Crime & Courts

Gang member charged under RICO act pleads guilty to attempted murder

A Dodge City gang member this week pleaded guilty to attempted murder in furtherance of racketeering, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Jason Najera, 29, faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 maximum fine for his role in the stabbing of two men he and his associates mistook for rival gang members, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said in a news release.

His sentencing is set for May 6.

In his plea, Najera admitted to attacking Gabriel Rivera and Carlos Ramirez with a knife during an Aug. 27, 2011, confrontation at a Dodge City home, 703 9th Avenue, Grissom said. Najera and co-defendant Humberto Ortiz — both members of Nortenos-associated gangs — thought the pair belonged to the Surenos, a rival gang.

Rivera suffered severe injuries and was flown to a Wichita hospital for treatment.

Najera also told prosecutors he and fellow members of the Diablos Viejos gang repeatedly used violence, including murder, robbery and assault, to protect and expand gang operations, Grissom said. He is among 23 people charged under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in a May indictment.

It’s the second time federal prosecutors in Kansas have filed charges under the act and VICAR (Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering), Grissom’s office said.

Last month Ortiz, a Los Carnales Chingones gang member, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for his role in the Dodge City stabbing case. The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to a single count of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering in November.