In a significant blow to the Mexican Mafia in Southern California,
law enforcement officers arrested Tuesday 129 people linked to the
notorious prison gang's Orange County wing. They face charges of
racketeering, weapons and narcotics.
The Mexican Mafia sought and received payments from gangs in Orange
County in exchange for freely committing crimes in primarily Latino
neighborhoods, according to court documents. Those who refused were put
on lists that often resulted in violent retribution.
Even those who appeared to have significant roles in the gang found
themselves in trouble. One defendant, Raul Gonzalez-Hernandez, was
placed on a "hard candy" list, which meant he was targeted for death.
Hernandez was beaten up by other Mexican Mafia associates in November
2011 for disrespecting an Orange County Mexican Mafia member and
violating leadership rules, court documents say.
Others weren't as fortunate. Ramon Alvarez, charged with racketeering
conspiracy, allegedly authorized a gang associate to kill a person in
December 2011. It wasn't clear if the associate was ever charged with
The prison gang's Orange County faction was headed by Peter Ojeda,
according to the indictment. He wasn't charged Tuesday but is awaiting
trial in another racketeering conspiracy case filed in 2011. Those who
spoke poorly of Ojeda also were met with violence, authorities said.
Court documents say a woman was killed inMexico last year because she
was "talking disrespectfully" about Ojeda.
The indictments also targeted the girlfriends and wives of inmates
and gang members, who authorities say were messengers and drug smugglers
for the Mexican Mafia. One defendant, Gloria Aguilar-Vargas is accused
of sending two greeting cards containing heroin to a gang member in
jail. Kimberly Silva-Cox allegedly tried to send cards soaked in
methamphetamine to the Orange County Jail but they often were
Authorities seized 22 pounds of methamphetamine, 1 and a-half pounds
of heroin, 3 pounds of cocaine and made 67 undercover weapon purchases
as part of the investigation.