Grocer pleads not guilty to racketeering charges

first_imgLOS ANGELES – The owner of Los Angeles’ Numero Uno supermarket chain pleaded not guilty Monday to federal racketeering charges that include allegations that he ordered three slayings and bribed a city planning commissioner. George Torres-Ramos entered the not-guilty plea in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, along with his brother Manuel Torres- Ramos, son Stevie Torres and five other defendants. The defendants include ex-planning commissioner Steve Carmona of Pico Rivera, whom George Torres-Ramos is accused of bribing, and another former planning commissioner, George Luk, who now sits on a city convention center commission and is accused of conspiring with Torres-Ramos. Among the allegations in the 59-count indictment unsealed last month are that George Torres-Ramos, 50, and his 53-year-old brother, both of Arcadia, were involved in the killing of a worker at the 11-market Numero Uno chain. The worker, Ignacio Meza, disappeared in 1998 following the theft of $500,000 from a Numero Uno market on Jefferson Street, authorities said. Before the disappearance, prosecutors allege Meza had killed two gang members for George Torres-Ramos. George Torres-Ramos is accused of bribing Carmona by providing the former commissioner with an apartment, a pickup truck and Dodgers tickets, among other things, in an attempt to ensure he received liquor permits for a market on Alvarado Street. The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that Deputy City Attorney Asha Greenberg said Delgadillo pressured her to drop misdemeanor charges against George Torres-Ramos in 2001. In a memo she wrote at the time and put in an internal case file, Greenberg said Delgadillo called her to say he was “getting a lot of pressure on the case,” which involved the illegal demolition of low-income apartments to make way for a parking lot, according to The Times. Delgadillo told Greenberg that Torres-Ramos was worried that a conviction would hurt his ability to get beer and wine permits for his markets, The Times reported. The City Attorney’s Office denied in a statement that Delgadillo pressured Greenberg and said he was simply responding to an “external inquiry” about the case. The case went forward and Greenberg got a conviction. George Torres-Ramos and Manuel Torres-Ramos are currently jailed while awaiting trial.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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