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Compton gang members plead guilty to hate crimes

Jeffrey Aguilar, 19, and Efren Marquez, 21, are shown in booking photos provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The two were arrested in connection with a series of hate crimes in Compton.

October 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two reputed gang members have pleaded guilty to hate crimes for allegedly targeting African-Americans in Compton on New Year's Eve.

Jeffrey Aguilar, 20, and Efren Marquez Jr., 22, pleaded guilty to violating the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crime Prevention Act Friday.

Aguilar admitted that he and another individual beat a black 17-year-old with a metal pipe on Dec. 31, 2012. During the incident, Marquez threatened to shoot another African-American juvenile who was present.

Authorities said Aguilar and Marquez belong to a Latino street gang called Compton Varrio 155 that has attacked black residents and scrawled graffiti on homes, businesses and churches, according to the indictment.

Both Aguilar and Marquez admitted that the attack on the 17-year-old victim was substantially motivated by his race and color.

The two suspects will be sentenced on Jan. 6, 2014. Both face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.