LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — More than a dozen members of a San Pedro gang under the control of the Mexican Mafia have been indicted in a drug trafficking ring federal authorities say was being conducted out of local bars and hotels.
Two federal grand jury indictments unsealed Wednesday charged 14 members and associates of the Rancho San Pedro street gang with selling methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and opioids out of the Barton Hill Hotel and two nearby bars on Pacific Avenue in San Pedro, according to Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek. The indictments were the result of a two-year joint LAPD and DEA investigation.
Four of the 13 defendants named in the main federal indictment were arrested Wednesday morning. Seven others are already in state custody, while three more are fugitives. Federal authorities say another 10 members and associates of the gang were arrested on local charges during Wednesday morning’s takedown, which also resulted in the seizure of about 45 firearms.
Prosecutors say certain members of the gang have been linked to murders, attack on rivals, and the disciplining of fellow gang members. The gang often intimidated rivals, to the point of violence, to protect its territory, and collected “taxes” from drug transactions and funneled it to three Mexican Mafia members who are currently in prison serving time for murder, according to federal officials.
The drug trafficking indictment charges 13 defendants with conspiracy to possess and distribute controlled substances. Several of them are also charged with substantive drug-trafficking offenses and three more were further charged with being felons in possession of firearms. If convicted as charged, all 13 defendants face potential life sentences in federal prison.
A second federal indictment charged one member with possessing ammunition after being convicted of a domestic violence offense, which carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.