sentenced to death, one sentenced to life imprisonment and one plea bargaining out of charges.

It is difficult to say if the gang has any remaining presence in San Bernardino. A 2013 report by crime journalist Sam Quinones found that the Mexican Mafia was still active in the area, but there was very little graffiti related to the gang and no members were seen in public. The dissolution of trust caused by the "Dead Presidents" case, as well as pressure from the Mexican Mafia, may have entirely dissolved the gang.