Ex-Mexican Mafia Leader Gets 10 Years

Ex-Mexican Mafia Leader Gets 10 Years
He became a star witness against the gang, helping to produce more than 50 convictions at six trials.
By Zeke Minaya
Times Staff Writer

February 19, 2003

A former leader of the Mexican Mafia who became a star witness against gang members was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison.

Max Torvisco was sentenced in a heavily guarded courtroom in the U.S. District Courthouse in Los Angeles. The public and media were barred.

Torvisco’s testimony helped produce more than 50 convictions in six trials since his indictment in 1999 as part of the drug syndicate known as “La Eme” (Spanish for “M”).

Torvisco was a key witness in the trial that netted his former mentor — reputed Mexican Mafia head Mariano “Chuy” Martinez — life in prison plus 130 years. Torvisco testified to ordering as many as 140 hits for Martinez and the organization.

“He is in extreme danger for the rest of his life,” defense attorney Brian A. Newman said.

Torvisco’s family has been moved to an undisclosed location for their protection, authorities said.

Lawyers for the prosecution and the defense were flanked by FBI agents as they left the courtroom Tuesday.

During the sentencing, Torvisco fidgeted as he stood before U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian.

The defense argued for a 7 1/2-year sentence for Torvisco while the prosecution sought 11 years, Newman said.

Tevrizian settled on the 10-year sentence. Authorities said Torvisco will be required to serve at least 85% of the time. He was sentenced for racketeering.

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