Montebello Gang Shot-Caller Guilty of Federal Racketeering

May 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A longtime member of the Mexican Mafia-affiliated Southside Montebello gang was found guilty Friday of federal racketeering charges that included providing a firearm used to kill a rival.

George Vera Sr., 48, was convicted by a federal jury in Los Angeles that determined he conspired to violate the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The jury also found Vera guilty of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Vera faces a penalty of between five years and life in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee on a date to be determined.

Known as “Rascal” and “Big Rascal,” Vera was a senior “OG” member of Southside Montebello. During a three-week trial, prosecutors argued that he led a double life, working as an electrician for Los Angeles County during the day, and acting a gang leader and gang shot-caller during his off hours.

George Vera Sr., 48, was convicted of federal racketeering and firearm charges. (Montebello Police Department)

George Vera Sr., 48, was convicted of federal racketeering and firearm charges. (Montebello Police Department)

According to court documents, Vera “engaged in hiding a firearm with a fellow gang member, provided a firearm to a younger gang member that was used in a murder, stored firearms and ammunition at his home for gang members to use, hosted gang meetings, was involved in the payment of ‘taxes’ to the Mexican Mafia on the gang’s behalf, directed younger members of the gang to protect his home from disrespect from rival gangs, and agreed to lie to his son’s probation officer to shield him from prosecution for drug dealing.”

Two of Vera’s sons were charged and pleaded guilty in this case. Marcus Matthew Vera pleaded guilty to drug, conspiracy and firearm charges, and will be sentenced later this year. The younger George Vera pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a firearm, and he previously was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison.

The elder Vera and his sons are among 16 defendants who have been convicted in federal court on charges related to a multi-agency task force investigation into gang activities in Montebello.

“George Vera Sr. was a senior member of a gang that undertook great efforts to quash its rivals,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This gang also maintained an arsenal of weapons, regularly engaged in acts of violence, and was involved in significant narcotics trafficking.”

As a result of the probe, six defendants were charged by the District Attorney’s Office in relation to six cold case murders solved during this investigation. Four of those charged in relation to the previously unsolved murder cases have been convicted in state court, and another two defendants are pending trial.

Additionally, five other defendants were charged in state court for crimes ranging from drug sales to attempted murder.

“Montebello police personnel, working with our federal law enforcement counterparts, have successfully prosecuted some of the top leaders and most dangerous members of a street gang that has terrorized the community for decades,” said Montebello Police Chief Kevin L. McClure. “As a result of this collaborative effort, the city of Montebello is now a safer and more peaceful place.”

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