‘Imprison for ten years’-Verdict Announced for the Gang Member who Helped Run Drug Operations
The Justice Department today stated that a former member of the Vineland Boys stationed in the San Fernando Valley and involved in the gang’s drug trafficking operations had been sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for racketeering and narcotics offenses. Late Tuesday afternoon, United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald handed a sentence to Lancaster resident Mark Anthony Espinosa, 43.
On April 7th, Espinosa pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and one count of conspiracy to distribute drugs, including methamphetamine.
Espinosa was involved with the Vineland Boys’ Pequeos subgroup from November 2015 till November 2019. Espinosa coordinated drug sales within the Vineland Boys’ “territorial” jurisdiction with other gang members.
Espinosa was a significant player in the drug trade, selling drugs within the Vineland Boys area, managing drug and gun storage places, and enforcing the gang’s policy of extorting drug sellers through violence.
Espinosa-A criminal with a notorious past
Espinosa admitted to several crimes in his plea deal, including a meeting in March 2016 in which he and another Vineland Boys gang member discussed an event in which they held a gun to the head of an individual in a back-alley fight. Also, in June of 2016, Espinosa and another defendant sold some 112 grams of methamphetamine for $700.
Thirty-one members and associates of the Vineland Boys were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2019. Federal prosecutors have achieved 29 convictions thus far, with 14 of those convictions leading to sentences of at least ten years in jail.
Jesus Gonzalez Jr., 29, “Lil Chito,” “Gunner,” and “Chuy,” all from Sun Valley and all members of the Vineland Boys gang, is currently serving a 31-year federal prison sentence for several offenses, including the attempted killings of three rival gangsters.
On racketeering conspiracy and drugs allegations, the trial of Mario Alberto Miranda, 31, of Sherman Oaks, an alleged Vineland Boys shot caller, and Ulises Botello, 46, of Palmdale, is set to begin in October 2023. This case is being prosecuted by Jennifer Chou and Sara Vargas, Assistant United States Attorneys in the Violent and Organized Crime Section.