El Monte Flores gang members indicted on conspiracy, drug trafficking, other charges

LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities Wednesday arrested 18 El Monte Flores gang members and associates who used the former offices of the Boys & Girls Club as their hangout.
The 18 were among 41 people indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges that include conspiracy, murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and weapons violations.
Federal officials said the gang conducted illegal activities out of the Boys & Girls Club of America/San Gabriel Valley Club facilities on Mountain View Road.
“They used the club as a place where they would openly sell drugs and collect taxes,” said Vijay Rathi, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The gang also used the club, which recently held community meetings and hosted a car wash fundraiser for a Flores member who was murdered.
“It is very disturbing that a facility that is supposed to give boys and girls protection and a safe place could be used for that,” Mayor Andrew Quintero said.
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A look inside the Numero Uno case

Jeffery Anderson has a piece out today on Ticklethewire, which goes into some detail about how the government essentially blew its case against George Torres, the inner city grocery store kingpin who was accused in a racketeering case. 

Thomas Himes tackled the same material in Sunday’s newspaper. Here’s a snippet of Tom’s story in case you missed it:

LOS ANGELES — In the eyes of a federal court judge, an Arcadia man who was convicted of soliciting murder and racketeering was the victim of a rogue LAPD cop who bribed and threatened key witnesses in the case.

As a result, George Torres, 52, the one-time owner of the Los Angeles-based Numero Uno supermarket chain, which had a store in South El Monte, is free again after serving nearly two years time in federal custody.

“Now he (Torres) stands convicted of nothing,” Torres’ attorney, Steve Madison said.

Torres still faces charges of harboring illegal aliens, bribing a planning commissioner and tax evasion and will return to court on Nov. 30

In a 147-page ruling U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson cited police and government misconduct as reasons to overturn Torres’ convictions.

Wilson singled out LAPD Sgt. Greg Kading, ruling that Kading bribed and threatened key witnesses to obtain testimony against Torres.

The LAPD veteran made “promises of immunity, money, and benefits while in prison, to drug dealers who faced decades of prison time,” Madison said.

Kading did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story. Although LAPD had no official comment, a source close to the investigation said the department’s Internal Affairs Group is investigating Kading.

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Numero Uno store owner Torres conviction overturned

I should have had this earlier in the day, but got busy.
George Torres, an Arcadia resident had his racketeering conviction overturned in federal court Wednesday after a judge ruled that prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence. Torres was represented by Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison at trial.


LOS ANGELES – A federal judge has dismissed two of the most serious convictions in a racketeering case against the founder of a Southern California grocery chain.

U.S. attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek says the judge on Tuesday tossed out racketeering and conspiracy convictions against George Torres, of Arcadia, founder of the Numero Uno stores. Torres was ordered released on $1 million bond.

The judge’s order came after federal prosecutors discovered jailhouse recordings containing potentially exculpatory statements made by a witness in the case.
Torres was convicted of 55 felony counts in April and had faced a potential life sentence. He now faces a shorter sentence.

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