Azusa man convicted of gun possession stemming from massive anti-gang investigation

AZUSA — An Azusa gang member faces up to 10 years in prison after being convicted  Wednesday in federal court of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun, officials said.
Mauricio Pineda, 24, was jailed May 3 after he was discovered with a gun in August of 2009, as Azusa police and and federal authorities took part in a massive investigation targeting the Varrio Azusa 13 street gang dubbed, “Bright Lights, Big City.”
He fought the charge, and his case went to trial before a federal grand jury in Los Angeles, which returned a guilty verdict Wednesday, Azusa police Lt. Steve Hunt said.
He faces up to 10 years in prison when he returns to court for sentencing in October, Hunt added.
The Bright Light, Big City operation, which began in early 2008, resulted in 51 defendants being named in a 24-count indictment in June of 2011. The charges included violating the civil rights of black Americans and violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Ramirez’s arrest came as a result of that investigation, officials said. Further investigation into the gang continues.
The massive law enforcement campaign was launched to combat hate crimes targeting black residents and other gang-related crimes associated with the Azusa 13 gang.
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