WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Multiple Northwest Arkansas residents have been arrested in connection to recruiting minors to a gang.
A Washington County Sheriff’s Office incident report says that around May 31, a detective with the sheriff’s office was contacted in reference to a request for help from Springdale police with investigating the Savage Locos street gang.
An investigation was conducted, and four arrests have been announced in relation to the gang and its alleged efforts to recruit minors. The report say that the gang is known to be violent and dangerous.
Rogelio Angel Ramirez, 28, of Springdale, was arrested on July 24. He is charged with soliciting or recruiting a minor to join or to remain a member of a criminal gang, organization or enterprise, which is a Class C felony.
He pleaded not guilty.
Instagram messages found on Ramirez’s phone showed that he had been actively recruiting numerous juveniles into the gang from multiple schools across Northwest Arkansas.
Detectives identified at least 10 juveniles Ramirez had been recruiting and believe that Ramirez is known to either be the leader of or hold a leadership position within Savage Locos.
Ramirez is currently being held on a $100,000 bond. He has a jury trial scheduled for Jan. 18, 2024, in Washington County.
Marco Antonio Ramirez, 21, of Springdale, was arrested on Oct. 5. He’s charged as an accomplice to soliciting or recruiting a minor to join or to remain a member of a criminal gang, organization or enterprise.
Washington County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Denis Dean confirmed that Marco Ramirez is the brother of Rogelio Ramirez.
Marco was caught on video beating a minor with his fists, participating in what police believe to be a “beat-in,” or a gang ritual. The video was reportedly found on Rogelio’s phone.
He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on Oct. 18.
Marco is currently being held on a $200,000 bond. He has a status hearing scheduled for Nov. 14 in Washington County.
Sebastian Martinez, 20, of Springdale, was arrested on Sept. 29 and is charged as an accomplice to soliciting or recruiting a minor to join or to remain a member of a criminal gang, organization or enterprise.
Martinez was also viewed beating a minor with his fists in a video that featured a suspected gang ritual. He pleaded not guilty.
Martinez is currently being held on a $75,000 bond. He has a jury trial scheduled for April 1, 2024, in Washington County.
Clara Garcia, 31, of Fayetteville, was arrested on June 23 and is accused of violating juvenile records confidentiality as a result of the investigation.
Garcia, a former Juvenile Detention Center employee, allegedly was in communication with Rogelio while he was recruiting. She had worked for the JDC but had been transferred to work for Zimmerman as a Juvenile Probation Officer. She was working in Zimmerman’s court at the time of her arrest.
She mentioned multiple times throughout Instagram messages with Rogelio the names and court dates of various boys related to him and the Savage Locos gang.
“By Clara telling [Rogelio] Ramirez what days the children had court, if they were housed together, confirming whether they were detained or not, I believed this to be a violation of the statute,” an incident report said.
Garcia’s next court date is Dec. 7 in Fayetteville District Court.