A Portales gang known for toting guns, spraying graffiti in parks and harassing youngsters recently lost six members to the Tucumcari Juvenile Detention Center, police said.
Portales police said the six gang members, whose names were not released, are in jail on charges ranging from trespassing to possession of a firearm to criminal damage to property while using a firearm.
They were taken to Tucumcari because Portales does not have a juvenile facility.
Police said the gang has about 15 members, and is known as the “L.K.s.”
The gang has been known to sport bandanas, black and white attire and “L.K.” emblems painted on white T-shirts, police and school officials said.
The gang was recently responsible for spraying graffiti at the Portales City Park and harassing Pop Warner football players during practice at the park, police said.
The members are now prohibited to visit the park.
Two weeks ago, police arrested two alleged gang members at the park, one for trespassing and the other for possession of a firearm.
Police said they then linked the firearm to a recent automobile shooting and arrested three more on felony charges in connection with the shooting of the automobile.
Members of the gang range in age from 14 to 16.
“We’ve taken a very proactive stance against this type of activity,” Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said. “We’re going to guarantee safety at our schools — that’s our primary objective.”
PHS Principal Mel Nusser lauded the police effort in helping keep the schools safe.
“They’re (police) willing to take the bull by the horns and that’s what they’ve done,” Nusser said. “It hasn’t done anything but make Portales better.”
Nusser said one member of the gang was expelled from PHS last year for being belligerent to teachers.
For the past two years, PHS and Portales Junior High School have had at least one police officer whose main job is to maintain student safety (each school had its own officer before one was called to duty in the national guard).
Nusser said he would like to regain another officer so each school has one constantly present during school hours.
Their presence, Nusser said, is great for school security and keeping unruly students in line.