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10th Street Gang member pleads guilty in West Side slaying

During the bloody summer of 2009, Miguel Moscoso went looking for Christian Portes.

They were rival West Side gang members and once Moscoso found Portes, who was only 14, he shot and killed him.

Moscoso, a member of the 10th Street Gang, admitted pulling the trigger that June night five years ago as part of a plea deal that came on the eve of his federal court trial.

“He admitted shooting Christian Portes in the head," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi said Wednesday.

By taking a plea deal, Moscoso became the seventh 10th Street member to plead guilty this week and avoid a trial that was scheduled to begin Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge but, as part of a plea agreement, admitted killing Portes, a Seventh Street gang member, after finding him at a house party on Whitney Place.

“My client is extremely remorseful about the death of Christian Portes," said defense lawyer Kevin W. Spitler. “We are hopeful the judge will impose a sentence that is appropriate under all the circumstances and recognizes my client’s entire background."

Moscoso’s admission of guilt was the latest in a series of pleas that began Monday when five 10th Street gang members appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to plead guilty.

The five defendants – Matthew Deynes, David Deynes, Desmond Ford, Charles Watkins and Nourooz Ali – all pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges.

Another gang member, Omar Hernandez, pleaded guilty to the same charge on Tuesday.

Tony Peebles, who also was scheduled to go on trial this week, has not taken a plea deal but was in court Wednesday indicating he may consider an offer from prosecutors.

Arcara gave Peebles until 3 p.m. Thursday to make up his mind.

The guilty pleas bring to 37 the number of 10th Street gang members and associates who have pleaded guilty in the case.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force.