L.A. Gang Member Sentenced to 13 Years for Federal Hate Crime
A member of the Big Hazard street gang was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for orchestrating and executing a firebombing against African American families at the Ramona Gardens Housing Development in 2014. Jose Saucedo, also known as Lil’ Moe, pleaded guilty to four felonies: conspiracy to violate civil rights, violent crime in aid of racketeering, interference with the Fair Housing Act, and attempted arson of federal property.
On Mother’s Day in 2014, Saucedo and seven other gang members agreed to firebomb homes in the Ramona Gardens Housing Complex in an attempt to remove African American families from the government housing. The Department of Justice release explains that each gang member played a specific role in the attack, with Saucedo playing a primary leadership role.
The defendants smashed the homes’ windows and threw in Molotov cocktails while the residents were sleeping. The victims were sleeping African American families. One victim was a Hispanic resident whom the group mistakenly targeted.
Saucedo was involved with collecting glass bottles to use for the cocktails, supervising one of the two groups of co-conspirators, and throwing a firebomb into one of the targeted units.
According to the release, Saucedo continued intimidating the Ramona Gardens residents based on their race and even threatened one mixed race family by using the firebombing as an example of what would happen if they did not move out of the housing complex.
All of the seven defendants who were charged in this case in 2016 have pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and related offenses. All of those defendants further admitted to participating in the firebombing because of the victims’ race and with the intent to force the victims to move away from the federally funded housing complex.
"Violating the civil rights of others by engaging in racial violence is antithetical to our values as Americans," said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. "The lengthy sentence handed down today for defendant Saucedo should send a strong message that targeting innocent people because of their skin color will not be tolerated and that offenders will spend a significant time behind bars."
United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder, who sentenced Saucedo, described the incident as “a terribly violent crime,” because of the vulnerable nature of the victims and leadership role played by Saucedo.
The investigation into the firebombing was conducted by agents and detectives with the FBI; the Los Angeles Police Department; the Los Angeles Fire Department; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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