Glendale resident Manuel Vallejo once bragged about his involvement in a peace treaty that ended more than 50 years of conflict between rival gangs in Northeast Los Angeles. Federal prosecutors said in a press release that next on Vallejo’s to-do list was creating a gangland “United Nations.”
Vallejo faces 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering charges, after federal prosecutors said the “peace treaty” brought the gangs under the control of the Mexican Mafia.
Federal prosecutors said that in 2010, Mexican Mafia member Arnold Gonzales, incarcerated at Pelican Bay State Prison after being convicted of murder, ordered subordinates to unify three rival gangs in Northeast Los Angeles. The Frogtown, Toonerville and Rascals gangs had been rivals for nearly five decades, but according to court documents, they began to work in concert after the treaty.
The enterprise came to control narcotics trafficking and extortion rackets in a region that stretched from Elysian Park to Burbank, along the Los Angeles River.
As a “shot-caller” for Toonerville, Vallejo helped manage the criminal enterprise. He admitted in his plea agreement to collecting “taxes” from other members of the enterprise, and coordinating the sale of narcotics in the gang’s territory. He also helped expand the alliance’s drug trafficking activities to the Antelope Valley.
According to a press release from the United States Attorney, Vallejo was recorded less than two years after the treaty describing the criminal enterprise as a “New World Order” or “United Neighborhoods,” comparing it to the United Nations.
“The career criminal in this case spent his life committing violent acts and intimidating others into coercion as part of his gang activity,” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bill McMullan said. “As justified, he is one of many from this case going to prison for a very long time.”
Authorities zeroed in on Vallejo in 2015, when racketeering charges were brought against 22 defendants by federal prosecutors. The indictment accused the defendants of conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
All but three of the defendants, including Vallejo, have since plead guilty.
“The defendant in this case has been held accountable for the violent and egregious acts he perpetrated upon our community,” United States Attorney Nick Hanna said. “This case should put violent gang members on notice that our federal agents and prosecutors are coming for them.”