Two members of a Dodge City street gang charged in a federal racketeering case have pleaded guilty, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Anthony Wright, 27, Dodge City, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm in a crime of violence. Jose Neave, 23, Dodge City, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder in furtherance of racketeering.
In his plea, Wright admitted he was a member of the Norteno street gang when he was involved in the murder of Israel Peralta on June 8, 2009, in Dodge City. On the day of the killing, Wright and another conspirator were out driving when they noticed a group of Hispanic males in a trailer park in south Dodge City who they believed were members of the rival Sureno gang. Later that day, Wright and three other Nortenos met together and decided to get in the car and go looking for Sureno gang members.
Wright drove the Nortenos to the trailer park and parked the car. Two of the Nortenos in the car with Wright were armed. One had a handgun that looked like a machine gun and the other had a revolver. They got out of the car with guns drawn, ran toward the group of Hispanic males and began firing. Israel Peralta was shot and killed. After the shooting, the four Norteno gang members drove away from the scene.
In his plea, Wright admitted that as a member of the Nortenos he was part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. The gang used murder, robbery, assault and the threat of violence to protect and expand its operations. He admitted that while he was a Norteno he participated in the sale of methamphetamine. Several other Nortenos were active in the sale of methamphetamine at the same time.
In his plea, Jose Neave admitted that he was a member of the Diablos Viejos and was associated with the Nortenos street gang on Aug. 27, 2011, when he and other Nortenos attacked a group of men at 703 9th Avenue in Dodge City. Neave wielded a knife during the fight. Victims Gabriel Rivera and Carlos Ramirez were stabbed during the fight. Rivera’s injuries were life-threatening and required a life-flight to a hospital in Wichita.
Neave admitted that while he was a gang member it was not unusual for him and his fellow gang members to be armed with knives.
Wright is set for sentencing July 8. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the racketeering charge, and a penalty of not less than 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the firearms charge.
Neave is set for sentencing July 8. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the racketeering charge.
Grissom commended the Dodge City Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Ford County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith for their work on the case.