LOS ANGELES—Three members of the Pueblo Bishops Bloods, a long-entrenched criminal street gang that used violence and intimidation in an attempt to control the Pueblo del Rio housing projects in South Los Angeles, have been found guilty of federal racketeering charges.
Following a five-week trial in United States District Court, a jury late yesterday convicted the three defendants of being members of a criminal enterprise that engaged in narcotics and firearms trafficking, murder, witness intimidation, and armed robbery as part of the gang’s efforts to control the housing projects.
The investigation into the Pueblo Bishops Blood criminal enterprise is a result of a long-standing partnership between the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department, a relationship that is maintained through the FBI’s Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs. This task force is one of dozens of such partnerships throughout the United States, known as Safe Streets Task Forces, funded for the purpose of assisting local police in identifying and addressing violent crime in America.
“For years, the members of the Pueblo Bishops street gang have done everything in their power to terrorize innocent, law-abiding residents of South Los Angeles,” said United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. “The task force investigation that led to the guilty verdicts in this federal jury trial has dealt the Pueblo Bishops a serious blow that will make the streets and neighborhoods of South Los Angeles safer.”
Timothy Delaney, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, stated, “The defendants convicted at trial face significant time in federal prison. This is the latest example of successful collaboration among federal agents and local partners in targeting the most notorious gangs in Los Angeles in order to have a positive impact on affected neighborhoods.”
The three defendants found guilty yesterday of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act are:
■Gary White, also known as “Big J-Killa,” 47, who resided in Los Angeles and Victorville;
■Jermaine Hardiman, also known as “Lil’ J-Killa,” 31, of Los Angeles;
■Anthony Gabourel, also known as “Bandit,” 22, who resided in Los Angeles and Perris.
In addition to the RICO charge, Gabourel was convicted of conspiring to murder a man who was shot in the back in front of his 2-year-old son. Francisco Cornelio was murdered in a case of mistaken identity after Pueblo Bishop gang members sought to avenge the killing of one of their members earlier that day. Gabourel was also convicted of attempting to conceal the pistolgrip shotgun used in that murder.
In addition to the RICO charge, White and Hardiman were convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. They were also convicted of drug trafficking within a public housing project and near schools and parks.
As a result of their convictions, all three defendants face life prison terms when they are sentenced by United States District Judge S. James Otero on November 19.
The jury that returned the guilty verdicts also acquitted Gabourel of a drug conspiracy count, as well as charges called violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR) related to the murder of Cornelio and an attempt murder of another Latino man. White was acquitted of a charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
According to evidence presented at trial, the Pueblo Bishops Bloods street gang has been active in and around the Pueblo del Housing Projects for many years. This case is the first federal RICO action a brought against the criminal enterprise.
A total of 46 defendants were charged as a result of the investigation targeting the Pueblo Bishops Bloods (see initial announcement in this case at: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/pr2010/122.html). With yesterday’s guilty verdicts, 39 of those defendants have now been convicted (for example, see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2012/046.html). Additionally, three federal defendants are currently is state custody, and prosecutors dismissed against one defendant.
There are three pending defendants, who are scheduled to go on trial on racketeering charges before Judge Otero on August 22.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.