Seven Los Angeles Men Charged for Firebombing African-American Residences

Los Angeles, CA – Seven Los Angeles men were charged in a 10-count indictment unsealed today with participating in the 2014 firebombing of residences of African Americans living in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles.  The defendants were also charged for their roles in a racketeering enterprise that used violence and intimidation to control the perceived territory of the Big Hazard street gang.

  • On June 22, 2016, a federal grand jury returned an indictment under seal charging the defendants, all of whom are members and associates of the Big Hazard or Hazard Grande (Hazard) street gang with numerous federal crimes
  • Violations stem from the racketeering enterprise and related to the alleged firebombing that occurred on May 12, 2014, which was intended to drive African Americans from the Ramona Gardens Housing Development (RGHD)
  • Carlos Hernandez, aka Creeper and Rider, 31; Jose Saucedo, aka Lil’ Moe, 22; Francisco Farias, aka Bones, 25; Joseue Garibay, aka Malo, 23; Edwin Felix, aka Boogie, 23; Jonathan Portillo, aka Pelon, 21; and Joel Matthew Monarrez, aka Gallo, 21, were charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights; conspiracy to use fire and carry explosives to commit another federal felony; attempted arson of federal property; using fire and carrying explosives to commit another federal felony; aiding and abetting; violent crime in aid of racketeering and interference with housing rights
  • Hernandez and Farias were also charged with possessing, using, carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and Felix was also charged with making a false statement to the FBI

          “The defendants used firebombs to drive the victims from their homes because of their race,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General 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 alleges that, in early May, Hernandez led a Hazard meeting at a location in the gang’s territory near the RGHD which was attended by the other defendants
  • During the meeting, Hernandez allegedly told the group that they were going to use Molotov cocktails to firebomb residential units
  • According to the indictment, Hernandez allegedly told the defendants during the meeting that the purpose of the firebombing was to “get the n****** out of the neighborhood”
  • On Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014, Hernandez instructed the other defendants to meet at a location in Hazard territory to prepare for the attack where he distributed materials to be used during the firebombings, including disguises, gloves and other materials
  • The indictment alleges that Hernandez instructed the other defendants to split into groups, break victims’ windows in order to make clean entries, then ignite the firebombs and throw them into the victims’ residences in order to maximize damage
  • Evidence gathered by investigators indicates this attack was motivated by hatred stemming from racial bias
  • Most of the victims of the firebombing were African-American families who were at home with their children, many of whom were minors

          “Hate crimes and arson are among the most heinous offenses that affect our community,” said Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).  “The LAFD greatly appreciates the tireless and collaborative efforts of the U.S. Attorney, FBI, ATF, LAPD and our own arson investigators, all of which assisted in the apprehension of the individuals accused in this case.  We are hopeful that the U.S. Attorney will achieve a successful prosecution.”


  • According to the indictment, the Hazard street gang, a criminal organization whose members engaged in, among other things, robbery, extortion, witness intimidation, trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances
  • Further, Hazard members maintain control and authority over its territory, often through threats, intimidation, civil rights crimes and other acts of violence, including murder
  • Hazard members are known to retaliate against rival gang members who challenge Hazard’s authority or who fail to pay debts owed to Hazard members and associates
  • The indictment further alleges Hazard members expose and punish fellow Hazard members who violate the gang’s rules, as well as expose and punish potential witnesses to crimes by Hazard members and associates who are suspected of cooperating with law enforcement or disrespecting members
  • The indictment alleges that the defendants and others conspired to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate African American residents in violation of their constitutional rights, including the right to occupy a dwelling free from injury, intimidation and interference based on race and color
  • If convicted of all counts listed in the indictment, Saucedo, Garibay, Portillo and Monarrez face a maximum sentence of 110 years in prison.  Hernandez and Farias face a maximum sentence of life in prison, and Felix faces a maximum penalty of 115 years in prison
  • The investigation was conducted by agents and detectives with the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Division; the LAFD; the ATF; and the FBI Los Angeles Division’s Civil Rights Squad
  • The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mack E. Jenkins and Douglas M. Miller of the Central District of California and Trial Attorneys Patricia Sumner and Julia Gegenheimer of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section
  • An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty