Crime & Justice

Racist father and son get prison for attacking blacks in Azusa

A suspect has
A suspect has "Azusa Canyon City" tattooed on the back of his head as members of a Azusa, Calif. gang are processed following an early-morning raid, at the at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., Tuesday, June 7, 2011. The Latino gang conspired to rid the Southern California city of its black residents through threats and violence dating back to the early 1990s, according to an indictment.
AP Photo/Jason Redmond

Racist father-son gang members have been sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms for attacking blacks to keep them out of a Southern California bedroom community.

Prosecutors say 48-year-old Santiago Rios was the leader of an Azusa gang that took orders from the prison-based Mexican Mafia.

RELATED: Federal indictment says Latino gang Azusa 13 targeted African-Americans

He was sentenced on Monday to nearly 20 years in prison and his 22-year-old son Louis Rios got 10 years. They pleaded guilty to conspiring to attack blacks and force them to leave the city some 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

The Rios father and son and 49 other Azusa gang members were arrested in 2011 on charges they conspired to "cleanse" the city of black residents. All the defendants have been convicted.

Prosecutors say they had targeted and harassed blacks since 1992.

In 2011, Los Angeles County saw a 15 percent increase in reported hate crimes over the previous year. That’s according to a report released last year by the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations. It stated that a third of reported hate crimes showed evidence of gang or white supremacist involvement.

Specifically, African-Americans are still the most likely to be victims of racially based hate crimes (60 percent), homophobic crimes are still particularly violent (71 percent were of a violent nature) and hate crimes involving religion are still overwhelmingly targeted at the Jewish population (77 percent), according to the report.

This story has been updated.