LOS ANGELES >> A gang member who managed a group of three rival street gangs in and around the San Fernando Valley, which officials say were brought together at the behest of the Mexican Mafia, pleaded guilty Monday, while admitting to being a primary supplier of drugs to the group.
Santos Zepeda, aka “Slim,” 33, of Glendale, who is also senior member of the Frogtown gang, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and conspiring to traffic methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Zepeda was one of 22 defendants named in a federal racketeering indictment alleging how Mexican Mafia member Arnold Gonzales ordered the bringing together of the three street gangs.
Gonzalez imposed the ‘peace treaty’ in 2010,bringing together the Frogtown, Toonerville and Rascals gangs. U.S. Attorney’s officials say those gangs worked together to control the narcotics trade in an area along the Los Angeles River from Elysian Park nearly to Burbank.
But because he jailed in Pelican Bay State Prison – after being convicted of murder – Gonzales appointed another Frogtown gang member, Jorge Grey, to be his “emissary on the streets,” according to the indictment.
Zepeda was Grey’s top lieutenant, and made narcotics flowed through the racketeering enterprise, and he coordinated the collection of “taxes,” which authorities say were imposed on street-level drug dealers.
Zepeda pleaded guilty Monday morning in front of United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. He is scheduled to sentence the defendant on January 22.
He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum penalty of life without parole.
Of the 22 defendants named in the indictment, 11 have pleaded guilty, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The remaining 11 defendants, including Grey, are scheduled to go on trial on March 5, 2018.
From staff reports