Two Sentenced for Civil Rights Violations in Connection with Police Home-Invasion Robberies
WASHINGTON – Alvin Moon and Manuel Hernandez were sentenced today in federal court in Los Angeles, for their roles in a series of home-invasion robberies, which took place in the Los Angeles-area between 1999-2001. Moon and Hernandez conspired with 15 others in these robberies, including five former law enforcement officials. Moon was sentenced to 24 months in prison, and five years of post-incarceration supervised release. Hernandez was sentenced to 12 months in prison, and three years of post-incarceration supervised release.
Moon and Hernandez previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate civil rights of the victims whose homes they illegally entered. In addition, Moon also pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess narcotics with intent to distribute, and to using a firearm during a crime of violence. Moon also testified in the January 2008 trial in which a federal jury found their fellow co-conspirators, former Los Angeles Police Department officer William Ferguson and his brother and former Long Beach Police Department officer Joseph Ferguson guilty of conspiring to violate civil rights, conspiring to possess narcotics with intent to distribute, and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.
Evidence presented at the plea hearings and the January 2008 trial of William and Joseph Ferguson revealed that the defendants were members of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that committed more than 40 burglaries and robberies throughout the Los Angeles area between early 1999 and June of 2001. Former Los Angeles Police Department officer Ruben Palomares was the ringleader of this conspiracy, which included the Fergusons and other law enforcement officers as well as drug dealers. The robberies generally were committed after the group received information that a particular location was involved in illegal drug-trafficking. The robbery teams usually consisted of multiple sworn police officers in uniform or displaying badges who would gain access to the residence by falsely telling any occupants that they were conducting a legitimate search for drugs or drug dealers. Victims often were restrained, threatened or assaulted during the search. These assaults included firing a stun gun at a victim, striking victims with police batons and putting a gun in the mouth of a victim. When the group stole drugs, they would use co-conspirators to sell the drugs, then split the profits from these sales among the group.
In all, 17 defendants, including law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Corrections, have been convicted of federal crimes in connection with the conspiracy. In prior sentencing hearings in this case, William Ferguson was sentenced to 102 years in prison, Joseph Ferguson was sentenced to 97 months in prison, and Ruben Palomares was sentenced to 158 months in prison.
This case was investigated by Special Agent Phil Carson of the FBI, with the assistance of Steve Sambar, Roger Mora and Mark Bigel of the Los Angeles and Long Beach Police Departments. This case was prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Jeffrey S. Blumberg and Trial Attorney Josh Mahan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas M. Miller of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.
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