Four more defendants in the government’s case against Ruben “Doc” Cavazos and others have reached plea and sentencing agreements.
Cavazos is a former President of the Mongols Motorcycle Club. He was expelled from the club six weeks before the federal indictment that announced the case was unsealed. Throughout the case the Department of Justice has tried to connect Cavazos’ admitted criminality with his former club. The latest plea deals indicate that the government is still trying to prove that connection. Most of the defendants are current or former members of the club.
The most recent pleas were negotiated with defendants Jaime Flores, Brandon Cheville, Ramon Chavez and Paul Lemay. Cheville, Chavez and Lemay all pled guilty to Count One of the indictment. That count characterizes the Mongols as a “gang” and a criminal enterprise that was institutionally engaged in murder and drug dealing among other crimes.
Flores And Cheville
Flores pled guilty to Count Forty-Five of the indictment which charges him with selling “approximately” 9.5 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential government informant for $1,200. Flores had faced a possible life sentence in prison and a fine of up to $4 million. By taking the deal Flores now faces a probable prison sentence of 46 to 71 months. He could be sentenced to as much as 115 months in prison.
The three other defendants all pled guilty to “racketeering activity” on behalf of the “Mongols gang.”
Cheville admitted possessing a firearm while with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a potential Mongols member on August 13th, 2006 and with possessing “firearms at a Mongols function in Temecula” five days later with “other members of the Mongols gang.” Like others who have accepted a plea deal, Cheville gets a reduced sentence for pleading guilty, or what the government calls “acceptance of responsibility.” He faces a probable prison sentence of 18 to 30 months.
Chavez And Lemay
Chavez agreed with the prosecution that on June 16, 2007 he “arranged to purchase approximately 113 grams of methamphetamine from a member of the Mongols gang.” He made the arrangement on a wire-tapped telephone. On the same tapped telephone on August 27th, 2007 “a Mongols member directed defendant Chavez to retrieve narcotics from the Mongols members residence.” And, during that same tape-recorded telephone conversation “Chavez asked the Mongols member if defendant Chavez should maintain the firearms that the Mongols member had provided to defendant Chavez.” Chavez will receive a reduction in his sentence for pleading guilty and for what the government calls “Mitigating Role.” He faces a probable prison sentence of 37 to 57 months.
Lemay admitted that on “June 3rd, 2006, defendant sold methamphetamine to a undercover law enforcement officer that defendant believed was an associate of the Mongols gang.” This page has been told that undercover cop was Chris Cervantes of the Montebello Police Department. “Additionally, on October 21st, 2008 Lemay possessed narcotics recipes and directions for making methamphetamine, as well as Mongols paraphernalia.” Lemay’s sentence was reduced for pleading guilty and also for “Mitigating Role.” He faces one to two years in prison.
Adding It Up
So far, at least 30 defendants have reached plea and sentencing agreements with the government. In all but one of these cases the defendants have pled guilty to Count One of the Indictment.
“Doc” Cavazos, the principal defendant in this case, and Robert Lawrence “Lars” Wilson III are the only the former members of the club who are known the be actually cooperating with the prosecution in this case. Six of the plea deals remain secret. The government has argued in public documents that unsealing those deals would put those defendants and their families at risk of retaliation from the “Hells Angels,” the “Mexican Mafia” and the “Mongols gang.”