Montebello Police have announced that a longtime member of the Mexican Mafia-affiliated Southside street gang was found guilty May 6 of federal racketeering charges that included providing a firearm used by another gang member to kill a rival.
George Vera Sr., 48, was convicted by a federal jury that determined he conspired to violate the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The jury also found Vera Sr. guilty of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
As a result of the convictions, Vera Sr. faces a statutory maximum penalty of life in federal prison and a mandatory minimum prison term of five years. United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee, who presided over a three-week trial, will schedule a sentencing hearing for later this year.
Law Enforcement officials said Vera Sr., who was also known as “Rascal” and “Big Rascal,” was a senior “OG” member of Southside Montebello.
At trial, prosecutors argued that he led a double life, working as an electrician for Los Angeles County during the day, and acting a gang leader and gang shot-caller during his off hours.
Vera Sr. and his two sons are among 16 defendants who have been convicted in federal court on charges related to Operation “Sudden Impact,” which was a task force investigation into gang activities in the City of Montebello.
As a result of Sudden Impact, six defendants were charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in relation to six murder “cold cases” solved during this investigation. Four of those charged in relation to previously unsolved murder cases have been convicted in state court, and another two defendants are pending trial. Additionally, five other defendants were charged by the District Attorney for crimes ranging from drug sales to attempted murder.
“Montebello Police personnel, working with our federal law enforcement counterparts, have successfully prosecuted some of the top leaders and most dangerous members of a street gang that has terrorized the community for decades,” said Montebello Police Chief Kevin L. McClure. “As a result of this collaborative effort, the City of Montebello is now a safer and more peaceful place.”
Operation Sudden Impact was a multi-agency effort of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Montebello Police Department; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Special Services Unit.
As part of the investigation, undercover law enforcement officers, and confidential informants infiltrated the Southside Montebello gang and obtained evidence of the gang’s crimes, including murders and methamphetamine distribution.
ATF Special Agent in Charge Eric Harden stated: “I applaud the agents and