A Latino gang member from Highland Park, who spent more than 15 years on the run in connection with a racially motivated murder, is expected to plead guilty Friday to federal charges.
Merced “Shadow” Cambero, 39, will plead guilty to felony counts of conspiracy against rights, interference with federally protected activities, and use or discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.
According to his plea deal, Cambero can expect to be sentenced to 20 years behind bars, followed by a five-year term of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson is expected to schedule a sentencing date at the conclusion of the plea hearing.
Cambero was taken into custody by Mexican authorities in Baja California and turned over to the FBI at the border one year ago. Federal prosecutors allege he was one of three shooters who gunned down Kenneth Kurry Wilson, a black man, in Highland Park in April 1999.
Cambero, according to court documents, is a member of the Avenues gang, which waged a campaign of terror against blacks in Highland Park.
The case marked the first time the federal hate crime statute had been used to combat racial violence by members of a street gang.
In 2006, three other members of the Avenues gang were sentenced to life in federal prison as part of the six-year conspiracy that also saw another black man gunned down at a bus stop in December 2000. A fourth man was convicted as a lookout in that 2000 slaying of Christopher Bowser.
—City News Service
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