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Teenagers arrested for gang-related vandalism
Cumming, south Forsyth targeted in week-long spree
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Forsyth County News

Five teenagers have been arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with what authorities say are gang-related activities this fall.

Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton said in a statement late Wednesday that all five suspects are Cumming residents and two attend Forsyth County schools.

The arrests came Monday after a stop at a safety checkpoint, the statement said, and are the "culmination of an investigation into over a dozen incidents of vandalism, many of which involved gang-related graffiti."

Arnulfo Suarez and Christian Torres, 17, have been charged with 11 counts of second-degree criminal damage to property.

They also were charged with one count each of participation in a criminal street gang and criminal trespass.

Adrian Zarate, also 17, has been charged with six counts of second-degree criminal damage to property and one count of criminal trespass.

Suarez and Torres are being held at the Forsyth County Detention Center. Bond for each teen has been set at $75,322, a jail spokeswoman said. Zarate was released Wednesday after posting $38,296 bond.

The other two suspects, whose identities have not been released, are 16. They have been charged with one count each of participation in a criminal street gang and 11 counts of second-degree criminal damage to property.

The 16-year-olds have been released to their parents' custody.

Sheriff's deputies Tom Little and Alex Figueroa identified the suspects and matched them to the vandalism, the statement said.

Little and Figueroa are members of the south precinct's Sheriff's Office Aggressive Response, or SOAR, team.

The statement said the vandalism occurred over a week-long period between October and November in south Forsyth and Cumming.

The vandalized locations included Forsyth Central High School, several shopping centers and a skating rink.

Capt. Ron Freeman, commander of the sheriff's south precinct, said in a statement that four of the five teens arrested have confirmed ties to known gangs.

Freeman said Cumming police and the Forsyth County school system helped with the investigation.