The ring leader of a Los Angeles street gang that operated near USC pleaded guilty today to federal racketeering and drug trafficking charges.
Manuel Valencia's pleas come one week after the daughter of the Mexican Mafia member who controlled the Harpys gang from prison pleaded guilty to similar charges.
Valencia, 38, of Walnut, pleaded guilty to violating the federal racketeering statute and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise connected to drug trafficking, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In his plea, Valencia admitted that he oversaw and participated in gang activities, which included collecting "taxes" from drug dealers who were allowed to operate in gang territory, retaliating against people who ran afoul of the gang, and engaging in drug trafficking.
Valencia faces going to federal prison for life but prosecutors will recommend he serve a maximum 27 years behind bars.
Vianna Roman, 38, of Los Angeles -- daughter of Mexican Mafia member Danny Roman -- pleaded guilty last week to racketeering, narcotics and weapons offenses as a result of a plea agreement that recommends a prison sentence of no more than 20 years.
When she pleaded guilty, Vianna Roman admitted that she acted as a conduit for her father's orders as he exercised control over the Harpys gang.
With the guilty pleas of Vianna Roman and Valencia, a total of two dozen defendants charged two years ago in a federal racketeering indictment have pleaded guilty.
Out of the 29 defendants named in the indictment, one is still pending trial, three are fugitives, and charges against one were dismissed following his conviction of first-degree murder in Los Angeles Superior Court, prosecutors said.
The Harpys gang, also known as the Harpys-Dead End gang, controlled illegal activities in an area southwest of downtown from Normandie Avenue to Figueroa Street and Washington Boulevard to Jefferson Boulevard.
The City Attorney's Office last year filed civil enforcement actions to curb the gang's activity at two South Los Angeles locations.
—City News Service