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ARMED, DANGEROUS AND AMONG US POLICE SEEK VALLEY'S HELP IN FINDING 10 KILLING SUSPECTS

Byline: Orith Goldberg Staff Writer

Los Angeles police say the most-wanted suspects in the San Fernando Valley have one thing in common: They're believed to be killers.

Police are concerned that the suspects could kill again while they're on the lam and are asking for any information on their whereabouts.

Among the scores of fugitives lurking around the Valley, 10 are described by LAPD officers as the most dangerous and readers are asked to help find them.

``Murder suspects are the most dangerous of suspects because if they've killed once, there's a likelihood they'll kill again and that's why they must be apprehended,'' said LAPD Sgt. John Pasquariello.

What led to the slayings is unclear in some cases, while others came from arguments or a perceived ``disrespect.'' Pasquariello says there's one thing in common in all the cases:

``It's a lack of concern for human life.''

Investigators say the cases have been vexing.

``You're trying to use logic to figure (the case out) ... when someone kills someone, they're not using logic,'' said LAPD Detective Frank Bishop of the Foothill Division.

Police officials stressed the urgency of capturing these suspects to maintain safety for the community and to provide closure to grieving family members and friends of the victims.

Detective Martin Pinner of the North Hollywood Division said it is important that police contact these suspects so questions in open cases can be answered.

``No person in the world deserves to be killed, so there has to be some explanation,'' Pinner said. ``Someone has to hear (the suspect's) story. Now it's one-sided.''

Pinner stressed that ``it's never a manhunt, it's an investigation.'' Police investigators are seeking the public's help in locating these 10 suspects, who are among at least 45 others branded ``most wanted'' in the San Fernando Valley. More information about the 10 most wanted for each of the Valley's Divisions - Devonshire, West Valley, North Hollywood, Van Nuys and Foothill - is available on the LAPD's Web site at www.lapdonline.org.

Police stressed that the following people are considered armed and dangerous and no one should attempt to apprehend these suspects. Police ask anyone who sees any of these suspects to call officers immediately.

The most wanted suspects are:

Name: Jesus Jose Vazquez

AKA: Jose Jesus Balandra

Age: 36

Description: 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, black hair, brown eyes

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: Devonshire Division

Allegation: Vazquez allegedly shot Gabriel Gonzalez, a 49-year-old San Fernando Valley resident, on Dec. 17, 1999, after an argument over who was a better supervisor. Police say Vazquez left a business in the 9400 block of Oso Avenue and returned 30 minutes later with a semiautomatic handgun and fatally shot Gonzalez.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Devonshire detective John Fleming at (818) 756-8291.

Name: Steve Garcia

Age: 37

Description: 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, black hair, brown eyes

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: Foothill Division

Allegation: Investigators said Garcia, a gang member, thought Kenneth Landon, 26, of Mission Hills, also suspected of being a gang member, showed him ``disrespect'' at a Motel 6 in the 12700 block of Encinitas Avenue in Sylmar Feb. 12. Garcia is suspected of fatally shooting Landon.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Foothill Homicide Detective Ray Broker or Detective Frank Bishop at 818-834-3115.

Name: Milburgo Zagal Flores

AKA: Milburgo Flores Zagal, ``Hugo''

Age: 36

Description: 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, black hair, brown eyes

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: Foothill Division

Allegation: Flores is wanted in connection with the shooting of his cousin, Raul Rojas, on March 21, 1993. Rojas was found in an apartment parking lot in the 7300 block of Valmont Avenue in Tujunga. Investigators said a possible motive for the fatal shooting was a love triangle. Police said Rojas was shot with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Foothill Detective Frank Bishop at 818-834-3115.

