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Press Release

Four People Linked to Santa Fe Springs Street Gang Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Terms for Racketeering and Drug Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

          LOS ANGELES – Four members of the violent, Mexican Mafia-affiliated Canta Ranas street gang have received lengthy prison sentences for violating multiple federal laws, including participating in racketeering, drug trafficking, and money laundering conspiracies.

          Three defendants linked to Canta Ranas, a gang that operates primarily in Santa Fe Springs and Whittier, were sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner. In two separate jury trials last year, they were convicted of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and other crimes.

          The defendants sentenced on Monday were:

  • Donald Goulet, a.k.a. “Wacky,” 32, sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Goulet was a foot soldier involved in drug trafficking, collecting extortionate “taxes,” and committing violent crimes on behalf of Canta Ranas such as a home invasion robbery, during which Goulet and a co-conspirator tied up victims with duct tape at gun point while they ransacked the victims’ home. Goulet was convicted of RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Emanuel Higuera, a.k.a. “Blanco,” 34, sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for drug trafficking on behalf of Canta Ranas, and who was found guilty of RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Monica Rodriguez, a.k.a. “Smiley,” 41, a “secretary” for Mexican Mafia member David Gavaldon, who is currently serving a life sentence in state prison for a murder conviction. Rodriguez, who was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for her crimes, visited Gavaldon at Pelican Bay State Prison to order the death of another member of the organization. Rodriguez also drove her son to a gang meeting for the purpose of him receiving a disciplinary beating from other Canta Ranas gang members, according to evidence presented at trial. Rodriguez was convicted of RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

          Earlier this month, another defendant, Enrique Holguin, a.k.a. “Boxer,” 56, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for RICO conspiracy and for committing a violent act in aid of racketeering (VICAR) for his role in the attempted assault of a fellow inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles because the intended target was perceived to be an informant for law enforcement authorities.

          These convictions and sentencings arose from a 2016 federal grand jury indictment charging 51 defendants that was the result of Operation “Frog Legs.” Prosecutors have secured more than 20 convictions so far in this matter.

          Operation Frog Legs is the result of an investigation by the Southern California Drug Task Force, which is led by the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiative. The Task Force members that participated in Operation Frog Legs were U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation, the Whittier Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Correctional Safety, Special Service Unit.

          The trial prosecutors for these matters were Assistant United States Attorneys Carol Alexis Chen, Victoria A. Degtyareva, Kathy Yu, and Chelsea Norell, who are all members of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.

Contact

Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California (Los Angeles)
(213) 894-4465

Updated May 21, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-102