A fifth member of the Big Hazard gang was sentenced Monday to 12 years in federal prison for his involvement in the 2014 Mother’s Day firebombing of homes of black residents in the Ramona Gardens housing project, mynewsLA reported.

Josué “Malo” Garibay, 26, also received three years of probation after completing the prison term –receiving the stiffest sentence so far out of the eight defendants in the case.

Garibay admitted in his plea agreement that Hazard targeted apartments in the federally-funded housing complex because of the occupants’ race and color, with the intent to force the victims to move out of the neighborhood.  Historically, Ramona Gardens has been occupied by a majority of Latino residents.

U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said the racially motivated, nighttime attacks targeted homes containing sleeping babies and elderly people, adding a sentencing enhancement for “vulnerable victims.”

Garibay pleaded guilty last year to four felonies, including a charge of using fire to commit a federal felony –a count carrying a mandatory 10-year prison term.

Garibay’s attorney told the court that his client “didn’t break any windows, didn’t light any firebombs. He was just there,” according to the news site.  But Snyder said Garibay had filled some of the bottles used in the attacks with gasoline and the judge agreed, saying the defendant “was fully involved” in the crime.

In a 2016 indictment, federal prosecutors alleged the gang members violated the civil rights of the families, specifically the constitutional right to live in a home free from racial intimidation. All eight defendants have pleaded guilty to related charges.

Sentences have already been handed down to Edwin “Boogie” Felix, 27, who will serve 92 months in federal prison;  co-ringleader José “Lil’ Moe” Saucedo, 25, nine years; and Jonathan “Pelón” Portillo, 24, 63 months. Records regarding a fourth defendant, who was reportedly sentenced last month, have been sealed by the court.

Two more sentences should be handed down in the next few weeks, while alleged ringleader Carlos “Rider” Hernández, 34, is set to be sentenced in October.

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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