LOS ANGELES – Two key operatives of the Florencia 13 street gang who were convicted of racketeering and narcotics offenses following a trial last year have each been sentenced to over a decade in federal prison.
Giselle Casado, also known as “Guera,” 33, of Downey, was sentenced yesterday to 121 months in prison for being a “secretary” to the gang’s “shot-caller,” which allowed her to play an inside role in the gang’s illegal operations.
The evidence presented at last year’s trial showed that Casado relayed gang-related messages, controlled illicit monies, and assisted drug trafficking activities.
A second person found guilty last year by a federal jury – Jose Sanchez, also known as “Trouble” and “Troll,” 41, of Huntington Park – was sentenced last month to 238 months in federal prison. Sanchez, a longtime F13 member, was sentenced on April 17 for his role in the gang’s racketeering activities, as well as related drug trafficking and firearm offenses.
Casado and Sanchez were sentenced by United States District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell, who presided over a four-week trial that culminated last July with a jury returning guilty verdicts on charges of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Sanchez also was found guilty of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime for possessing a handgun at a “casita” – one of the illegal gambling establishments run by the gang.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Sanchez was one of the F13’s “soldiers,” who were required to engage in drug trafficking and violent acts on behalf of the gang. Sanchez served as armed security to protect illegal narcotics sales at several casitas. He also sold drugs both at the casitas and from his residence in Huntington Park. When she sentenced Sanchez last month, Judge O’Connell described Sanchez as having “consistently led a life of crime.”
The jury that convicted Casado and Sanchez also returned guilty verdicts against two other F13 members who were charged in a federal racketeering indictment in August 2013. The indictment named 30 members and associates of the F13 Gang. With the four convictions last summer, a total of 25 defendants have been convicted in the case (one charged defendant died, and the other four remain fugitives).
The other two defendants found guilty at trial last summer are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge O’Connell on June 5. Jose Dorado, 35, and Tannous Fazah, 27, both of Huntington Park, were also found guilty of the RICO and drug trafficking conspiracies, with the latter offense based on F13’s street sales of illegal narcotics and smuggling of drugs into the Los Angeles County jail system.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Dorado and Fazah were also “soldiers” who, among other things, participated in the murder of a junior member of the F13 Gang. At sentencing, Dorado and Fazah are each facing a maximum sentence of life without parole in federal prison.
The investigation into Florencia 13 was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the Huntington Park Police Department; and the Los Angeles Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Terrence P. Mann of the Santa Ana Branch Office, Sheila Nagaraj of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, and Victoria A. Degtyareva of the General Crimes Section.