Compton gang members plead guilty to hate crimes

COMPTON, Calif.

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.

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