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Senior Leader of South LA Gang Sentenced to 35 Years in Federal Prison

A longtime senior leader of a South LA-based street gang was sentenced Friday to 35 years in federal prison for his conviction of conspiring to commit racketeering through various criminal acts including murder, extorting local businesses and the distribution of narcotics.

Paul Gary Wallace, 56, of South LA, was found guilty April 18 of one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Wallace was sentenced by U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr. in LA federal court.

According to evidence presented at his 11-day trial, Wallace was a member of the East Coast Crips gang for more than 30 years and rose to become the leader and most influential member of a series of the gang’s cliques responsible for control over territory in South LA.

Wallace maintained his control over the gang through violence and intimidation. He murdered and conspired to commit murder to enhance the gang’s reputation, to enhance his status within the gang, to retaliate against rivals, and to enforce discipline within the gang, according to evidence presented during the trial.

As a gang leader, Wallace’s other criminal conduct included selling drugs in gang territory, extorting local businesses, presiding over robberies, and engaging in other acts of violence, including intimidation, assaults and shootings against rivals.

The jury specifically found that, on Nov. 13, 2014, Wallace participated in the murder of a rival gang member. The murder weapon, an AK-47-style assault rifle, was later found in the defendant’s van.

The jury did not find that Wallace committed the February 2003 murder of another rival, prosecutors noted.

Wallace “wreaked havoc on the community and neighborhoods controlled by the ECC, destroying lives with his violence and gang activity,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “The impact of his violent conduct on the victims, their families, and the community will be felt for years and, for the most unfortunate, the rest of their lives.”

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