The Department of Justice charged members of a Los Angeles-based Latino gang with firebombing homes of African-Americans in an effort to push them out of LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood, AFP reports.
An indictment unsealed Thursday alleges that members of the Big Hazard gang engaged in the attacks in 2014.
“The defendants used firebombs to drive the victims from their homes because of their race,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. “This is a hate crime.”
“Such violence and intimidation have no place in our society.”
The indictment claims that Hazard gang members spray-painted gang symbols on businesses and residences in the neighborhood and developed strategies to keep blacks from living in the area.
Following the May 2014 firebomb attacks, almost 40 gang members were charged in 2014 on drug-related indictments among other other charges, but the firebombing attacks went unresolved until recently.
The seven men named in the 10-count indictment were identified as Carlos Hernandez, 31; Jose Saucedo, 22; Francisco Farias, 25; Joseue Garibay, 23; Edwin Felix, 23; Jonathan Portillo, 21; and 21-year-old Joel Monarrez.
The men face maximum prison sentences of 110 to 115 years or life behind bars.