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Federal Authorities Target Hispanic
Street Gangs for Criminal Activities

Five indictments and a criminal complaint were unsealed to disclose charges against 36 defendants related to a federal racketeering conspiracy, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, and drug trafficking violations, U.S. Attorney Carol C. Lam announced.

The charges stem from a long-term investigation conducted by the multi-agency San Diego Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group and North County Regional Gang Task Force, which targeted the criminal activities of Hispanic street gangs with ties to the Mexican Mafia, or "La Eme."

One of the five indictments charges 22 individuals with participating in a Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy. The indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in multiple racketeering acts in furtherance of the Mexican Mafia criminal enterprise including, among other things, murder; conspiracy to commit murder; attempted murder; robbery; extortion in violation of the "Hobbs Act;" conspiracy to import controlled substances into the United States; conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; conspiracy to launder drug proceeds; the importation of controlled substances into the United States; and the distribution of controlled substances. The indictment describes the manner in which the Mexican Mafia criminal organization exerted control over illegal activities both within the prison system and on the streets of Southern California, as well as the Mexican Mafia's connection to Hispanic street gangs in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

The criminal complaint charges three defendants with committing a violent crime in aid of a racketeering organization. Specifically, defendants Ceasar Moedano (also charged in the RICO conspiracy indictment), Leon Rossetto and Geovani Beranal, all members of the Varrio San Marcos street gang, are alleged to have participated in the Nov. 30, 2005, shooting of a twelve-year-old boy on Autumn Drive in San Marcos, Calif. The remaining four indictments charge various defendants with participating in narcotics distribution conspiracies.
"The Mexican Mafia has infected our prisons and our neighborhoods. Any organization built on violence and drugs has to be dismantled, and today we begin that process," stated U.S. Attorney Lam.

"The Mexican Mafia is a significant threat to the public and law enforcement," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel R. Dzwilewski. "Simply put, they are urban street terrorists, who rule by violence. They are the closest thing to traditional organized crime in San Diego, and by utilizing the RICO conspiracy statute, we are able to disrupt and dismantle this criminal menace."

U.S. Attorney Lam praised the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) for the coordinated team effort culminating in the charges filed in these cases. The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources in this country's battle against major drug trafficking.

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