Raids Target Mexican Mafia, Criminal Street Gangs

By EGP & City News Service

Streets around Montebello Police headquarters were closed off for a time today as member of the department took part in an early morning raid targeting the Mexican Mafia prison gang and drug cartel.

Eight people named in two federal grand jury indictments outlining an alliance between the Mexican Mafia prison gang and a drug cartel were arrested today in a series of Southern California raids.

The first indictment names 13 defendants – eight of whom were arrested today, four who were already in custody and one who remains a fugitive, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Today’s salvo against the Mexican Mafia is part of a 20-year fight to curb the influence of the prison gang both inside prison walls and on the streets of Southern California,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.

The seven-count indictment names six members of the Mexican Mafia, three associates of the gang, and four people directly linked to the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel.

The indictment outlines a venture between the two criminal organization that participants referred to as the “Project,” and which involved the highest levels of La Familia, authorities said.

Authorities allege that participants in the Project sought to give La Familia members “free rein” to sell methamphetamine in Southern California and to provide protection for incarcerated cartel members in exchange for money and methamphetamine going to Mexican Mafia members.

A second indictment unsealed today targeted the Mexican Mafia and its control over the Florencia 13 criminal street gang in south Los Angeles County.

That indictment charges 31 defendants and alleges violations of the federal racketeering statute, as well as numerous narcotics, firearms and fraud offenses.

It charges them with drug and weapons dealing and racketeering. Forencia 13 is one of the largest, most powerful and oldest street gangs in Southern California. Several members of the gang have risen through its ranks to become leaders of the Mexican Mafia, according to a statement from the Los Angeles office of the U.S. Attorney.

“These two investigations disrupted the criminal activities of the Mexican Mafia, the Los Angeles street gang Florencia 13, and the Mexican Mafia’s relationship with the La Familia drug cartel, which is responsible for using firearms to commit violent crimes and trafficking hundreds of thousands of pounds of controlled substances into the United States,” said Steven J. Bogdalek, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division. “By combining law enforcement resources, we were able to curtail their ability to build alliances and prevent their violence from spreading further into our communities.”

The indictments targeting the Mexican Mafia and the La Familia drug cartel resulted from an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; and the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area/Southern California Drug Task Force, a federally funded group led by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Southern California task force included federal and local law enforcement agencies, among them the DEA, the ATF and officers from the Los Angeles, Montebello and Pasadena police departments.

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August 6, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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