Seven members of a notorious Mexican street gang operating in Los Angeles have been charged in an indictment unsealed this week for their role in targeting blacks in an escalation of the ongoing race war between the two groups in California.
The Mexican gangsters, all members of the Hazard Grande (“Big Hazard”) gang, took part in the 2014 firebombing of several black residences in the city’s Boyle Heights neighborhood in a bid to push them out, according to the indictment.
“The defendants used firebombs to drive the victims from their homes because of their race,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. “This is a hate crime.”
Authorities said the attacks were spurred by the gang’s bid to reclaim control of the neighborhood’s Ramona Gardens housing project, once a bleak crime-infested area where the police dared enter only in groups.
The indictment alleges that Hazard members would spray paint or “tag” gang monikers and symbols on businesses and residences in the neighborhood and would meet to discuss ways to deter blacks from living there.
On May 12, 2014, the gang members, wearing gloves and disguises, went on a firebombing rampage, authorities said.
They split into groups, breaking victims’ windows before hurling the firebombs to maximize damage, according to the charge sheet.
Following the attacks nearly 40 gang members were indicted in 2014 on drug-related and other charges but the firebombing attacks went unresolved.
The seven men named in the 10-count indictment unsealed Thursday were identified as Carlos Hernandez, 31; Jose Saucedo, 22; Francisco Farias, 25; Joseue Garibay, 23; Edwin Felix, 23; Jonathan Portillo, 21; and 21-year-old Joel Monarrez.
They were charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights, arson, carrying explosives, racketeering, and several other related crimes.
Saucedo, aka “Lil’ Moe,” allegedly would confront blacks in Ramona Gardens, including children, and bluntly tell them they were not welcome in the neighborhood and risked harm if they stayed.
Race warfare between Mexicans and blacks in California has been steadily rising over a period of decades, and has spiked with the overrunning of that state through the Mexican invasion.
At the same time, large numbers of whites have fled the state, unable to live in the same vicinity as the spiraling nonwhite violence.