LOS ANGELES – Federal prosecutors this evening filed a criminal complaint charging three members and an associate of a Los Angeles street gang with violating a federal racketeering statute for their roles in the robbery and fatal shooting earlier this week of Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos.
The criminal complaint alleges that two of the defendants confronted Arroyos and his girlfriend on the night of January 10, stole items from them, and then shot Arroyos, who died soon after suffering a single gunshot wound.
The complaint charges the four defendants with violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR), whereby the defendants, as consideration for the receipt of anything of value of the Florencia 13 (F13) gang, and to increase and maintain position within F13, murdered Arroyos. F13 is a large, multi-generational street gang that previously has been the subject of federal prosecutions, including two large racketeering cases.
The defendants in this case were taken into custody on Wednesday by investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Those defendants are expected to be transferred to federal custody Friday morning and to make their initial court appearances Friday afternoon in United States District Court.
The defendants charged today are:
- Luis Alfredo De La Rosa Rios, 29, an F13 member also known as “Lil J”;
- Ernesto Cisneros, 22, an F13 member also known as “Gonzo”;
- Jesse Contreras, 34, an F13 member who claimed a moniker of “Skinny Jack,” but who also may be known as “Flaco”; and
- Haylee Marie Grisham, 18, who is Rios’ girlfriend.
The VICAR charge carries a potential death penalty – and minimum sentence of life in federal prison without the possibility of parole – because Officer Arroyos allegedly was murdered during the robbery.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Arroyos – who is identified in the affidavit as “F.A.” – and his girlfriend were looking at a home potentially to purchase on East 87th Street in Los Angeles when a black pickup truck arrived. Rios and Cisneros confronted the victims, pointing guns and removing property from both, including chains from Arroyos’ neck.
“At some point after Cisneros removed victim F.A.’s chains, victim F.A. and the two suspects exchanged gunfire,” the affidavit states. “Victim F.A. ran toward an alley where he collapsed and the two suspects fled.”
Investigators have obtained surveillance video showing the black pickup arriving at a residence near the shooting, where Contreras is seen exiting the vehicle and helping an apparently injured Cisneros out of the truck, the affidavit states. All four defendants were in the vehicle and allegedly were at the scene of the robbery and shooting.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the FBI, is conducting the investigation in this matter.