LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two Latino gang members Thursday pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes stemming from a New Year’s Eve attack in Compton.

Jeffrey “Turkey” Aguilar, 20, and 22-year-old Efren “Looney” Marquez admitted at the change-of-plea hearing they were motivated by race and color when they attacked a 17-year-old African American with a metal pipe and made threats to shoot a second person, KNX1070’s Ron Kilgore reports.

Aguilar and Marquez were arrested Jan. 24 and pleaded not guilty in February.

Both suspects were charged with “aiding and abetting and causing an act to be done” after allegedly harassing and threatening a family to move out of the neighborhood because of their skin color. The convictions were the first in Southern California under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

The law makes it a federal hate crime to assault anyone based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.

The attack was reportedly part of a long-running campaign by the Compton Varrio 155 street gang to intimidate Black residents by attacking them and scrawling graffiti on their homes and businesses, authorities said.

Aguilar and Marquez face up to 10 years in federal prison.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Jan. 6, 2014.


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