LOS ANGELES – A member of the San Fernando Valley-based Vineland Boys street gang pleaded guilty today to five felonies, including the attempted murder of three rival gangsters, drug trafficking and illegal firearms sales, including a “ghost gun.”
Jesus Gonzalez Jr., 27, a.k.a. “Lil Chito,” “Gunner” and “Chuy,” of Sun Valley, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, two counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
As alleged in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in November 2019, to consolidate control over their “territory” in Sun Valley, North Hollywood and Burbank, the Vineland Boys shot and brutally assaulted rival gang members, controlled and conducted drug and firearms trafficking activity, and extorted money in the form of “taxes” from drug dealers, and trafficked narcotics.
According to his plea agreement, Gonzalez conspired with Vineland Boys members and associates to engage in acts of racketeering in the form of attempted murder and drug trafficking. Gonzalez admitted that he was involved in multiple gang-related shootings, including a December 2015 shootout in South Los Angeles with rival gang members believed to have killed a member of the Vineland Boys.
In early April 2016, Gonzalez shot and severely wounded a victim in a drive-by shooting outside a party in Sun Valley where Gonzalez and other Vineland Boys members had gotten in a fistfight with the victim and others. A few weeks later, Gonzalez stalked and shot a rival gang member on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, firing several shots at close range at the victim, who survived. In May 2016, Gonzalez confronted and shot passengers in a vehicle he believed were rival gang members.
Gonzalez further admitted to selling methamphetamine and illegally selling numerous firearms, including an AR-style rifle bearing no serial number – commonly known as a “ghost gun” – that he sold in May 2016 outside a McDonald’s restaurant in San Fernando.
United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald has scheduled an April 29 sentencing hearing, at which time Gonzalez will face a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
In January 2019, a federal grand jury indicted 31 Vineland Boys members and associates. So far, prosecutors in this case have secured 14 convictions and several prison sentences exceeding 10 years.
This matter was investigated by the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and IRS Criminal Investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Chou and Sara Milstein of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.