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Three Mexican Mafia-linked inmates get life in prison for trying to kill Arizona corrections officer

November 14, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Three Mexican Mafia-linked inmates get life in prison for trying to kill Arizona corrections officer Mauricio Moraga, Robert Villalobos and Santiago Sanchez. The Associated Press

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Three inmates at the Pinal County Jail in Arizona have been sentenced to life behind bars for attacking and planning to murder a detention officer who was stabbed more than 20 times with sharp instruments made inside the facility.

Police officers filled the courtroom on Thursday as Robert Villalobos, 30, Santiago Sanchez, 27, and Mauricio Moraga 27, were given their sentences. A jury in August found the men guilty of conspiring to commit murder and other charges from the attack on then-Lt. Sergio Antolin in 2016.

According to Tuscon.com, the three inmates have been accused of targeting Antolin because he was responsible for reviewing the jail’s gang community.

Court records revealed that the defendants have links to the Arizona Mexican Mafia prison gang, and prosecutor Patrick Johnson indicated that the trio was attacking Antolin on its behalf.

Johnson said the courtroom showed that the police community is united and wasn’t threatened by the attack. Antolin has since recovered and retired from his jail position.

Sanchez and Moraga were already serving sentences for other convictions.

Moraga pleaded guilty to manslaughter after he crashed a vehicle and killed a 19-year-old woman in 2015. Sanchez was found guilty of a drive-by shooting in 2011 and was sent back to prison a few years later after he violated probation.

Villalobos is awaiting trial in Pinal County for a number of charges.

The guard who was assaulted said he knew all three men well through their interactions at the jail and was shocked they tried to murder him.

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