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L.A. gang member sentenced to 15 years in racketeering case

City News Service | 4/11/2013, 11:25 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- A drug-dealing member of a Bloods clique who controlled housing projects in South Los Angeles with violence and intimidation was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for racketeering, officials said today.

Jermaine "Lil' J-Killa" Hardiman, 32, also a rapper whose songs boasted of gang exploits, was ordered by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero to serve 10 years of supervised release after his prison sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Hardiman was convicted in July during the first of two trials in Los Angeles federal court involving the Pueblo Bishop Bloods.

The jury found Hardiman guilty on all counts of an indictment that charged federal racketeering, conspiring to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin, and drug trafficking within a public housing project and near schools and parks, prosecutors said.

During the trial, the government produced evidence that showed Hardiman was a leader of the "YGs" or "young gangsters." Prosecutors also demonstrated Hardiman's involvement in drug trafficking, firearms trafficking and armed robberies, including a formerly unsolved bank robbery from 2004, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

During his sentencing Monday, Hardiman read aloud a letter he addressed to Otero. He said he intended to renounce his membership in the gang and remove all the gang tattoos covering his chest and back.

Otero said that in light of recent gun crimes, offenders like Hardiman demanded "a severe sentence" to deter future gun violence. The judge told Hardiman that if he had not disavowed the Pueblo Bishops, he would have received an even longer sentence.

Hardiman was one of three defendants found guilty following the five-week trial.

Gary "Big J-Killa" White was sentenced in December to 14 years in federal prison, and Anthony "Bandit" Gabourel was sentenced in March to 40 years.

The Pueblo Bishops Bloods have been active in and around the Pueblo Del Housing Projects for years, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors said 40 of 45 defendants charged in the case have now been convicted. Two defendants are in state custody, and two are fugitives.

The final defendant, Rondale Young, who is charged with conspiring with Gabourel in a murder, is scheduled to be tried in November.