Federal Authorities Indict 31 Members of Orange County Mexican Mafia

By Brandon Drey
Brandon Drey
Brandon Drey
Brandon Drey is a California-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
April 27, 2022 Updated: April 27, 2022

SANTA ANA, Calif.—Federal and local authorities announced on April 27 that three leaders of the Orange County Mexican Mafia—as well as 28 of their associates—have been charged with racketeering, murder, and trafficking drugs and guns.

“The indictment reflects a sustained team effort to bring people who terrorize our communities to justice for their years of violence and narcotics trafficking in Southern California and beyond,”  David Jaffe, Chief of the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the United States Department of Justice, said in a news conference.

The indictment is for the criminal organization known as La Eme, a “gang of gangs,” Jaffe said.

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Federal and local authorities gather at a press conference to discuss federal indictments charging 31 members and associates of the Mexican Mafia in Orange, Calif., on April 27, 2022. (Brandon Drey/The Epoch Times)

The gang is primarily made up of seasoned members of Latino street gangs who have controlled, divided, and profited from other Latino street gangs operating in Southern California, according to officials.

The Mexican Mafia traffics narcotics, methamphetamine, and heroin in and out of prison jails using sophisticated forms of communication through smuggled phones, codes, or visits from female associates known as “secretaries,” officials said.

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Federal and local authorities announced in Orange, Calif., on April 27, 2022, that 31 members and associates of the Mexican Mafia have been charged with racketeering, murder, and trafficking drugs and guns. (Brandon Drey/The Epoch Times)

Of those charged in the indictment, 21 were already in custody, and nine were arrested over the last 24 hours, authorities said.

“No gang member is beyond our reach,” U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said. “Working together, law enforcement intends to dismantle street gangs and prison gangs from top to bottom, from shot caller to street soldier.”

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U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison speaks at a press conference to discuss federal indictments charging 31 members and associates of the Mexican Mafia in Orange, Calif., April 27, 2022. (Brandon Drey/The Epoch Times)

Wilkison said if convicted, each defendant will face a lengthy prison sentence in federal prisons “far from Orange County where it’ll be much more difficult, if not impossible, to exert their power.”

Epoch Times Photo
An undated still image from a video taken during one of the murder cases outlined in the indictment of 31 members and associates of the Mexican Mafia, which was announced by local and federal officials in Orange, Calif., on April 27, 2022. (Courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Epoch Times Photo
An undated image of a tattooed La Eme gang member. (Courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Epoch Times Photo
An undated image of a tattooed La Eme gang member. (Courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Brandon Drey
Brandon Drey is a California-based reporter for The Epoch Times.