By Diana Hefley, Herald Writer
EVERETT — A north Everett woman who claims to be a leader in a violent street gang is under investigation for allegedly luring a teen into a drive-by trap that left him with gunshot wounds.
Police tracked Sarah Black, 30, to her house Wednesday after the victim told investigators he saw Black behind the wheel of a car that pulled up beside him shortly before he was shot, court documents said. Black allegedly told police she is a “captain” for MS-13, a notorious international gang known for extreme violence.
She and two Seattle-area teens, 16 and 17, have all been arrested for investigation of first-degree assault.
Wednesday’s gunfire may have been in retaliation for a gang shooting in February at Northgate Mall in Seattle, court records show. Members of a Mexican gang shot a rival MS-13 member outside the mall, court records show. An Everett teen is facing an assault charge in King County in that case.
The victim of Wednesday’s gunfire is believed to have been involved in the Northgate shooting, and also is identified in court papers as a member of the Mexican gang.
In the hours before Wednesday’s shooting, Black and the others met at her north Everett house to talk about problems with other gangs, according to court records.
The group allegedly planned an ambush. Black sent a message to the teen on his MySpace account, using the fictitious name “Lady Killer,” a ruse to lure him outside, according to court papers.
The victim later told police he thought he was meeting a girl to hang out and “kick it,” court records said.
Instead, police believe Black drove up with three others in her car and someone inside opened fire. The boy was hit and the car sped off.
When questioned, Black and the Seattle teens told investigators a man who was riding as a passenger in the front seat fired the shots, documents show.
Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate and have yet to identify the other person who was in the car, according to court records filed Thursday in Everett District Court.
Black appeared briefly in court Thursday where she was ordered held on $100,000 bail. The two teens who were arrested appeared in juvenile court. Their cases likely will be referred to adult court.
Black has a lengthy criminal history, including a felony conviction connected to a 2003 drive-by shooting in Eastern Washington. The shooting was believed to be the work of MS-13 members who had a beef with another group of people, Grant County prosecutor John Knodell said. Black was sentenced to a year in prison for that drive-by.
Authorities say MS-13 is a violent and paramilitary gang with international ties. The FBI has a national task force dedicated to tracking down MS-13 members engaged in criminal activities, including working with the El Salvadoran government.
There have been more MS-13 members moving into the Pacific Northwest, although there isn’t a large presence, said Steven Dean, a special agent in charge with the FBI in Seattle. Members are likely coming here from California.
Sheriff’s detectives have identified 10 confirmed MS-13 members living in the county.
“These guys come and go from other areas. They’re very mobile and are all over the U.S.,” detective Steve Haley said.
The gang follows a rigid hierarchy. Men likely are the only ones to hold leadership roles but women may be used to recruit members, Dean said.
Nationwide, police are seeing more gangs in suburbs and in communities similar to Snohomish County. Suburbs provide less pressure from police, and gangs are finding fertile markets to sell drugs, steal cars or commit other crimes. The gangs also find many receptive young people in the suburbs who want to emulate the thug lifestyle seen in pop culture.
Wednesday’s shooting happened just a block from where an Everett teen was killed in a 2006 gang-related shooting. Two men have been charged with murder in the death of Dennis Riojas, 19.
Police in Snohomish County plan to launch a task force this summer to crack down on gang activity.