Home Los Angeles Press Releases 2013 Federal Indictments Charge 20 Members and Associates of 18th Street Gang Clique for Their Roles in Methamphetamine...

Federal Indictments Charge 20 Members and Associates of 18th Street Gang Clique for Their Roles in Methamphetamine Distribution Network

FBI Los Angeles May 22, 2013
  • Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller (310) 996-3343

LOS ANGELES—An investigation by a joint task force resulted in federal charges against 20 gang members and associates with known ties to the Mexican Mafia for their roles in a methamphetamine distribution ring, announced Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; Charlie Beck, the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department; and André Birotte, Jr., the United States Attorney in Los Angeles.

The arrest operation on Tuesday marked the culmination of an investigation by a joint task force whose members include agents and officers with the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Los Angeles County Department of Probation. In preparation and during Monday’s operation, the task force was assisted by the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services; the Culver City Police Department; and the California Department of Parks and Recreation in northern California.

This investigation targeted the senior membership and “shot callers” of a local clique of the 18th Street Gang known as the Rancho Park Locos (RPK).

Multiple grand jury indictments, unsealed following the operation on Tuesday, were returned in United States District Court in Los Angeles charging a total of 19 defendants, several of whom were already in custody prior to today’s operation. A 20th defendant was charged in a federal criminal complaint.

The indictments charge the defendants with violations of various federal statutes, including conspiracy; possession and distribution of methamphetamine; and a variety of weapons violations. The majority of the defendants have lengthy criminal histories, including for murder. In addition, unindicted co-conspirators identified during this investigation were charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with various violent crimes, including homicide. The defendants charged in the federal indictments are listed below. Where noted, defendants were in custody on unrelated charges.

  • Jonathan Hernandez, of Inglewood: Distribution of methamphetamine
  • Daniel Lopez of Los Angeles: Dealing in firearms without a license and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition
  • Jaime Moreno of Los Angeles: Distribution of methamphetamine
  • Pedro Ramirez of Los Angeles: Conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine
  • Max Maestas of Los Angeles: Conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine
  • Victor Coreas of Los Angeles: Conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine
  • Julian Martinez of Los Angeles: Conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine; and aiding and abetting
  • Evelyn Sotelo of Los Angeles: Conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine; and aiding and abetting
  • Brenda Sevilla of Los Angeles: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine
  • Rigoberto Jimenez of Los Angeles (arrested in Redding, California): Distribution of methamphetamine and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition
  • Gosada Munoz of Los Angeles (previously in state custody): felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition
  • Juan Barragan of Hawthorne (previously in federal custody): Felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and distribution of methamphetamine
  • Luis Alberto Jimenez of Los Angeles (previously in federal custody): Felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition
  • Henry Borja of Los Angeles: Distribution of methamphetamine; arrested Monday, May 20
  • Dainler Baquedano: Distribution of methamphetamine (previously in custody)
  • Jorge Dominguez: Conspiracy  and distribution of methamphetamine (previously in custody)
  • Johnny Robert Hernandez: Felon in possession of a firearm (previously in custody)
  • Joshua Perez: Conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine (previously in custody)
  • Roberto Yepez: Distribution of methamphetamine (previously in custody)

A 20th defendant, Hilary Apperson, of Los Angeles, was charged in a criminal complaint with distribution of methamphetamine. Additional individuals were arrested for parole violations. Since the inception of the case, task force officers utilized numerous investigative techniques, including confidential human sources, to make undercover purchases of narcotics and weapons.

Los Angeles Operation Breaking Bad 5/22

In addition to Tuesday’s arrests, multiple search warrants were executed in Los Angeles County during which investigators found quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, as well as firearms and various drug paraphernalia. During the investigation, more than 50 ounces of methamphetamine were seized, as well as several handguns, shotguns, and assault rifles. Four children were taken into protective custody during Tuesday’s operation.

The federal defendants arrested Tuesday made their initial court appearances in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon. Defendant Sevilla was released on bond. Pedro Ramirez and Evelyn Sotelo are scheduled for a bond hearing on Thursday, May 23, and the remaining defendants were remanded to federal custody pending trial. If they are convicted, those facing weapons-related charges face federal prison sentences of up to 10 years. If convicted, those charged with narcotics offenses would face statutory maximum penalties of either 40 years or life in federal prison, depending on the quantity of drugs involved.

The cases are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

An indictment or criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

Media Contacts:

  • FBI Press Relations: 310 996-3343
  • Los Angeles Police Department: 213 486-5910
  • United States Attorney’s Office: 213 894-6947
  • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office: 213 974-3525