A member of the Big Hazard street gang who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a racially motivated firebombing at the Ramona Gardens housing project was sentenced on Monday to 13 years in federal prison.
José “Lil Moe” Saucedo, 25, was sentenced by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder after pleading guilty last year to felonies revolving around the Mother’s Day 2014 attack, which federal prosecutors argued was intended to push African American residents out of the Boyle Heights residential complex. Saucedo was given a 48-month credit for time served, bringing his sentence down to nine years.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the gang members threw Molotov Cocktails into four Ramona Gardens apartments just after midnight. Three of the apartments were rented by African American families. Although windows were shattered, fire crews were able to extinguish the flames and no injuries were reported.
Prosecutors say Saucedo played an important role in the attacks, collecting the glass bottles used to make the Molotov cocktails, overseeing one of two groups of gang members during the crime, and throwing one of the firebombs into an apartment before going on to taunt Ramona Gardens residents.
“Racially motivated crimes are among the most disturbing offenses inflicted on a community,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna in a public statement. “Today’s sentence shows that criminals who are fueled by racial hatred – such as this defendant, who participated in a firebombing attack on innocent families while they slept – will face severe consequences.”
Saucedo is the first of eight men accused in the 2014 firebombing to be sentenced.