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Three Get Life, One Sentenced to 32 Years in Mexican Mafia Case

September 05, 1997|GEORGE RAMOS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Amid sobs from some relatives, three more members of the Mexican Mafia were sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole after their conviction this year on federal racketeering and conspiracy charges.

A fourth man, Joe "Shakey Joe" Hernandez, 43, received a lighter prison term, 32 years, partly because he is only an associate and not a full-fledged member of the secretive prison gang.

U.S. District Judge Ronald S. W. Lew told Hernandez he was imposing the same sentence that he gave a day earlier to the youngest of the 12 Mexican Mafia defendants who are being sentenced this week. With the lighter sentence, the judge said, Hernandez could be paroled.

Under federal guidelines, Hernandez must serve at least 85% of the 32-year sentence before he can be considered for parole. By that time, relatives said, he will be 70.

The convictions in May of the 12 Mexican Mafia defendants resulted from a 1995 federal indictment designed to combat the prison gang's growing influence.

Eight defendants so far this week have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Those receiving life terms Thursday were Jesse "Pelon" Moreno, 58; Ruben "Tupi" Hernandez, 37; and Dan "Black Dan" Barela, 52.

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