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Police Chief Addresses Emergence of SC White Power Gang

As the robbery and assault trial of one suspected San Clemente Boys member draws near, Lt. John Coppock says the gang doesn't represent a huge threat.

A small group of white supremacist gang members in San Clemente have been involved in some major and petty crime, but they are loosely affiliated and don't pose a huge threat, said San Clemente's police chief.

Orange County Sheriff's Lt. John Coppock said the San Clemente Boys gang is made up of about 10 to 20 members and known associates who live in different parts of town -- they don't claim specific territory as is common among other ethnic gangs, he said.

"They've kind of been around for a couple of years," Coppock said. "They're not a real active group, not real close-knit. The group identifies with white supremacist leanings, but they're not as hardcore as some of the white supremacist gangs."

Nonetheless, the San Clemente Boys members have been implicated in a robbery, assaults and graffiti, Coppock said.

The gang has also had violent run-ins with San Clemente's Varrio Chicos and a Hispanic street gang hailing from San Juan Capistrano, both of which have been under injunction for several years.

"We're just keeping an eye on them," Coppock said.

The Orange County District attorney is in the midst of prosecuting one alleged member, Anthony Michael Derenzo, 20. He was arrested in February of last year and charged with two counts of assault, each with enhancements alleging his involvement with the San Clemente Boys gang. Also included in the DA's complaint was the common gang charge of street terrorism, according to court records.

Derenzo's case may be the first time the San Clemente Boys have been identified as a gang in official paperwork.

"The DA is working on the case right now," Coppock said. "There are certain requirements to charge someone with a gang enhancement."

While Derenzo was on bail for those assault charges, police and prosecutors allege he then participated in a mugging of three young men on the San Clemente Beach Trail in March of 2012. He's charged with second-degree robbery with enhancements for the alleged assault and for allegedly committing the crime while out on bail for the last one, according to court records.

Derenzo has pleaded "not guilty" to all those charges, and his jury trial is set to begin March 11.

garrettwolfe February 20, 2013 at 04:39 PM
I can't help wondering if the police would adopt the same gentle attitude if the gang was black and racially oriented. Would they "just keep an eye on them" if they were only "loosely affiliated" with the Black Panthers or Bloods...
Yeparoo February 20, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Drop 'em off in South Central. Let 'em walk home to mommy.
Adam Townsend February 20, 2013 at 11:43 PM
An interesting hypothetical, and definitely a valid point give criticism of police tactics and violence in Orange Count as a whole over the past couple years -- Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Kelly Thomas, shootings in Anaheim... I would point out, however, that law enforcement's interest in gang-related crime in San Clemente has in past years been pretty strongly linked with the amount and severity of the crimes committed by the members. According to the Lt., this group just hasn't caused as much trouble as some other ones.
Bella April 13, 2013 at 11:16 PM
I got something for these posers! Come my way
Bella April 13, 2013 at 11:18 PM
My dad told me years ago. Gangs = nothing but wimps who can't go one of one! Of course, 3 people can beat up 1, trying going one on one. Punks! One time these girls "tried" to jump me, but after I busted the leader in the head with a brick, they scattered like the cockroaches they are! Get one of "losers" by themselves and they will crap their pants and cry like a baby! Trust!

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