A member of a street gang that operates in Santa Fe Springs and Whittier pleaded guilty Friday to federal criminal charges, including counts stemming from the August 2013 stabbing of a rival in Quiet Canyon in Montebello.
Ronald Sotello, 43, of Whittier pleaded guilty to three felonies before Chief U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who scheduled an Oct. 7 sentencing hearing. The plea agreement filed in Los Angeles federal court specifies that Sotello will serve no more than 11 years in federal prison, although the penalty is ultimately up to the judge.
Sotello — a member of a Mexican Mafia-affiliated gang — stabbed a Mongols Motorcycle Club member, identified in court papers only as R.C., in order to “increase his position in the gang,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
His guilty plea to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations– RICO — Act, committing a violent crime in aid of the gang, and conspiracy to traffic at least 50 grams of methamphetamine arose from a 2016 federal grand jury indictment charging 51 suspected gang members and associates.
Prosecutors have secured more than 20 convictions so far. Trial for Jose Loza, 40, an alleged Mexican Mafia member and gang shot caller, is scheduled to begin on July 30 in downtown Los Angeles.
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