The civil suits were filed under different amendments to state laws, one passed in 2007 and one in 2008, designed to strengthen authorities' ability to control gangs. The 2007 amendment allows law enforcement to seize assets associated with criminal conduct. But the 2008 law goes even further – it allows prosecutors to collect damages from gang members' personal assets, too.It is a tactic that has been used against the mafia and against white supremicists in federal cases, but this is the first successful actions under California state law.
The December suit against the 18th Street gang is the first to make use of the 2008 amendment.
"We're sending a message to gang leaders across this city," said City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo at a press conference last month. "If you break the law, we will not only find you, arrest you, and put you behind bars, we will also take away your money, your property, your homes, and your cars. Every penny we strip away will be returned to the neighborhoods."
I would expect other states to start mimicking the statutes as well.