Florencia 13 gang members convicted

January 13, 2009
— Scott Glover
SANTA ANA

10 gang members and associates convicted

In a case that federal prosecutors trumpeted as the “largest ever” of its kind, 10 members and associates of the Florencia 13 street gang were convicted Monday of a host of federal charges, including racketeering, drug trafficking and attempted murder.

The verdicts followed a 3 1/2 -month trial in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana in which prosecutors told jurors of a widespread criminal enterprise directed by Mexican Mafia members, both on the street and in prison.

The gang controlled drug distribution in unincorporated areas south of Los Angeles and in Huntington Park and collected “rent” from people who wanted to commit crimes in the area it claimed, according to prosecutors. The gang drew wide notoriety for allegedly shooting indiscriminately at African Americans who went into the neighborhoods in which it operated.

The defendants convicted Monday are among 102 gang members charged in four related indictments that stemmed from an investigation dubbed “Operation Joker’s Wild.”

To date, 76 of the defendants have either pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial. Those convicted Monday are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9 by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter.

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