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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Central District of California

For Immediate Release

August 06, 2013

André Birotte Jr., United States Attorney

Contact: Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer
(213) 894-6947

13 Linked to Mexican Mafia and La Familia Indicted after Investigation Reveals Plot to Join Forces to Expand Drug Cartel’s Presence in U.S.

Cartel Initiated Alliance with Prison Gang that is also Targeted in Second Indictment for Exercising Control Over Large South L.A. County Street Gang

LOS ANGELES , Calif. — A coalition of federal, state and local authorities this morning arrested eight defendants named in a federal grand jury indictment that outlines an alliance between the Mexican Mafia prison gang and the La Familia Michoacána drug cartel that sought to protect and expand the cartel’s drug trafficking activities across the nation.

The seven-count indictment – which names six members of the Mexican Mafia, three associates of the prison gang, and four people directly linked to the La Familiacartel — outlines a venture between the criminal organizations that participants referred to as the Project, and which involved the highest levels of La Familia. The indictment alleges that participants in the Project sought to give La Familiamembers “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.

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, said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. We successfully dismantled the gang’s leadership structure in prior cases, causing chaos throughout the organization. Now we have demonstrated our ability to stop the Mexican Mafia from realizing a new power base by disrupting the gang’s plot to establish a threatening alliance with a major drug trafficking organization.

The indictment that outlines the Project and related drug trafficking activities names 13 defendants, eight of whom were arrested this morning. Four were already in custody prior to today’s arrests and one is a fugitive. During the course of this investigation, authorities seized more than 600 pounds of methamphetamine and charged an additional six defendants in state court.

A second indictment unsealed this morning concerns the Mexican Mafia and its control over the Florencia 13 criminal street gang in south Los Angeles County. This indictment charges 31 defendants and alleges violations of the federal racketeering (RICO) statute, as well as a host of narcotics, firearms, and fraud offenses. Florencia 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. The indictment unsealed today follows a 2007 crackdown on the gang that led to more than 100 members and associates being charged, and five of them receiving sentences of life without parole in federal prison (see:

The indictment unsealed today focuses on how the gang has generated illicit profits through the sale of drugs and firearms, fraud, and extortion. The indictment alleges that two incarcerated Mexican Mafia members are the leaders of the Florencia 13 gang, and that they directed the activities of the street gang from a California state prison and received payments derived from the gang’s illegal activities. During this morning’s takedown, 14 of the 31 defendants named in this indictment were taken into custody. Three of the defendants were previously arrested in this case before today’s enforcement activities, and eight are fugitives. An additional six defendants were already in custody prior to today’s takedown in connection with state charges.

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 Mexican Mafia is a powerful prison gang that controls much of the drug trade and other criminal activities within California state prisons, county jails and some federal prisons, according to the indictments unsealed this morning. The Mexican Mafia, whose members are generally senior members of street gangs such as Florencia 13, also exercises control over and directs the narcotics trafficking activities of Latino street gangs across Southern California and in prisons. The indictment concerning the Mexican Mafia-La Familia Project represents the largest crackdown on the prison gang’s members since the United States Attorney’s Office brought a series of RICO cases against the leadership of the prison gang in the 1990s.

La Familiamilia Michoacana and it successor, Los Caballeros Templarios (the Knights Templar), is a major drug cartel based in the Mexican state of Michoacán and “is responsible for the trafficking of hundreds of thousands of pounds of controlled substances, including methamphetamine, from Mexico into the United States,” according to the indictment.

The members of La Familianamed in the indictment allegedly oversaw the distribution of methamphetamine and marijuana in the Southern California area, as well as provided money and drugs at discounted prices to members of the Mexican Mafia.

Anthony Williams, HIDTA/Southern California Drug Task Force, a federally funded group led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The Southern California Drug Task Force is comprised of federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, the ATF, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Pasadena Police Department.

This investigation into the Mexican Mafia started in May 2010 and also involved the Montebello Police Department, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department, the Glendale Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, the United States Secret Service, the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, the United States Bureau of Prisons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation-Special Services Unit, and the Huntington Park Police Department.