In a significant development, three members of the South Los Angeles-based Florencia 13 (F13) street gang have pleaded guilty to violating the federal racketeering statute and admitting their roles in the robbery and fatal shooting of Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos. The members, Luis Alfredo de la Rosa Rios, Ernesto Cisneros, and Jesse Contreras, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. According to plea agreements filed, the defendants targeted Officer Arroyos for robbery due to his gold chains. Tragically, Arroyos was shot and killed during the robbery. This case highlights the devastating impact of gangs on the community and sends a strong message that violence against law enforcement will be aggressively prosecuted.
Three Gang Members Plead Guilty to RICO Charge and Admit Roles in the Robbery and Fatal Shooting of LAPD Officer
Three members of a Los Angeles street gang have pleaded guilty to violating the federal racketeering statute for their roles in the robbery and fatal shooting of Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos. The defendants, identified as Luis Alfredo de la Rosa Rios, Ernesto Cisneros, and Jesse Contreras, all members of the Florencia 13 (F13) street gang, admitted their guilt in court on Thursday. The plea agreements were filed on the same day, and the defendants each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Defendants Pleaded Guilty to Racketeering Charges
The plea agreements were filed for each defendant, outlining the charges and counts included in the plea deals. The defendants pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison. The prosecutors have recommended prison terms of between 35 and 50 years for Rios and Cisneros, and a prison term of 35 years for Contreras. The guilty pleas were made before United States District Judge Percy Anderson.
Identification of the Gang Members Involved
The three gang members involved in the robbery and fatal shooting incident have been identified as Luis Alfredo de la Rosa Rios, Ernesto Cisneros, and Jesse Contreras. They are affiliated with the Florencia 13 (F13) street gang, a notorious gang based in South Los Angeles. Their aliases, “Lil J,” “Lil Malo,” “Gonzo,” “Spooky,” “Skinny Jack,” and “Flaco,” are known within the gang.
Details of the Robbery and Shooting Incident
The incident occurred on January 10, 2022, in the Florence-Firestone area of South Los Angeles. The defendants, driving in Rios’ truck, were searching for people to rob in F13’s territory. They targeted Officer Arroyos because he was wearing gold chains around his neck. Arroyos was accompanied by his girlfriend, who is identified as “A.M.” in court documents. Rios and Cisneros, armed with loaded guns, approached Officer Arroyos and robbed him of his chains and wallet, which contained his LAPD identification card. They also robbed A.M. After the robbery, Rios and Cisneros opened fire, and Officer Arroyos was fatally shot by a single bullet.
Other Armed Robberies Committed by the Gang Members
Prior to the robbery and fatal shooting incident, Rios and Contreras admitted in their plea agreements to committing armed robberies against two victims outside a bar in the Florence-Firestone area on the same day. These additional robberies show the pattern of criminal activity and violence exhibited by the gang members.
Significance of the Case
This case highlights the significant impact of gangs on the community and the tragic loss of an LAPD officer. The prosecution of these gang members sends a message that violence against the community will be aggressively prosecuted. It also underscores the need for active measures to protect the community from gang violence.
Statement from the U.S. Attorney on Gang Violence
United States Attorney Martin Estrada commented on the case, emphasizing the devastating impact of gangs on the community. He expressed his condolences for the loss of Officer Arroyos and reiterated the commitment to aggressively prosecute violence and protect the community from such senseless tragedies.
Statement from the FBI on Prosecution of the Defendants
Donald Alway, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, spoke about the defendants’ admission of their role in the murder of Officer Arroyos. He described their act as callous and cowardly and highlighted the importance of arresting and prosecuting individuals who prey on innocent victims. The FBI collaborated with various law enforcement agencies to investigate and bring justice in this case.
Statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert G. Luna expressed his condolences for the senseless murder of Officer Arroyos. He acknowledged the collaborative efforts between the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the LAPD, and other local and federal agencies. Sheriff Luna thanked the FBI and the United States Department of Justice for their dedication in ensuring justice for Officer Arroyos’ loved ones.
Sentencing Hearings Scheduled for the Defendants
Sentencing hearings for the defendants have been scheduled by United States District Judge Percy Anderson. Rios and Contreras will face sentencing on September 25, while Cisneros’ hearing is set for October 16. The defendants face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison, but the prosecutors have recommended specific prison terms for each defendant based on the severity of their involvement in the crimes.
Involvement of Additional Defendant and Sentencing Hearing Date
Haylee Marie Grisham, an F13 associate and Rios’ girlfriend, played a role in the fatal robbery of Officer Arroyos. Grisham pleaded guilty on April 5 to one count of violent crime in aid of racketeering. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 11, with a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The conclusion of her trial will bring further closure to the case.