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Two members of gang that terrorized Florence-Firestone residents sentenced

February 24, 2010 |  6:38 pm
Two members of a Los Angeles street gang accused of targeting African Americans and engaging in murder, drug dealing and extortion were sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison.

Luis Aguilar and Cesar De la Cruz were named in a 2007 indictment against members of Florencia 13, which terrorized residents and rivals in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood in unincorporated Los Angeles County, according to federal prosecutors.

Aguilar and De la Cruz were drug dealers for the gang and not involved in attacks against African Americans, said Kevin Rosenberg, an assistant U.S. attorney who helped prosecute the case.

De la Cruz was also sentenced to eight years of supervised release when he completes his prison sentence. Aguilar, meanwhile, was sentenced to a lifetime supervised release when he leaves federal prison, Rosenberg said.

Eight other gang members named in the indictment were convicted last year.

The indictment painted a chilling picture of unchecked violence in the working-class neighborhood. The gang targeted blacks in the area, sometimes focusing on innocent citizens simply to send a message, prosecutors said.

At times, authorities said, Florencia members took orders from the prison-based Mexican Mafia, a gang that exerts control over Latino street gangs in Southern California.

Florencia 13 is one of the largest and oldest Latino street gangs in Los Angeles County.

--Robert J. Lopez
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