Locally Drafted Anti-Gang Legislation Signed By Governor

Chester Daily Local

Legislation drafted locally in the wake of a gang-related double murder late last year was signed into law Thursday.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed the law, which was drafted by state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9th, state Sen. John Rafferty, R-44th, and state Sen. Ted Erickson, R-26th, in response to the 2011 murder of two men in New Garden that law enforcement officials said was the result of a conflict between rival gangs.

The law, which the state senators drafted in cooperation of District Attorney Tom Hogan, outlaws the recruitment of new members to criminal street gangs and enhances penalties on various crimes committed by gang members.

“Gang activity has hit communities all across Pennsylvania,” Pileggi said. “It is not limited to urban areas. We’ve seen the tragic consequences of gang violence in suburban and rural areas as well. I’m pleased that we now have a law on the books giving prosecutors powerful new tools to prosecute those who try to force children and young adults to join criminal gangs.”

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office is currently prosecuting 12 people, all between the ages of 16 and 20, in connection with the December, 2011 murder of two men, Cuahuctemoc Bedolla and Jose Rodriguez, who authorities said were killed over tensions between two local gangs.

Officials said Bedolla and Rodriquez were leaders of a local gang known as the Vikings, or Vaqueros, who were killed by members of a rival gang, Surenos 13.

Bedolla and Rodriguez were killed after members of Surenos 13 showed up to a party in Toughkenamon but were asked to leave to avoid a conflict with Viking members who were already there. The group left, authorities said, but later returned in greater numbers and brutally stabbed the pair to death in what officials called a pre-planned and coordinated ambush.h