Sanchez is the former gang member accused by federal prosecutors of gang conspiracies, and whose bail application U.S. attorneys fought furiously on the grounds that he was a flight risk and a threat to his community. U.S. Judge Manuel Real denied Sanchez’s request for bail at first, but was ordered to hold a new hearing by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That hearing, held in Real’s closed chamber on January 13, 2010, featured top FBI and Los Angeles police testimony. Whatever their testimony, it did not convince the feisty judge, who granted bail with numerous conditions, including a prohibition on Sanchez ever having a drink. Many friends of Sanchez, including this author, were required to put up their homes or personal funds as surety.
After a long delay, the case may be coming back to life. Judge Real ruled against the prosecution’s using an LAPD officer, Frank Flores, simultaneously as an objective expert witness, a member of the prosecution team, and a witness about alleged threats to his life. The prosecution appealed to the Ninth Circuit, where the appeal rests. On July 7, both sides will complete their filings regarding the appeal. When and if the Ninth Circuit rules on the appeal, the case may resume.
Public awareness of the case has faded. An investigation of flaws in the government’s case, which is based on government-controlled informants and mistaken identities, has continued to strip back secrets from the government’s cross-border involvement in its war against gangs. Future articles in The Nation will examine potential flaws in the government’s case against Sanchez and its broader intelligence, wiretapping and undercover operations in Central America.