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Press Release

‘Secretary’ to Mexican Mafia Shot Caller Sentenced to More Than 7 Years in Federal Prison for RICO Conspiracy and Aiding Armed Robbery

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

LOS ANGELES – A La Verne woman was sentenced today to 85 months in federal prison for being a “secretary” to an imprisoned Mexican Mafia “shot caller” who controlled Latino gangs in Pomona, including facilitating an armed robbery and shooting, as well as distribution of narcotics and extortion.

Kelly Deshannon, 42, was sentenced by United States District Judge George H. Wu.

At the conclusion of a five-day trial, a federal jury in July 2023 found Deshannon guilty of one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, one count of committing a violent crime in support of racketeering activity (VICAR), and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.

Deshannon served as a secretary to Seferino Gonzalez, an imprisoned shot caller of the Michael Lerma Cell of the Mexican Mafia. From prison, Gonzalez exerted control over Latino gangs, including overseeing drug trafficking and other offenses committed in Pomona. As a secretary, Deshannon helped facilitate an attempted armed robbery of car keys to a Mercedes-Benz SUV on July 14, 2013, which resulted in the shooting of a victim. Deshannon knew the victims’ address, that the victims had access to the car keys, and had spoken to the victims. On the night of the shooting, Deshannon brought the shooter and other defendants with her to the victims’ address and pointed out a victim to her accomplices. The victim, though wounded, survived the attack.

Deshannon’s other criminal conduct included broking drug sales and collecting extortionate taxes in Lerma Cell territory. 

Lerma, who is this case’s lead defendant, was indicted in 2018 and has pleaded not guilty to RICO conspiracy and multiple other federal charges. His trial is scheduled for July 23. He is in federal custody.

The FBI San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Task Force investigated this matter.  The FBI San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Task Force was formed in 2008 and is based out of the Pomona Police Department. One of the primary missions of the FBI’s San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Task Force is to work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to combat, investigate, and dissuade gang violence from occurring within the Los Angeles County Jail and surrounding Los Angeles area. The Covina Police Department assisted in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jason C. Pang of the Major Frauds Section and Varun Behl of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section are prosecuting this case.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated February 5, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-030