Mexican Mafia Targeted in “Smokin Aces” Operation in Orange County
LawFuel | September 25, 2013
SANTA ANA, California – LawFuel.com – Hundreds of law enforcement officials this morning fanned out across Southern California to conclude Operation “Smokin’ Aces,” an investigation conducted by the Santa Ana Gang Task Force that targeted the Orange County wing of the Mexican Mafia, which allegedly exercises control over Latino street gangs and is a powerful force in the local jail system.
A total of 129 defendants have been named in indictments issued by county and federal grand juries. Each of the defendants is linked to an Orange County street gang that claims allegiance to the Mexican Mafia, which is also called the Eme. Some of the federal defendants also are associates of the prison gang who allegedly worked directly with one of the two Mexican Mafia members who oversee the Orange County wing of the criminal enterprise.
During the course of the investigation, task force members made undercover purchases of 67 weapons (38 handguns and 29 rifles). They also seized 22 pounds of methamphetamine, 1.5 pounds of heroin and three pounds of cocaine.
Over the past three months, a federal grand jury in Orange County has returned 26 indictments that charge a total of 86 defendants. The indictments allege a wide range of criminal conduct, including murder and assault, extortion and “tax” collection, and the street-level distribution of narcotics.
As part of Smokin’ Aces, the Orange County District Attorney has also obtained indictments that charge a total of 43 defendants.
At the center of Smokin’ Aces is a federal racketeering indictment that focuses on the operations of the Mexican Mafia in Orange County, a criminal organization that for many years has been headed by Peter Ojeda, who allegedly ordered murders and assaults on behalf of the Mexican Mafia. (Ojeda is not formally charged in the indictment unsealed today, but he is currently pending trial in another racketeering case that was filed in 2011 in relation to Operation “Black Flag.”)
Photo source: KTLA