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East gang shot-caller, with ties to Mexican Mafia, sentenced to 13 years in prison

August 9, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
East gang shot-caller, with ties to Mexican Mafia, sentenced to 13 years in prison

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The second-in-command of the East L.A. Big Hazard street gang linked to the Mexican Mafia that federal officials say terrorized citizens of the Ramona Gardens housing complex in Boyle Heights for years was sentenced to almost 13 years behind bars on Monday.

Victor “Grizzly” Barrios was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder to a 155-months behind bars, which was decreased from 180 months to account for two years served in custody after he was arrested on charges of conspiracy and drug trafficking. Upon his release, he will be apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will be deported back to Mexico.

The 43-year-old was among almost three-dozen members of the Big Hazard gang charged in 2014 under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, which federal officials in Los Angeles have used for decades to combat prison and street gangs.

Ramona Gardens public housing in Boyle Heights. Photo: Wikimedia CC BY 3.0

The original indictment described the purported criminal acts stemming back to 2007, which included drug deals, intimidation, violence against those who cooperated with authorities, illegal firearms sales, along with threats against black residents of the apartment, including using phrases such as “no blacks.”

The Hazard gang gets its name from a park near Ramona Gardens and has approximately 350 members, mynewsLA.com reported.

In a letter to the court, Barrios confessed to his “unwise choices,” and the former gang shot-caller acknowledge that he alone is responsible for his behavior.

A poster showing the crossed-out faces of those arrested, in the 2014 raid

Barrios said that before his arrest, he spent three years with Father Greg Boyle’s Homeboy Industries, training how to be a pastry chef. He told the judge that he had enrolled in an internship program at Bouchon, which is chef Thomas Keller’s French restaurant in Beverly Hills.

According to court documents, Barrios’ gang dealt meth, PCP, crack cocaine, heroin and other substances in neighborhoods it has control over.

Gang associates are known to “advertise” their crimes by shouting references to their group before or during a crime to elicit fear.

Prosecutors say the Big Hazard  gang uses murder, violence, and threats to keep its members and other Latino gangs in line. The Mexican Mafia approves the gang to carry out the attacks.

Photos released by the FBI Dec. 10, 2014, show seven of the gang members who had remained at-large befoe they were apprehended

The principal defendant in the 45-count indictment is Manuel “Cricket” Larry Jackson, a member of the Mexican Mafia who manages the activities of the Hazard gang.

The indictment claims that under Jackson’s reign, the gang carries out a wide variety of crimes, most notably drug trafficking, which generates profit through the sale of narcotics and the “taxing” of dealers who work in Hazard territory. Some of the money generated through “taxes” or “rent” is given back to Jackson and other members of the Mexican Mafia.

Jackson awaits trial in Los Angeles in two federal cases.

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