Disbarred attorney sentenced to seven years in prison


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A federal judge on Thursday handed down a seven-year sentence to a disbarred attorney who had turned his life around from being a criminal youth only to later fall back into gang life as consigliere to a member of the Mexican Mafia.

Isaac Guillen, 51, pleaded guilty to racketeering and laundering drug proceeds on behalf of a clique of the 18th Street gang controlled by a Mexican Mafia member known as “Puppet.” Guillen admitted in court to passing messages to, and orders from, Francisco Martinez, who is serving multiple life sentences at a federal maximum security prison in Colorado, and laundering about $1.3 million on his behalf.


Guillen was arrested in 2009 as part of a federal sweep of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos, which sold drugs and extorted street vendors in the Westlake area. The clique was targeted by authorities after a gang member shot and killed a 3-week-old baby while gunning down a defiant vendor.

The former attorney testified last year against four gang members as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. In exchange, the government paid $9,000 to relocate his family. Guillen said he decided to cooperate after he was shown a letter from Martinez ordering him killed when several businesses he started to launder Martinez’s money went under.

Guillen recounted on the witness stand his teenage years as a gang member in Riverside, during which he was in and out of the California Youth Authority for burglary, assault and car theft. He later put himself through UC Berkeley, graduating with high honors in sociology, and through UCLA law school.


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-- Victoria Kim