Los Angeles,CA–A member of a Latino street gang in Los Angeles has been sentenced to 16-years in prison for a hate crime, involving the fire-bombing of Black families in Boyle Heights. They attempted to drive out the small amount of Black families in the majority Latino housing project. This most recent incident, only points to the long anti-Black attitudes and animosity held in many Southern Latino street gangs.
In 1994, two homes of the seven Black families living in Ramona Gardens at the time were also fire-bombed.
Carlos Hernandez is said to be part of the “Biz Hard Gang.” The gang operates within the larger network of the Mexican Mafia–whose tentacles and control reach far beyond the bars of U.S prisons where most of the leaders are confined.
“Carlos Hernandez, 36, aka “Rider” and “Creeper,” was sentenced by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder. During the hearing, Judge Snyder explained that her sentence was intended to “send a message to the community that hate crimes will not be tolerated” and that this was “not a time for any court to tolerate hate crimes.”
Hernandez, along with seven other members of the Latino gang met on the evening of Mother’s Day 2014 in the Ramona Gardens housing projects. After splitting into two groups, armed with hammers and molotov cocktails, they smashed windows into four homes. Three of the four homes were occupied by Black people. At least 10 children were in the homes when the fires started.
No one was injured from the fires. Hernandez did sustain an injury to his arm that needed to be treated at a local hospital the night of the fire.
“Hernandez pleaded guilty in April 2019 to five felony counts: conspiracy to violate civil rights, violent crime in aid of racketeering, criminal interference with fair housing rights, use of fire in the commission of a federal felony, and carrying a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.
The defendants in this case perpetrated hate crimes that targeted innocent victims in their homes simply because of their skin color,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “These despicable acts are simply unacceptable in our society. We are committed to protecting everyone’s civil rights, and anyone who participates in this type of conduct will find that the federal government will marshal all of its resources to ensure they are brought to justice.”
According to the Department of Justice Press release, today’s sentencing hearing follows the sentencing of several other defendants in this case: Jose Saucedo, aka “Lil Mo,” who was ordered to serve 156 months; Josue Garibay, aka “Malo,” who received a 12-year sentence; Jonathan Portillo, aka “Pelon,” sentenced to 63 months; Francisco Farias, aka “Bones,” who was ordered to serve 42 months; and Edwin Felix, aka “Boogie,” who received a 92-month sentence.