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Feds indict Latino gang members in Los Angeles for racially charged firebombing

July 8, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Feds indict Latino gang members in Los Angeles for racially charged firebombing

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Federal authorities in Southern California have charged seven Latino gang members with the racially motivated attacks on the homes of black families in 2014.

Prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Thursday against seven men, all alleged members and associates of the Big Hazard street gang, a Latino-based street gang.

According to the Associated Press, the indictment accuses the men of firebombing the apartments of black families at the Ramona Gardens housing complex using Molotov cocktails in May of 2014.

Prosecutors said the attack was a deliberate attempt to drive the families out of Boyle Heights, a heavily Hispanic neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles that has experienced incidents of racial tension and violence in the past.

“This is a hate crime. Such violence and intimidation have no place in our society,” Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement Thursday.

Officials said the firebombing caused moderate damage to the apartments and prosecutors said that although no one was injured, one the flammable projectiles landed in an apartment where a woman and her baby had been sleeping.

The indictment charged 31-year-old Carlos Hernandez, as the ringleader who organized the attack and used racial slurs against the black families living in the apartments.

Additionally, prosecutors charged Francisco Farias, 25; Edwin Felix, 23; Joseue Garibay, 23; Jose Saucedo, 22; Joel Matthew Monarrez, 21, and 21-year-old Jonathan Portillo.

According to the FBI, it’s one of the largest civil rights indictments in local history.

All seven defendants face ten counts including attempted arson of federal property, using fire and explosives to commit a federal felony and conspiracy to violate civil rights.

Furthermore, the men also face charges stemming from their involvement with Big Hazard, which included using violence and intimidation to control their territory, according to the indictment.

A judge has scheduled various court dates for all seven suspects.

All seven suspects face life-in-prison if convicted of all the charges.

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