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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 20, 1995
An alleged Mexican Mafia gang member indicted on federal racketeering charges has been arrested after spending five months as a fugitive. Sammy (Negro) Villalba, 28, was arrested Monday at the Fireside Inn in Buena Park by members of the Gangster Apprehension Team, a task force of FBI agents and local police that targeted the Mexican Mafia during a two-year investigation, authorities said.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 20, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
A legal fight over the use of jailhouse informants has thrown the emotionally charged trial of the man accused of committing the deadliest shooting in Orange County history into jeopardy and will probably have repercussions in other high-profile cases. The battle has shifted the spotlight from the case against Seal Beach shooting suspect Scott Dekraai to prosecutors and informants, who have testified for weeks in hearings over allegations by the defense that jailhouse snitches were unconstitutionally deployed to gather information, and their work was then routinely concealed from defense attorneys.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 1997 | GEORGE RAMOS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A defense attorney in the Mexican Mafia case asked Tuesday for a mistrial after another defense attorney said her client should not have been charged because the other defendants talked about killing him and his mother.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 10, 2013 | By Alicia Banks
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. Nineteen alleged members and associates of the Mara Salvatrucha-13 gang, including a high-ranking leader, were arrested Tuesday after a two-year investigation, authorities said. The investigation targeted “leadership, shot-callers and decision-makers” in MS-13 connected to its overseer, the Mexican Mafia, said Timothy Delaney, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI criminal division. Authorities allege Thomas “Big Boy” Rodriguez, 35, of Los Angeles, is one of those top-ranking members; he was arrested Tuesday on federal charges tied to methamphetamine distribution.
NEWS
May 31, 1997 | GEORGE RAMOS and ROBERT J. LOPEZ, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
In a major victory for federal prosecutors, 12 members of the Mexican Mafia were convicted Friday of racketeering and conspiracy charges, including murder and extortion carried out in a ruthless bid to extend the group's influence beyond California's prisons.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 4, 1997 | GEORGE RAMOS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Three members of the Mexican Mafia, including a reputed godfather of the violent prison gang, were sentenced Wednesday to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole after a federal jury convicted them earlier this year of racketeering and conspiracy charges. A fourth defendant, 27-year-old Juan "China Boy" Arias, received a 32-year sentence in federal prison, partly because of his young age, the judge said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 3, 1997 | GEORGE RAMOS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two members of the Mexican Mafia--convicted in May after a seven-month federal trial that prosecutors hailed as a serious blow against the secretive prison gang--were sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. True to the code of silence in which members deny the organization's very existence, Randy "Cowboy" Therrien, 37, of Moreno Valley, looked straight ahead and said nothing when U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 23, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
A crew chief for the Mexican Mafia prison gang has been captured after fleeing to a rural town in Missouri, authorities said. Albert "Spanky" Amaya is accused of cutting off his GPS ankle device while on probation in San Bernardino County to evade authorities while he tried to relocate.  The 45-year-old Amaya was convicted of extortion in 2008. It was his third felony conviction and he was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. But under a measure approved by voters last year that allowed "three strikes" inmates to seek re-sentencing, Amaya was released in June to the supervision of the San Bernardino County Probation Department, authorities said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 11, 1995
Re "U.S. Indicts 22 in Probe of Mexican Mafia," May 2: Stop me if I'm wrong, but don't the politicians keep telling us that it is in order to prevent the crimes of "narcotics distribution, gambling and prostitution" that we put people in prison to begin with? If the U.S. justice and penal systems can't prevent crimes from being committed in prison, what makes anybody think they can control the streets? PETER VOGEL Inglewood
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2013 | By Jeremiah Dobruck and Adolfo Flores
A 28-year-old woman whose body was found face down under the Newport Bay bridge was identified Tuesday in a sweeping indictment against more than 100 members or associates of a prison gang accused of running drugs, order beatings and keeping a list of people it wanted killed. Nancy Hammour, whose body was found on Labor Day, had been shot to death, and a Santa Ana man is now being held on $1-million bail in connection with her death. Hammour's name appears in a multi-agency sweep of Mexican Mafia gang members or associates in central Orange County, with the brief notation: “Deceased.” According to the indictment, Hammour sold drugs for a gang.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 20, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
