LOS ANGELES >> A former gang member from Baldwin Park received a 24-year prison sentence this week for his role in a federal drug trafficking conspiracy in which he admitted personally executing another gang member from Valinda who failed to pay “taxes,” or extortion payments, to the Mexican Mafia, authorities announced Thursday.
Eddie “Criminal” Garcia, a former 18th Street gang member with ties to Baldwin Park and El Sereno, pleaded guilty last year in federal court in Los Angeles to a charge of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as part of a federal case targeting the Mexican Mafia-controlled Puente 13 street gang.
As part of his plea agreement, Garcia admitted to luring and fatally shooting David Dragna, 44, of Valinda at an apartment complex in the 14700 block of Prichard Street in La Puente on July 3, 2006, U.S. Department of Justice Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
“Garcia admitted that in 2006 he and two members of Puente 13 lured another gang member to an apartment complex, where Garcia executed the victim with a bullet to the head,” Mrozek said.
Garcia carried out the killing on the orders of leaders of Puente 13, who accused Dragna of keeping extortion payments on drug proceeds, or “taxes,” intended for the Mexican Mafia, officials said. Dragna was a member of the Townsmen gang, which also operates in the Valinda Corridor in the central Can Gabriel Valley.
“This defendant killed another human being in cold blood to further his own criminal credentials and to further his drug trafficking career,” U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen M. Decker said. “While he may have believed he could get away with murder, the hard work and dedication of law enforcement and prosecutors in my office ensured that he was held accountable. This case is a stark reminder of the devastating impact of gang violence on our community and the severe consequences that will result from participating in those criminal enterprises.”
At the time of Garcia’s plea deal, the prosecution and defense in the case agreed to recommend Garcia be sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald opted for the high end of the range, sentencing Garcia on Monday to 24 years behind bars, as well as eight years of supervised release upon the completion of his prison term.
The two Puente 13 gang members who joined Garcia in the killing have since pleaded guilty to the slaying, Mrozek said. Angel “Smiley” Torres is serving a 15-and-a-half-year prison term, and Steven “Flaco” Nunez is serving a 10-year sentence.
As part of the same investigation into Puente 13, which began in 2008, longtime gang leader Rafael “Cisco” Munoz-Gonzalez, 42, of La Puente and his brother, Cesar “Blanco” Munoz-Gonazalez of Rowland Heights, received life sentenced in federal prison in 2013 after being convicted at trial of violating the Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organizations Act, as well as committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering, engaging in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, weapons charges and other offenses.
The investigation into Puente 13 has resulted in four indictments and the convictions of about five-dozen gang members and associates, officials said.
Sure, there’s an election today and change is in the air.
But some things will never change.
I get a sense of that every time I pick up an old newspaper story or leaf through old photos on the Internet.
Take the tale of Gordon Stewart Northcott, a serial killer who preyed on young boys in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley during the 1920s.
Northcott and his mother participated in the murders of four kids at their ranch in Wineville. Ultimately, the state hanged Northcott in 1930.
He had been convicted of killing Lewis and Nelson Winslow of Pomona and an unidentified Latino youth, whose body was dumped on the grounds of a
La Puente farm just off of Valley Boulevard.
Northcott’s mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, served a 12-year prison sentence for her role in killing Walter Collins of Los Angeles.
In the aftermath of the case, California politicians in 1939 backed a tough new law targeting “sexual psychopaths.”
As written, the law allowed the state to lock up anybody who was predisposed to committing a sex crime against a child – whether or not that person was convicted of a crime.
Doubtless those who backed the law thought they were promoting change. And, the act has been significantly watered down for legitimate concerns about civil rights.
Seventy years down the road, we have a new name for psychopaths – predators. Beyond that very little has changed. And there are still no easyanswers for eradicating child molesters and serial killers.
If you check out the state’s Megan’s Law Web site, you’ll see right away there are plenty out there.
The same can be said of gangs.
On Monday I received a copy of “The Black Hand: The bloody rise and redemption of `Boxer’ Enriquez, a Mexican mob killer.”
The first chapter describes the rise of La Eme from humble beginnings at the Duell Vocational Institute in Tracy through recent times as the controlling force in California prisons and on many of our streets.
In case you didn’t know, the San Gabriel Valley is La Eme’s backyard. Many of the exploits detailed in the book took place in Montebello, Alhambra and
Among the incidents described are the 1998 Maxon Road killings that left an El Monte mother and three of her young children dead following a brutal Eme hit at their home.
In a September interview with Glenn Beck, Enriquez said he saw the killings as the turning point in his relationship with his carnales in the gang.
You might think that the political shot-callers in Sacramento would have a similar reaction. At the very least, you’d think they’d call for cleaning up the state prison system.
There is no war on the terror that rules our streets. It’s not likely to happen, no matter how much change comes to Washington or our country in the next several months.
That’s about all you can count on come Wednesday morning.
A La Puente woman, accused of running day-to-day activities for the Mexican Mafia while her husband was in Pelican Bay, pleaded not guilty today to charges stemming from an alleged gang murder plot.
Maria Llantada, 44, and nine associates entered pleas in the case today. They were named in a grand jury indictment handed up June 13. All ten defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
The conspiracy charges involve two men who were “targeted,” according to the
Those indicted include Maria Llantada, 44, of La Puente, whom authorities said last year ran the gang’s street activities in parts of La Puente, Norwalk and some surrounding areas.
Also named in the indictment are: Doreen Padilla, 25; David Sahagun, 26; Yvonne
Montes, 31; George Bravo, 40; Renee Lopez, 21; Ernesto Roacho Jr., 20; Angelita
Martinez, 37; Danna Stover, 33; and Antonio Palacios, 66.