Convicted: Mexican Mafia

Convicted: Mexican Mafia
Jury Finds 12 of 13 Gang Members Guilty

Mafia video footage LOS ANGELES, Updated 11:15 p.m. May 30, 1997 — A dozen members of the Mexican Mafia were convicted by a federal jury Friday.

The panel acquitted only one of the defendents, Victor Murillo.

The jury began deliberating on May 16 after a six-month trial. The defendants, 13 men in a prison-based gang, were charged for various crimes under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.

They faced various charges under a 29-count indictment that included murder, attempted murder, racketeering, conspiracy, drug trafficking and extortion.

This was the first time that federal racketeering and conspiracy charges were used against the prison-based gang, which has an estimated 200 to 400 members.

Authorities claim that since 1975, the gang has used threats and violence to control a portion of the Southern California drug trade by taxing Hispanic street gangs and dealers and assigning their territories.

Court SketchProsecutors portrayed the secretive gang – also know as “la Eme,” which is Spanish for the letter M – as having a strict code of conduct.

Members were in for life and could face beatings or death for cowardice, homosexuality, Christianity and “politicking” – creating dissension among members.

Defense lawyers denied the gang existed.

The government’s case included more than 300 audio and video tapes (pictured above), 350 photos, and statements from about 100 witnesses.

The 12 inmates who were convicted face life in prison when they are senteced the first week of September. The jurors have been ordered to return to the U.S. District Court on June 17 for a hearing to decide whether some assets seized from the inmates should be forfeited.

Copyright 1997, The Associated Press

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