Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly touted what he says was his first act in office in December 2018: removing the captain of East L.A. station, where a group of tattooed deputies known as the Banditos ran roughshod and dictated where deputies would be assigned.
“The entire leadership of East L.A. station was turned over,” Villanueva said in a social media broadcast last fall. “And that was on purpose because they had failed in their job to lead the station.”
Villanueva has said he transferred 36 people out and brought a new captain, Ernie Chavez, to the helm of the station to quell the Banditos problem. But new court documents that include sworn testimony from Chavez raise questions about and at times, contradict the sheriff’s claims.
Chavez said he was not told why he was being moved to the station and that he never made an effort to identify who belonged to the Banditos. He said that Villanueva did not discuss the problems at the station with him.
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