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Former FBI Informant Gets 30 Years in Prison

November 27, 2001|From a Times Staff Writer

A former Mexican Mafia member who admitted carrying out a number of crimes while working as an undercover FBI informant was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles federal court to 30 years in prison.

John Turscak, 30, expressed bitter disappointment with his sentence. He told U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz, "I didn't commit those crimes for kicks. I did them because I had to if I wanted to stay alive. I told that to the [FBI] agents and they just said, 'Do what you have to do.' "

In 1997, Turscak became an informant in an investigation that resulted in the indictment of more than 40 alleged Mexican Mafia members and associates.

Midway through the probe, however, prosecutors dropped him as an informer after he admitted dealing drugs, extorting money and authorizing assaults while on the government payroll.

Turscak pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiring to kill a rival in the prison-based gang. He could have received a maximum of life in prison.

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