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LA gang member gets life sentence for racketeering

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say a Los Angeles gang member has been sentenced to life in prison for racketeering in a case spurred by the deadly shooting of a newborn that revealed the violent shakedowns of the local drug trade.

Spokesman Kevin M. Lally announced Wednesday that 35-year-old Javier Perez is the first to be sentenced of four convicted members and associates of the 18th Street gang.

The gang used violence and intimidation to control the drug trade in LA's Westlake District, commanding local street vendors to pay “rent” in exchange for the right to sell.

When one street vendor refused the $50 shakedown, he was shot four times and survived, but a 23-day-old infant nearby was shot and killed.

The remaining defendants are due for sentencing Jan. 24 and 25.

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