Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

September 14, 2010

Contact: Christian Hoffman, Special Agent, PIO
Office: (818) 265-2507
Cell: (213) 216-3622

Varrio Hawaiian Gardens Gang Member Sentenced to 210 Months for Firearm and Controlled Substance Possession

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A U.S. District Court Judge sentenced 36 year old Brian Allen Viramontes, a Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang member to 210 months in federal prison and lifetime supervised release, yesterday for firearms and drug violations. Viramontes pled guilty to the charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and RICO, in federal court in April 2010.

Special Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and members of the VHG Task Force arrested Viramontes in September 2007, at his residence in the Hawaiian Gardens. Viramontes was arrested during Operation Knockout, a joint partnership between ATF, DEA, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office, United States Attorney’s Office, and local law enforcement agencies. This was the nation’s largest-ever gang sweep, approximately 1,400 law enforcement officers swept across the City of Hawaiian Gardens to arrest dozens of people named in a federal RICO indictment that describes a war against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, as well as systematic efforts to rid the community of African-Americans with a campaign of shootings and other attacks.

Viramontes’ girlfriend, Britney Lynn Chavez, 22 years old, also a VHG gang member, pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance in federal court in January 2010. Chavez was sentenced to 93 months in federal custody and five years of supervised release. Chavez who was also arrested during the enforcement stage of Operation Knockout was with Viramontes’ at the time of arrest.

We are very pleased with today’s sentence. This sends a clear message that gang members who use firearms to further their criminal activity will go to prison for a long time, said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division. This gangster received a sentence of over 17 years in federal prison for drugs and firearms possession, good riddance.

Operation Knockout began after the fatal shooting of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Ortiz, who was gunned down five years ago by a gang member he was attempting to arrest on suspicion of shooting an African-American man. While the gang member, Jose Orozco, was quickly apprehended and currently sits on death row, the shooting of Deputy Ortiz sparked an investigation that culminated with this operation that dealt a severe blow to the gang that has terrorized Hawaiian Gardens for nearly 50 years.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at