Vianna Roman, 39, pleaded guilty last year to racketeering, narcotics and weapons offenses as a result of a plea agreement that recommended a prison sentence of no more than 20 years.
“I ruined my life and my family’s life,” she told the court prior to sentencing.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner responded that it was “too bad we can’t go back and rewrite history.”
Also known as “Old Girl,” “Prima” and “Female Cousin,” Roman was the de-facto leader of the Harpys gang on behalf of Danny Roman, who’s been serving a life sentence for first-degree murder at Pelican Bay State Prison since 1984, when his daughter was 9 years old, federal prosecutors said.
Danny Roman passed orders down through his daughter and son-in-law during monthly prison visits. The couple would then pass the information along to the gang’s shot-caller, Manuel Valencia, who would ensure that the Harpys and other Latino gangs in the region controlled by Danny Roman followed the gangster’s instructions, court papers show.
Valencia, 38, of Walnut was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to charges of racketeering and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise connected to drug trafficking.
Vianna Roman’s husband, Aaron Soto, is serving a six-year prison term in the case.
More than two dozen defendants charged three years ago in a 60-count federal racketeering indictment resulting from “Operation Roman Empire,” a multi-agency investigation targeting the Harpys, have pleaded guilty, prosecutors said. Vianna Roman was the final defendant to be sentenced in the case.
“This brings to a conclusion a case against a gang committing very serious conduct,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Barron told City News Service. “Hopefully, this sentence and others in this case send a clear message that the conduct must come to an end.”
The Harpys controlled illegal activities in an area southwest of downtown that stretched from Normandie Avenue to Figueroa Street and Washington Boulevard to Jefferson Boulevard.
The City Attorney’s Office filed civil enforcement actions in 2012 to curb the gang’s activity at two South Los Angeles locations.
During the course of the investigation, authorities seized about 8 1/2 pounds of methamphetamine, a half-pound of heroin, a pound of cocaine, 23 pounds of marijuana and 22 guns.
—City News Service
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