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El Monte Flores Gang Member Sentenced to 210 months in Federal Prison on Multiple Racketeering Charges

MAY 23 (LOS ANGELES) – An El Monte man who pleaded guilty to four separate crimes related to gang activity has been sentenced to serve 210 months in federal prison.  Christian “Bossy” Lafargo, 30, was sentenced Thursday by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt after pleading guilty to multiple charges, including Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Conspiracy, Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering – Attempted Murder, Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering – Conspiracy to Commit Murder, and Discharging a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.
 
The case was based on Lafargo’s activities in the El Monte Flores (“EMF”) gang, one of the oldest street gangs in Los Angeles County.  According to the government’s sentencing papers, EMF has hundreds of Mexican Mafia affiliated gang members, spanning several generations. The Mexican Mafia is a powerful and violent prison gang that controls drug distribution and other illegal activities within the California penal system and on the streets of Southern California by organizing Latino street gang members for the purpose of establishing a larger network for the Mexican Mafia’s illegal activities.  If a street gang does not comply with the demands of the Mexican Mafia, the prison gang will order the assault or murder the offending gang’s members, whether they are in custody or on the streets.

According to the indictment, the EMF gang seeks to control parts of the San Gabriel Valley through violence and intimidation, while deriving profits from its drug-trafficking operations and the scheme of “taxing” persons within the community.  The crimes of EMF include drug-trafficking, extortion, theft, robbery, assault, hate crimes against African-Americans, and murder.
 
Lafargo, a long-time EMF member, participated in drug distribution, extortion, and crimes of violence on behalf of the enterprise and the most aggravating aspect of defendant’s offense conduct was his violent activity on behalf of the gang.  In 2009, Lafargo beat and kicked a victim in the head and assaulted this victim while Lafargo possessed marijuana for distribution along with a 9mm firearm.  In 2010, Lafargo attempted to kill a co-defendant, Jose Salas, because Salas had instructed an unidentified co-conspirator to sell drugs in the same area where Lafargo was selling drugs on behalf of Mexican Mafia members.
 
Even during his periods of incarceration, LaFargo continued to participate in criminal activity on behalf of the gang and Mexican Mafia within the walls of the State Prison.  Lafargo was the latest defendant sentenced by Judge Kronstadt in the case against the EMF gang:

•     Rafael Lomeli, 38, of El Monte, was sentenced to 130 months in custody on May 5, 2016;
•     Mark Salazar, 25, of El Monte, was sentenced to five years in prison on April 21, 2016;
•     Enrique Lopez, 50, of El Monte, was sentenced to 65 months in custody on March 24, 2016;
•     Marie Gutierrez, 56, of El Monte, was sentenced to 27 months in custody on February 4, 2016; and
•     Hiram Ramirez, 48, of El Monte, was sentenced to 32 months in custody on December 17, 2015.

Jose Salas, 38, of El Monte, has pleaded guilty and admitted to attempting to murder Lafargo and another gang member after Lafargo failed in his attempt to murder Salas.  Salas has agreed to a sentence of 15 years in prison and will be sentenced later this year.  James Gutierrez, 53, of El Monte, a Mexican Mafia member who was a “shotcaller” of the gang has pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the RICO Act, conspiring to distribute controlled substances, including methamphetamine and heroin, and conspiring to launder money.  Gutierrez has also agreed to a sentence of 15 years in prison and will be sentenced later this year.

The investigation into the EMF gang was conducted by a task force that included the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; IRS Criminal Investigation; and the El Monte Police Department.

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