18th Street clique charged with baby killing in Federal gang case

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities have unsealed a racketeering indictment charging about 40 members and associates of a clique of Los Angeles’ 18th Street gang with a slew of offenses, including the murder of a 3-week-old baby.

The FBI said Tuesday that federal and local agents had arrested eight of those named in the indictment. Several others were already in state and local custody.

Among the crimes outlined in the indictment, members of the gang are accused of the 2007 killing of the baby near MacArthur Park, as well as the 2001 murder of an innocent man who was mistaken for a rival.

The indictment also charges a defense attorney with laundering illegal proceeds on behalf of the Mexican Mafia, a prison-based gang.

*Here’s a copy of the 144-page indictment: clcs 2nd superseding rico final.pdf
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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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Trial for grocery store magnate underway in federal court

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES–A grocery store magnate ordered the killing of rivals, bribed public officials and hired illegal immigrants to bolster and protect his business, a prosecutor in a racketeering trial said Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Searight told jurors during his opening statement that George Torres ran his Numero Uno supermarkets like a criminal enterprise, skimming from store profits and taking revenge on those who crossed him.

Torres and his brother Manuel Torres were part of a group “that used violence, including murder, force, bribery and alien harboring to protect and further their business,” Searight said.

The evidence against the brothers includes wiretapped conversations and testimony from former employees and gang members, the prosecutor said.

George Torres, 52, has pleaded not guilty to more than 50 counts, including racketeering, mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the federal government.

Manuel Torres, 55, has pleaded not guilty to three counts, including racketeering and conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens.

If convicted of all counts, they could each face life in prison. The government also is seeking the forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars.

George Torres has been portrayed by prosecutors as a greedy, calculating businessman who used street justice to help his cause
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