For Immediate Release
Lead Defendant in Indictment Targeting Vineland Boys Street Gang in San Fernando Valley Sentenced to 16 Years in Federal Prison
LOS ANGELES — A Sherman Oaks man who ran the San Fernando Valley-based Vineland Boys street gang was sentenced today to 192 months in federal prison for committing federal racketeering and narcotics crimes.
Mario Alberto Miranda, 32, aka “Ultimo,” “Last,” and “Shot Caller,” was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.
Miranda – the lead defendant in a federal grand jury indictment targeting 31 Vineland Boys members and associates – pleaded guilty on June 26 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He has been in federal custody since February 2019.
From at least September 2008 to November 2019, Miranda conspired with other Vineland Boys members and associates to engage in drug trafficking and to maintain the gang’s territorial control in the San Fernando Valley. Miranda acted as a drug supplier and sold narcotics within the gang’s territory, operated drug and firearms stash locations and extorted drug dealers within areas under the gang’s control.
As the gang’s shot caller, Miranda also ordered Vineland Boys members and associates to attack and assault rival gang members and individuals suspected of cooperating with law enforcement, according to court documents.
Miranda sold methamphetamine to buyers at a Pacoima residence as well as at a North Hollywood clothing store that he ran. Miranda also sold a total of approximately 1.2 kilograms of methamphetamine to one buyer over eight transactions and, in June 2016, ordered a co-conspirator to obtain one pound of methamphetamine for another buyer.
He also maintained and operated illegal marijuana grow houses in Pacoima and Palmdale. At the Pacoima residence, Miranda and an accomplice maintained at least 125 marijuana plants weighing a total of approximately 315 pounds.
In November 2014, Miranda collected up to $300 from a Vineland Boys member as a “tax” on the proceeds of the member’s heroin sales. Miranda also was part of a scheme to collect payments from the gang’s members to be paid to incarcerated Vineland Boys members and leaders.
Miranda also attended and helped organize Vineland Boys gang meetings, including a March 2016 meeting at a Panorama City restaurant and a January 2017 meeting at a residence in Sun Valley, where he gave orders to Vineland Boys gang members to commit acts of violence against rival gang members and individuals suspected of cooperating with police.
Federal prosecutors secured 30 guilty pleas in this case, including 19 convictions that have resulted in prison sentences of at least 10 years. One of them, Vineland Boys gang member Jesus Gonzalez Jr., 30, aka “Lil Chito,” “Gunner” and “Chuy,” of Sun Valley, is serving a 31-year federal prison sentence for committing multiple felonies, including the attempted murders of three rival gangsters. One defendant died after being indicted.
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, IRS Criminal Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department investigated this matter. This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the U.S. using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Chou and Sara Vargas of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.