A Whittier man pleaded guilty Tuesday to five felonies related to a rival gang member’s shooting death in an exchange of gunfire outside a restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley, federal prosecutors said.
Leonardo Antolin, 25, of Whittier, admitted in his plea that he executed a Mexican Mafia member who allegedly wanted to expand his influence in the gang, with whom Antolin’s Canta Ranas gang was affiliated, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a news release.
The shootout occurred April 19, 2016, at El Jalisco Cafe on Valley Boulevard in Avocado Heights.
A woman who was at the restaurant at the time was caught up in the gunfire and struck six times in the abdomen, back, buttocks and legs, authorities said.
The Mexican Mafia member’s bodyguard was severely wounded.
Antolin also admitted to helping sell methamphetamine for the Canta Ranas gang, according to prosecutors.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances and discharging a firearm during a violent crime.
The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 23, when official say he is expected to receive 33 to 40 years in federal prison in accordance with his plea agreement.
The case is tied to a wide-ranging federal drug trafficking investigation that led to the indictment of 51 people, 20 of whom have been convicted, authorities said.