JammedUp News

News

Mexican Mafia Enforcer Sentenced to 27 Years In Prison

May 28, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mexican Mafia Enforcer Sentenced to 27 Years In Prison

Are you in a legal jam? Find a Lawyer, Bail Bondsman or Private Investigator on JammedUp.

A Moorpark, California gang member known to law enforcement as a top enforcer for the Mexican Mafia in Ventura County was sentenced to 27 years in prison last week.

Edwin Mora, 31, of Simi Valley, pleaded guilty in April in Ventura County Superior Court to numerous felony charges including conspiracy, attempted extortion and attempted second-degree robbery.

Special allegations of street terrorism and a third strike under California’s three-strikes law were considered in the sentence by Judge Matthew Guasco.

Mora was a member of the Moorpark Locos street gang, police said.

The sentencing was an outcome of “Operation Wicked Hand,” which is a joint investigation by the Ventura County sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices.

Joann Roth, who is the Ventura County Gang Unit, senior deputy district said evidence gathered by the gang task force resulted in an additional 26 indictments in November 2012. “This was the largest indictment that has ever happened in our County and was the result of a major effort by the sheriff’s department,” Roth said.

edwin-mora-mug-shot_b

The three-month wiretap operation, which began in August 2012, followed Mora and numerous co-conspirators associated with the Mexican Mafia, also known as “La Eme.” Detectives used 16 wiretaps and often worked 20-hour days to uncover details of the criminal operation, Roth said.

The investigation revealed Mora’s task was to set up a “mesa,” or a ruling body of gang members from all Ventura County street gangs—even rivals—for the purpose of finding and extorting local drug dealers.

The Mexican Mafia demanded $500 a week “tax” from local dealers.

Conversations caught on wiretaps include Mora detailing how he squeezed money from dealers and beat those who refused to pay. The gang leader was also expected to kill on orders from cartel leaders who were in prison.

The other 26 defendants were accused of robbery, conspiring to commit assault, extortion, home invasion, and drug trafficking. Twenty-four of the defendants have pleaded guilty.

The wiretaps also tipped off police to crimes the gang were planning to commit.

Investigators said they were able to thwart a robbery before it happened at the Simi Valley Medicine Shoppe in September 2012.

In another wiretap tape, Mora was recorded saying the gang needed to collect $50,000 to bribe a judge in Mexico.

Gang members wanted money to secure the release of the Mexican Mafia leader Martin “Evil” Madrigal, who remains imprisoned in Mexico on murder charges.

Police recovered letters written from Madrigal to Mora after the medicine store arrest, naming people Madrigal wanted killed.

With the arrest of Mora, Roth said, the sheriff’s office was able to prevent those killings.

Madrigal, an Oxnard native and member of the Colonia Chiques gang, and his wife, Lena Fuentes, were also indicted on charges of extortion and conspiracy to commit murder.

FBI officials have said they do not plan to extradite Madrigal until he completes his sentence in the Mexican jail.

Roth said the Mexican Mafia has a long history of reaching into Hispanic neighborhoods in California.

The Mexican Mafia was founded in California prisons in the 1970s and branched out into communities as members were released from prison.

“They understand that gang leaders and drug dealers will ultimately end up in custody,” Roth said. “When they get there, the mafia controls them under threat of violence or death.”

Gang revenue collected is then funneled to the leadership of the Mexican Mafia in prison.

Roth said the two-year prosecution was long and arduous.

“It was me versus 24 defense attorneys,” she said. “It took a while.”

Get the latest news from the world of crime