LOS ANGELES - A federal grand jury has indicted two members of the Compton 155 street gang on federal hate crime charges related to a racially motivated attack on four African-American juveniles at a residence in the City of Compton on New Year's Eve, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Jeffrey Aguilar, who uses the moniker "Terco," 19, and Efren Marquez Jr., who is also known as "Stretch" and "Junior," 21, were named in a five-count indictment returned late yesterday by the grand jury.
"Hate-fueled crimes have no place in our society," United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. stated in a press release. "No one should have to look over their shoulder in fear because of who they are. Incidents like the one described in the federal indictment prove that we must remain vigilant to ensure that the rights of every single American resident are protected at all times."
Aguilar and Marquez allegedly are members of the Compton 155 street gang, which uses violence and threats of violence in an effort to drive African-Americans out of their "territory" on the west side of Compton. According to the indictment, members of the Compton 155 gang often refer to themselves as "NK" or "N***** Killers." To instill fear in African-Americans, members of the gang tag their gang moniker and "NK" throughout their "territory."
The indictment specifically alleges that on December 31, 2012, Aguilar, Marquez and a co-conspirator confronted an African-American juvenile, who was walking on a street in Compton, and threatened him by referring to themselves as "NKs."
The 17-year-old victim ran to his girlfriend's house, where three other African-American juveniles were located. Aguilar and Marquez followed the 17-year-old victim to the home, yelled racial slurs at the four juveniles at the residence, and demanded that the African-Americans get out of the neighborhood. Aguilar and Marquez then allegedly assaulted the 17-year-old victim with a metal pipe and threatened another juvenile with a gun, according to authorities.
After the juveniles managed to escape and run into the house, the indictment alleges that Aguilar and Marquez left the scene and informed other gang members that the African-American juveniles lived in their "territory."
Shortly thereafter, Aguilar and approximately 15 other gang members went to the victims' home and threatened them by yelling racial slurs and warning the juveniles that they did not belong in the neighborhood. During this time, a member of the gang smashed one of the windows of the house, federal officials state.
If convicted, Aguilar and Marquez each would face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each of the five civil rights charges alleged in the indictment.