LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A Boyle Heights street gang member was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a hate crime he committed toward low-income black families in 2014.
Jose Saucedo, also known as “Lil’ Moe”, a 25-year-old member of the Big Hazard street gang was sentenced on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, to 156 months (12 years) in Federal prison. Saucedo was identified as the person who led the group in orchestrating and executing the May 11, 2014, Mother’s Day, Firebombing of the Ramona Gardens Housing Development in order to force the families out of their homes.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) said that Saucedo committed the acts firebombing several apartments with seven other gang members. “Each defendant was given a specific role in the attacks and was provided with items to be used, including masks to conceal their identities and a hammer to break a window,” ATF officials said. The group purposely targeted black families in the Federally-funded low-income property.
All of the gang members located their targets smashing their windows to throwing Molotov cocktails inside four homes. The homes occupied with women and children who were sleeping at the time, were all but one occupied by black families. The group accidentally targeted the home of a Hispanic resident of the complex. “Saucedo played a primary role in the attacks, collecting glass bottles to be used as Molotov cocktails, supervising one of the two groups of co-conspirators, and throwing a firebomb into one of the targeted units,” ATF officials added.
Saucedo continued to intimidate the families based only on their race, threatening a mixed-race family using the firebombing as an example of what they would face unless they moved out of the housing complex.
Saucedo pleaded guilty in May 2018, to the four felonies including conspiracy to violate civil rights, violent crime in aid of racketeering, interference with the Fair Housing Act, and attempted arson of federal property.
“Racially motivated crimes are among the most disturbing offenses inflicted on a community,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Today’s sentence shows that criminals who are fueled by racial hatred – such as this defendant, who participated in a firebombing attack on innocent families while they slept – will face severe consequences.”
All of the defendants pleaded guilty and admitted to participating only because of the race and color in an attempt to make the victims move away. Saucedo was the first to be sentenced and all others will be at a later date. He was given four years of time served.
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