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Crackdown on South L.A. gang nets three more convictions

October 2, 2012 |  2:37 pm

For decades, the Pueblo Bishops Bloods kept a tight, violent rein on the South Los Angeles housing project from which it draws its name.

But  more than two years after the FBI, LAPD and other agencies swept up its members at the Pueblo del Rio housing project, armed with a federal racketeering indictment, 42 members are now convicted and face lengthy prison sentences.

Three more members of the Pueblos were found guilty by a jury Monday of federal racketeering, narcotics and gun charges in the first federal criminal racketeering action brought against a Bloods street gang in Southern California. It was named Operation Family Ties because of the gang's tight-knit affiliations.

Kevin Eleby, 48; Jason Davis, 26; and Rashaad Laws, 35, were found guilty after a four-week trial in U.S. District Court that detailed their deadly and violent exploits.

They were convicted of being members of a criminal enterprise that engaged in narcotics and firearms trafficking, murder, witness intimidation and armed robbery. South L.A. street gangs in recent years have become targets of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to disrupt or break up gangs that have become deeply entrenched in the Los Angeles region over several decades.

"The Pueblo Bishops street gang has sought to terrorize South Los Angeles for too long," said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., whose office is handling the prosecution.

Jurors also convicted Eleby of being responsible for gun possession related to a 2009 shooting inside the projects. The shooting committed by several other Pueblo Bishop gang members targeted the residence of a rival gang member, but only the rival gang member’s mother and 11-year-old brother were inside at the time.

Davis also was convicted of a possessing a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle in furtherance of the conspiracy. He led Los Angeles police on a high-speed chase through the projects, almost hitting a child and ultimately crashing into a minivan as he unsuccessfully sought to elude capture, prosecutors said.

Eleby, Davis, and Laws also were convicted of conspiracy to distribute significant quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine. Davis was convicted of drug trafficking within a public housing project and near schools and playgrounds. Jurors deadlocked on whether Eleby possessed a second firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking.

Eleby and Davis face a minimum sentence of 30 years in federal prison but could be sentenced to life without parole. Laws faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and also faces a potential life sentence. U.S. District Judge S. James Otero is scheduled to sentence them in February

Of the 46 Bishop Bloods charged in the various federal cases, 42 have been convicted, while one federal defendant is in state custody facing a murder charge and two are fugitives suspected to be in Mexico. Prosecutors dismissed charges against one defendant.

Just last month, three members of the gang were convicted of conspiring to murder a man who was killed after being shot in the back by Pueblo Bishops in front of his 2-year-old son.

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-- Richard Winton

Follow Richard Winton (@LACrimes) on Twitter and Google+

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