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Salina resident accused of LA gang activity

SALINA, Kan. (AP) -- California authorities have arrested a 31-year-old woman accused of helping coordinate activities of Los Angeles gang members from her home in central Kansas.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Francis Hardiman, who was in Salina on Wednesday to arrest the woman, told The Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/mhYnH9) the suspect was a "critical cog in the wheel of the machinery of organized crime." She was arrested at her home without incident.

Authorities have accused the woman of using cellphones and computer communications from her Salina home to coordinate criminal activity of the Surenos street gang in Los Angeles and Mexican Mafia members in Los Angeles County jail.

Hardiman said it's not uncommon for a gang member in her position to be located far from the correctional facility where gang members are housed, but living in another state is not typical.

Hardiman said she originally is from California, where she will return to face formal charges. Salina police Lt. Jim Norton, who assisted in the arrest, said that process would likely take about two weeks. The Los Angeles County prosecutor's office said Thursday that formal charges had not been filed.

Norton said the woman has not been accused of any crimes in Kansas and has lived in Salina for about a year. He said there are about 120 to 150 Surenos gang members in Salina.

Evidence collected at the Salina house, including cellphones, computers, hard drives and documents, would indicate she was "heavily involved" in setting up assaults, drug trafficking and other criminal activity "right from her living room," Norton said.