It is still possible to squeeze news out of the great Mongols case of 2008. That’s how big the case became. Fifty months after the busts there is still news to report.
At the end of 2012 there are still two defendants whose individual cases are still open.
Horacio “Scorpio” Ponce, defendant number seven, allegedly sold 78 grams of methamphetamine to a paid confidential informant in the case in 2007. It is likely in this case that the snitch begged Ponce to do it. Possessing an “amount greater than 50 grams” is a much more significant crime than possessing only 49 grams. Throughout the Mongols case, multiple defendants are charged with transactions of similar amounts of the drug. Ponce was almost certainly a victim of what usually called “sentence entrapment.” And, virtually all of the filings in Ponce’s portion of the case remain under seal.
Arthur “Chiques” Roseli, Jr., was sentenced to 15 months incarceration last February. He spent six months at a halfway house in El Monte, California beginning last July before he was allowed to spend the rest of his sentence on home detention. His case however remains technically open.
Hector “Largo” Gonzalez, who became President of the Mongols Motorcycle Club after Ruben “Doc” Cavazos resigned with the intention of becoming a celebrity, pled guilt to racketeering in June 2011.
Gonzalez volunteered for the job of cleaning up the mess his predecessor had created. The legal fees that resulted from the charges against him ruined him financially. He honestly felt that while he was President of the club he had committed no crimes and he continued his defense until his money ran out. One quote from the government’s sentencing position paper last September explains in some detail the ways in which Gonzalez was a “racketeer.”
“In his guilty plea, defendant specifically admitted that he has been a member and ‘officer’ in the Mongols criminal enterprise, and that he served as the ‘treasurer’ and national ‘president.’ In that role, defendant directed some of the activities of the organization. He participated in and led ‘Mother Chapter’ and officer meetings, all members meetings and national runs for the Mongols. He advised members about the conduct of the organization and directed members to ‘keep your house clean.’ During the meetings, defendant and other Mongols discussed acts of violence and other crimes committed by Mongols members on behalf of the organization, including paying legal fees incurred by Mongols members for crimes committed on behalf of the criminal enterprise, and defendant collected money for that purpose. Defendant stated that he collected $15,000 to $17,000 every month for the organization. Defendant issued directions to Mongols members and associates in order to assist them in avoiding detection by law enforcement and rival gang members, and defendant also directed members to assist other Mongols during confrontations with rival gangs.”
Gonzalez was sentenced to 63 months in prison and four years of supervised parole last September 24. He began serving his sentence December 3.
Peter “Bouncer” Soto earned his nickname while working as a bouncer at several Hollywood night clubs. He had a genuine love of motorcycles. One early riding companion was the television game show host George Gray. Another early companion was Tim “Big Tim” Medvetz, a Hells Angel who was one of the stars of the Discovery Channel series Everest Beyond the Limit.
When Doc Cavazos began recruiting dozens of new members into the Mongols, Soto joined the club as a probationary member. Because Soto is a very large man he was frequently recruited by Doc as a bodyguard. Because Soto worked at clubs in Hollywood he sometimes supplemented his income by selling small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine. In an interview in 2010 he emphatically denied “moving weight” or ever consuming his own product. “I don’t do drugs,” Soto said. “Never done coke in my life. Never done crystal…. I never talked to Doc about anything illegal.” Finally, because he sold drugs in Hollywood, Soto sometimes carried a gun. All of that was woven into a number of allegations of racketeering.
Soto acquiesced to a plea agreement last November 7. In that document he confessed to selling either cocaine or methamphetamine on multiple occasions to paid confidential informants who solicited the drugs from him in order to catch him in the act of selling drugs. Soto agreed to a “base level offense” with a value of “30.” He did not cooperate with prosecutors or admit remorse for his “crimes.” He will be sentenced on February 25, 2013 and he faces up to ten years in prison.
As recently as last summer Doc Cavazos, the man who brought the wrath of the Department of Justice down on the Mongols, bragged that he was giving autographs and posing for photos with his fellow inmates at the federal Correctional Institution in La Tuna, Texas near El Paso. Last Fall Doc disappeared from the Bureau of Prisons inmate locator system. His disappearance led to rumors that he had finally been rewarded for betraying his former club brothers but as of two weeks ago Doc remained at FCI La Tuna.
Last week, Judge David O. Carter filed an order that officially refused to acknowledge a letter from Cavazos to the judge. The judge’s order included a copy of Cavazos’ letter which was postmarked December 13. The letter reads in full:
“During the time of my cooperation with the prosecution I met with ATF agent John Ciccone and Montebello Police Officer Chris Cervantes. During those meetings I was given information that I could later use in court to convict other defendants.
“Information such as evidence found at certain crime scenes should never be revealed to a possible witness/informant. It can be used to convict an innocent defendant. I refuse to use it to help them but I am concerned that later they will convince other cooperators to perjure themselves and use this evidence.
“From my prison cell I do not have access to anyone who might investigate my accusations against Ciccone and Cervantes. I know that inmates are not considered very credible but if someone with the authority to investigate my accusations would ask me what I have learned from my meetings with Ciccone and Cervantes they may find what I am saying credible. I have not released the contents of my meetings with Ciccone and Cervantes to the news media for fear of contaminating legitimate witness testimony to these cases. The news media will be my last resort to prevent those two from sending an innocent man to prison.”