Latino gang member convicted for role in racist terror campaign

Santiago "Chico" Rios and his son, Louie "Lil Chico" Rios, targeted African Americans across Los Angeles County

Topics: Southern Poverty Law Center, Latino Gangs, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Times, gang violence,

Latino gang member convicted for role in racist terror campaign (Credit: defpicture via Shutterstock)
This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center A Latino street gang leader and his son were sentenced in federal court Monday to lengthy prison terms for their role in a years-long campaign of racist terror and ethnic cleansing targeting African Americans in and around Los Angeles.

Since at least the mid-1990s, Latino street gangs across Los Angeles County have been targeting, beating and sometimes killing blacks in an attempt to drive them out of the region.

Just before Christmas 2006, Cheryl Green, 14, playing on her skateboard with a group of friends just south of 206th Street in Los Angeles, was shot dead in broad daylight by two men who approached the group and opened fire without saying a word. Two members of the 204th Street gang were later arrested in the killing.

Green’s death shook the city.

A few weeks after her funeral, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, law enforcement officials and community activists held a news conference and vowed a crackdown on 10 street gangs, six of them Latino. “The 204th Street and Eastside Torrance gangs have contributed to the rise in racially motivated murders and other crimes,” the mayor’s office said in a press release.

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Much of the racially inspired murder and mayhem was and is being directed from far away from the streets and hills of Los Angeles. As the Intelligence Report detailed in the Winter 2006 issue the powerful Mexican Mafia, a prison-based gang, had given the “green light” to the many Latino gangs it controls in Southern California to terrorize and murder black people as part of the effort to drive them out.

In this latest chapter of race and hate in the Southern California sunshine, 51 members of the Azusa 13 street gang have been indicted and convicted since 2011 for “terrorizing” African Americans in Azusa, a city of about 48,000 in the San Gabriel Valley, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Monday, Santiago “Chico” Rios, a leader of the gang, was sentenced to 19 years and seven months in prison by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess, according to the Times, and his hearing-impaired son, Louie “Lil Chico” Rios, was given a 10-year sentence.

Both had pleaded guilty to conspiring to attack African Americans and chase them out Azusa, a gang policy established in 1992, the paper said.

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