Jose Saucedo, 24, Edwin Felix, 26, and Jonathan Portillo, 23, all pled guilty to federal hate crime charges for reportedly firebombing Black homes in the Ramona Gardens housing project. The three defendants belonged to the Latino gang Big Hazard, and the attacks were allegedly apart of a big plan to push Black residents out of the gang’s territory.
The attacks began on Mother’s Day in 2014 and they were allegedly green lit by leader Carlos Hernandez, 31. He said the Mexican Mafia — a prison gang that reportedly runs various Southern California Hispanic gangs — ordered the attacks.
Eight men reportedly carried out the firebombings, with each assigned different roles ranging from smashing windows, to throwing in the Molotov cocktails used to start the fires.
Four homes were hit with the attacks, but luckily no one was severely injured.
Now, four years later, Saucedo, Felix, and Portillo are taking their plea deal in exchange for lighter sentences, although they each still face over 30 years in prison. The three defendants also won’t have to testify against Hernandez and another member of the group as part of their deal.
Three other gang members have already pleaded guilty in relation to the firebombings.
At the time of the attack at least one of the residents said they would ask for an emergency transfer out of Romona Gardens. Others insisted that they would stay put. In late 2016, around 4% of Ramona Gardens 1,800 residents were Black, according to the L.A. Times.