Law enforcement authorities said Wednesday that 17 reputed gang members were charged in connection with a narcotics trafficking operation that sold drugs from Mexico on the streets of Ventura County. Methamphetamine and heroin were supplied by an organization in Mexico that was directed by a member of the Mexican Mafia, a California prison gang that exerts control over a number of Latino street gangs, according to authorities. Six of the suspects were taken into custody Wednesday by a multi-agency task force, the FBI said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 23, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
A crew chief for the Mexican Mafia prison gang has been captured after fleeing to a rural town in Missouri, authorities said. Albert "Spanky" Amaya is accused of cutting off his GPS ankle device while on probation in San Bernardino County to evade authorities while he tried to relocate.  The 45-year-old Amaya was convicted of extortion in 2008. It was his third felony conviction and he was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. But under a measure approved by voters last year that allowed "three strikes" inmates to seek re-sentencing, Amaya was released in June to the supervision of the San Bernardino County Probation Department, authorities said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 10, 2013 | By Jill Cowan
A gang "tax collector" who helped set up 2007 shooting in a bustling Los Angeles shopping district that claimed the life of a 3-week-old boy was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Juvenal Cardenas Mejia, 40, was the last of seven defendants convicted in the  shooting near MacArthur Park. "It's been a long time," Deputy Dist. Atty. Victor Avila said this week. "Now, finally the last defendant that participated in this murder is being held accountable.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
Twenty-one people suspected of carrying out crimes on behalf of the Mexican Mafia in Orange County remain at large after a raid early Tuesday resulted in 55 arrests. In what authorities described as a major blow to the Mexican Mafia, 129 people were indicted by federal and state authorities on racketeering and other charges related to what officials said was a criminal enterprise that engaged in murder, extortion and drug-dealing. The 2 1/2-year probe was dubbed Operation Smokin' Aces and was conducted by  FBI agents, Santa Ana police officers, Orange County sheriff's detectives and members of the Orange County district attorney's office and other agencies, officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2013 | By Jeremiah Dobruck and Adolfo Flores
A 28-year-old woman whose body was found face down under the Newport Bay bridge was identified Tuesday in a sweeping indictment against more than 100 members or associates of a prison gang accused of running drugs, order beatings and keeping a list of people it wanted killed. Nancy Hammour, whose body was found on Labor Day, had been shot to death, and a Santa Ana man is now being held on $1-million bail in connection with her death. Hammour's name appears in a multi-agency sweep of Mexican Mafia gang members or associates in central Orange County, with the brief notation: “Deceased.” According to the indictment, Hammour sold drugs for a gang.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
A violent prison gang ran drugs in Orange County's jails, ordered brutal beatings of inmates, collected tariffs from neighborhood gangs and issued so-called hard candy lists that marked disobedient members for death, according to indictments made public Tuesday In what authorities described as a major blow to the Mexican Mafia, 129 people were indicted by federal and state authorities on racketeering and other charges related to a criminal enterprise...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 10, 1993 | JESSE KATZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Joe (Pegleg) Morgan, a Slavic-American street kid from the Eastside who grew up to become the Mexican Mafia's reputed godfather, has died of cancer while serving a life sentence in state prison, correctional officials said Tuesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
Twenty-one people suspected of carrying out crimes on behalf of the Mexican Mafia in Orange County remain at large after a raid early Tuesday resulted in 55 arrests. In what authorities described as a major blow to the Mexican Mafia, 129 people were indicted by federal and state authorities on racketeering and other charges related to what officials said was a criminal enterprise that engaged in murder, extortion and drug-dealing. The 2 1/2-year probe was dubbed Operation Smokin' Aces and was conducted by  FBI agents, Santa Ana police officers, Orange County sheriff's detectives and members of the Orange County district attorney's office and other agencies, officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 6, 2013 | By Richard Winton
A notorious prison gang and a Mexican drug cartel were on the brink of forging a powerful alliance as part of an effort to muscle into the Southern California methamphetamine business with an army of street dealers, federal and local authorities confirmed Tuesday. In announcing a pair of indictments, authorities said they were able to disrupt the planned merger between the Michoacan drug cartel and leaders in California's Mexican Mafia prison gang. "This would have opened a superhighway for drugs and guns and given this cartel an exclusive franchise," U.S. Atty.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 2013 | By Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
Authorities have arrested a purported "secretary" for the Mexican Mafia who allegedly helped funnel information through Los Angeles County jails - from her home in Kansas. Cecilia Virgen-DeLeon, 31, was taken into custody about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday in Salina, a town of about 50,000 in the heart of the state, L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Francis Hardiman said in a phone interview from Kansas. The so-called secretaries of organized crime groups often use fraudulent cellphone accounts to help push information - about drug movements, hits and other matters - to shot-callers inside the jails, Hardiman said.
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