‘Vineland Boys’ lead defendant gets life

first_imgThe lead defendant in the federal racketeering case against the Vineland Boys street gang was sentenced Monday to life in prison without possibility of parole. Rafael “Sneaky” Yepiz of Reseda, a leader of the Sun Valley-based gang, was sentenced during a hearing in U.S. District Court. Yepiz was convicted in October of 21 charges, including violating the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, drug trafficking and money laundering. He was the last to be sentenced among the nine Vineland Boys members or associates brought to trial so far in the law-enforcement probe aimed at squashing the street gang. Authorities said the gang terrorized parts of Burbank, North Hollywood and Palmdale for more than a decade. Prosecutors said the Vineland Boys trafficked in cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Indiana and the East Coast. The group also is linked to four homicides, including the slaying of rookie Burbank police Officer Matthew Pavelka, who was killed in a shootout with alleged Vineland Boys member David Garcia, who is awaiting trial on murder charges. Meanwhile, trial for defendants Jose Ledesma, Raul Robledo and Javier Covarrubius, who face the death penalty in a 2003 witness-slaying case, is slated to begin in June. eugene.tong@dailynews.com (818) 546-3304 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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