Gang Convictions Have Made Northeast L.A. Safer, Says Justice Department

2019 December Editions More News Updates

By T. A. Hendrickson

Two more defendants were sentenced to prison in November in a major federal case against three street gangs in Northeast Los Angeles.

Filed in 2015, the case outlined how Arnold “Arnie” Gonzales, 59, an imprisoned Mexican Mafia member and a senior Frogtown gang member, unified the Frogtown, Toonerville and Rascals street gangs in order to control drug trafficking and other illegal activities along the L.A. River from Elysian Park to nearly Burbank.

In all, 21 of the 22 named defendants in the 2015 indictment have been convicted and all but a few have now been sentenced. One defendant was acquitted.

“The indictment and takedown of the defendants led to an appreciable decline in crime, particularly violent crime, in Northeast Los Angeles, as it took out the leadership of the unified gang alliance in addition to vital members of the criminal enterprise,” wrote Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s office in L.A., in an email exchange with the Boulevard Sentinel.

Sentenced in November were Thomas Gonzales, 61, and his longtime girlfriend, Gloria Valerio, 66, both of Elysian Valley (a.k.a. Frogtown). The pair had been convicted of collecting and storing extortionate “taxes” for Arnold Gonzales. (Thomas Gonzales and Arnold Gonzales are brothers).

Thomas Gonzales was given 66 months in federal prison; Valerio was given 60 months.

Post Script: Arnold “Arnie” Gonzales, imprisoned since 1982, is serving life without parole for his involvement in a murder that occurred at a convenience store in Eagle Rock in September, 1980. The victim, Gary Black, was a clerk at the store.


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