Name: Akop Akopyan

AKA: ``Scooby''

Age: 27

Description: 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, black, shaved or short hair, mustache or goatee. Tattoos: ``My Crazy Life,'' woman's face on shoulders

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: North Hollywood Division

Allegation: Akopyan is wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Garnick Aresn Madoyan, a 22-year-old North Hollywood man on Sept. 4. Akopyan allegedly shot Madoyan several times after an argument in Madoyan's car and then fled in a waiting white Jeep Cherokee. Police say the suspect drives a 1997/2000 Mitsubishi four-door Galant.

Anyone with information is asked to contact North Hollywood Detective Martin Pinner at 818-623-4075

Name: Gustavo Araiza

Age: 24

Description: 5-foot-6, brown hair, brown eyes, 145 pounds

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: North Hollywood Division

Allegation: Araiza is wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a victim with a 12-gauge shotgun for no apparent reason as the victim was walking

on the sidewalk Oct. 26, 1995.

Anyone with information is asked to contact North Hollywood Detectives Bancroft or Sherwood at 818-623-4075.

Name: Arcadio Valverde Cardenas

Age: 44

Description: 5-foot-6, 170 pounds, black hair, brown eyes

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: Van Nuys Division

Allegation: No further information was available about this suspect. He is considered armed and dangerous and is wanted in connection with a murder case.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Van Nuys detectives at (818) 756-8377.

Name: Walter Oswaldo Barillas

Age: 33

Description: 5-foot-8, 130 pounds, black hair, brown eyes

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: Van Nuys Division

Allegation: Barillas is wanted for allegedly opening fire on a car Jan. 13, 1990, and killing 23-year-old Odilon ``Tony'' Gonzalez. Police say it was in retaliation for a broken windshield on his girlfriend's car after being turned away from a party. Barillas' girlfriend at the time, Karen Argott, was convicted of murder and attempted murder, but Barillas remains at large.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Van Nuys detectives at 818-756-8377.

Name: Jacob Gomez

AKA: ``Sweepy,'' Jacob Montes, Jacob Villadares

Age: 23

Description: 5-foot-6, 150 pounds, black hair, brown eyes; 4-inch scar on right side of face; Tattoos: Three dots on right wrist and words ``Mi Vida Loco''

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: West Valley Division

Allegation: Gomez is wanted in connection with the killing of a victim in an alley. Three other suspects in the case have been taken into custody, but Gomez remains at large.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Valley Homicide Detectives Purdy and West at 818-756-8546 or 818-756-8542.

Name: Boris George Graham

AKA: Austin, Kato, Pattis, Juba

Age: 31

Description: 5-foot-8, 140 pounds, black hair, brown eyes

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: West Valley Division

Allegation: Graham is wanted in connection with a Feb. 8, 1999, shooting of Christopher Rawlings in Woodland Hills.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detectives Purdy and West of the West Valley station at 818-756-8546 or 818-756-8542.

Name: Alvaro Beltrani Merino

AKA: Carlos Beltrani, Carlos Merino; Alvaro Beltrani

Age: 33

Description: 5-foot-5, 140 pounds, black hair, brown eyes

Wanted for: suspicion of murder

Area: West Valley Division

Allegations: Merino is wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Francisco Javier Hernandez, 24. Hernandez was shot Dec. 26, 1999, while viewing Christmas lights on Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills with his wife and 2-year-old son. Investigators believe the men knew each other and say they got into an argument before Merino shot Hernandez. Merino may have fled to Mexico.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Valley Detective Purdy at 818-756-8546 or 818-756-8542.

CAPTION(S):

10 photos

Photo: (1 -- color) AKOP AKOPYAN

(2 -- color) GUSTAVO ARAIZA

(3 -- color) WALTER BARILLAS

(4 -- color) ARCADIO CARDENAS

(5 -- color) MILBURGO FLORES

(6 -- color) STEVE GARCIA

(7 -- color) JACOB GOMEZ

(8 -- color) BORIS GRAHAM

(9 -- color) ALVARO MERINO

(10 -- color) JESUS VAZQUEZ

COPYRIGHT 2001 Daily News
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 30, 2001
Words:1285

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