So far, more than 20 members of the El Monte Flores (EMF), of California, gang have pleaded guilty in a 2014 RICO indictment. Last week, two of the gang’s leaders, James “Chemo” Gutierrez and Kenneth Cofer pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. They also each pleaded guilty to distributing meth and heroin, as well as conspiring to launder money. Additionally, Cofer pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The indictment charges members of the EMF to various crimes, including “acts of violence (ranging from battery to murder), drug trafficking, robbery, burglary, carjacking, witness intimidation, kidnapping, weapons trafficking, credit card fraud, identity theft, and money laundering,” according to the DEA. Gutierrez admitted to “regularly received extortionate ‘tax’ payments from individuals trafficking narcotics in the neighborhoods controlled by the El Monte Flores gang.” He “knew that the narcotics traffickers would be subject to violent attacks if they failed to pay the extortionate taxes to the El Monte Flores gang.” He also fessed up to ordering an assault on a rival gang member.
Cofer admitted that he “managed and supervised the extortion and drug trafficking activities…[and] directed the use of violence on behalf” of the gang, in his plea agreement. He also confessed that he ordered the shooting of an individual who beefed out with a member of the gang.
The DEA reports further:
Gutierrez and Cofer admitted their roles in threats to use violence to extort “taxes” from drug dealers and fraudulent document vendors at “Crawford’s Plaza” (at Valley Boulevard and Garvey Avenue).
If United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt accepts their plea agreements, Gutierrez and Cofer will be sentenced to 15 years in prison. Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for Gutierrez on July 28 and Cofer on September 8.
The EMF is a Latino gang that operates in El Monte and South El Monte, with out-of-state sets in Arizona, Washington, New Mexico, Chicago and Florida. The EMF (one of the largest and oldest gangs in Los Angeles County) takes its orders from The Mexican Mafia in prison. Gutierrez, 53, is also a member of “La Eme.”