Photograph: Mexican Mafia, Cartel, and Florencia 13 Federal Indictment
Perplex News Exclusive
BREAKING NEWS (May 7, 2019)
On May 7, 2019, several members of the Mexican Mafia organization were acquitted of federal drug charges stemming from a 2013 federal indictment. Since 1995, the Federal Government has successfully indicted, prosecuted, and convicted multiple hundreds of Mexican Mafia members and associates in dozens of federal prosecutions. The unprecedented news from the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles was delivered yesterday and marks the first time the Mexican Mafia, also known as La EME, has defeated the federal government in an organized criminal prosecution. Word quickly spread through the Southern California criminal underworld and the state and federal prison system where many of its members are long term residents.
The original charges linked members of the Mexican Mafia and La Familia Michoacàna Mexican drug cartel. The indictments revealed the alliance, also known as El Proyecto (The Project), between these groups and named six members of the Mexican Mafia, three EME associates and four individuals linked to La Familia.
The Government relied heavily on the testimony of embedded undercover operative Ralph “Perico” Rocha whose role was challenged by defense attorneys. Prior to the not guilty verdicts, the federal jury requested the Court’s definition of entrapment and many courtroom observers believe the verdict turned on the Government’s failure to adequately prove their case because of the activities of Rocha.
The Mexican Mafia members acquitted were:
- Jose Rodriguez-Landa, also known as “Fox.” His release is imminent.
- Fred “Fast Freddy” Montoya. The judge ordered his immediate release.
- Manuel Larry “Cricket” Jackson. He remains in custody on another federal RICO indictment in Los Angeles.
In the same proceeding, a hung jury was declared on Mexican Mafia Sureño associate Luis Gerardo “Little One” Vega, an MS-13 gang member. Vega remains behind bars facing federal charges in a separate indictment.
The indictment had alleged that Mexican Mafia participants in the Project sought to give La Familia members “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. During the course of the investigation, which began in 2010, more than 600 pounds of methamphetamine was seized.
A second indictment also unsealed in 2013 concerned the Mexican Mafia and its control over the Florencia 13 criminal street gang in south Los Angeles County.
The indictment charged 31 defendants with 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. In 2007, over 100 members and associates were charged in a crackdown resulting in five of them receiving sentences of life without parole in federal prison.