San Gabriel Valley Gang and Mexican Mafia Member Who Ran Operations Arrested On Federal Narcotics Charges
MAR 13 -- (Los Angeles, CA) - Eighteen members and associates of a La Puente-based street gang – and the alleged Mexican Mafia member who controlled its drug-trafficking operations – were arrested this morning by federal and local law enforcement authorities who executed dozens of search warrants across the San Gabriel Valley.
Culminating a four-month federal investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mexican Mafia member Rafael Munoz Gonzalez (also known as “Cisco”) and members of the Puente 13 gang were taken into custody pursuant to a grand jury indictment and a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court.
The investigation, which was started as local investigation in April 2007 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, examined the methamphetamine trafficking operations of Puente 13. The investigation started about the same time that Gonzalez was released from prison and took control of Puente 13 drug operations by “taxing” members and associates of the gang who distributed methamphetamine.
In December, the DEA; the United States Attorney's Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the LASD created a task force to target the methamphetamine and firearms trafficking activities of the Puente 13 street gang, which is allegedly responsible for distributing multi pound quantities of methamphetamine, a portion of which is produced locally in clandestine laboratories. Members of the gang also allegedly sold cocaine, marijuana and oxycodone in Los Angeles, Alaska, Seattle, Arizona and North Carolina.
“Street gangs, and the drugs and guns they employ, continue to threaten our communities,” said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “Today’s arrests will severely disrupt the flow of methamphetamine and drug trafficking operations in the San Gabriel Valley. Through the cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement, the core leadership of this street gang will now be brought to justice.”
This morning’s operation targeted 30 individuals. A total of 18 were arrested, two were already in custody, and 10 are fugitives.
Those arrested this morning are:
The defendants arrested in Los Angeles are making their initial court appearances today in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
The two already in custody are:
The 10 defendants still being sought by authorities are:
“Joint investigations including federal and local law enforcement are essential when dealing with long-entrenched gangs who operate both in prison and on the streets,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “The federal charges in this case, and the lengthy mandatory minimum sentences they carry, will take gang leaders and their minions out of the community and put them into federal prison, improving safety and making a difference in the lives of local residents.”
Members of the task force also executed 35 federal search warrants, which yielded one pound of methamphetamine, 20 pounds of marijuana and 16 firearms.
The DEA and the LASD received significant contributions to this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation from the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT), the Pomona Police Department, the West Covina Police Department and the Juneau (Alaska) Police Department.
CONTACT: Thom Mrozek, spokesman, United States Attorney’s Office
DEA Special Agent and spokeswoman Sarah Pullen