Operation Supernova: Mexican Mafia Bust In Oxnard - FOX 13 News

Operation Supernova: Mexican Mafia Bust In Oxnard

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Oxnard, CA -

(FOX 11) A big take-down in Ventura County. A year long investigation leading to the arrest of several members of the Mexican Mafia. Gigi Graciette broke the story, and she joins us with more.

17 Ventura County Gang Members With Ties to the Mexican Mafia Charged For Roles in Mexican-Based Drug Trafficking Organization

Arrests Part of Third Phase of Operation "SuperNova," involving Trafficking of Quantities of Methamphetamine and Heroin

In the third phase of a multi- agency task force operation known as "Supernova," that targeted Mexican Mafia-directed street gangs in Ventura County, fourteen of seventeen defendants charged in a criminal complaint were taken into custody this morning by task force members with the FBI; Ventura Police Department and the Oxnard Police Department, an established task force addressing gang-fueled violence in Ventura County.

Several teams of police officers and agents executed arrest and search warrants early this morning, resulting in the arrest of six of the seventeen defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles.  Defendants were taken into custody this morning by task force members without incident.  Eight of the seventeen defendants charged were already in custody based on unrelated charges and will be writ over to federal custody. The remainder of the defendants charged in the complaint are fugitives, some believed to be residing and allegedly directing criminal activity from Mexico.

The criminal complaint details a year-long undercover investigation and outlines a series of narcotics transactions totaling more than 2 lbs. of methamphetamine and quantities of heroin being sold on the streets of Ventura County.  The complaint alleges that the drugs were supplied by a Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization known as Madrigal-Cazares, and that local street gangs communicated with the head of the organization in Mexico, while controlling narcotics sales and Mexican Mafia tax collection in Ventura County. 

This case targeted the "shotcallers" of local Ventura and Oxnard street gangs to include Lemonwood; Surtown; and Ventura Avenue Gangsters, whose members control the drug trade in their respective territories and is loyal to the Mexican Mafia prison gang (see definition below*).   The defendants charged in the complaint are residents of the cities of Ventura; Oxnard; Camarillo and Moorpark and are listed here:

Acosta, David, 33, in custody

Armendariz, Daniel, 38, arrested   

Arrieta, Pedro, 42, arrested

De La Cerda, Robert, 35, in custody

Fuentes, Lina, 35, Fugitive 

Gonzales, Daniel, 40, in custody   

Guerra, Philip, 28, arrested

Hernandez, Ruben, 20, in custody

Herrera, Alejandro, 38, in custody

Leal, David, 44, arrested

Madrigal, Martin, 38, fugitive, believed to be residing in Mexico

Mansell, Dillon, 21, in custody

Molina, Armando, 30, arrested       

Mora, Edwin, 29, in custody

Navarrete, Librado, 27, fugitive      

Ruiz, Frank, 32, arrested

Tamayo, Javier, 35, in custody

As a result of the first phase of Operation Supernova in 2011(see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2011/018.html) 11 defendants were convicted and received sentences of up to 25 years in prison. In the second phase of Operation Supernova in 2012 (see: http://www.fbi.gov/losangeles/press-releases/2011/oxnard-gang-members-arrested-on-federal-drug-and-gun-trafficking-charges-in-second-part-of-operation-supernova), six defendants were charged in connection with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and illegally sell firearms. The total seizure for the three-phase operation totals 18lbs of Meth, 5 Kilos of Cocaine, 6lbs of Heroin and 46 Firearms. 

The defendants named in the compolaint are charged with violations including:  Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine; Possession With Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine; and Aiding and Abetting.   The defendants named in the complaint face mandatory minimum sentences of ten years in federal prison and statutory maximum sentences of life in prison if they are convicted.

*The Mexican Mafia

The Mexican Mafia is a powerful and violent prison gang which controls drug distribution and other illegal activities within the California penal system and on the streets of Southern California by organizing Hispanic street gang members for the purpose of establishing a larger network for the Mexican Mafia's illegal activities.  If a gang does not accede to the Mexican Mafia, the Mexican Mafia will assault or kill the gang's members who are not in custody, as well as those members who are incarcerated within the California penal system. In addition to intimidation through direct assaults, the Mexican Mafia is also able to assert control and influence over gang members outside the penal system because gangs do not want their members in the penal system to be assaulted or killed, and because the gang members know that, if they are incarcerated, they will need the protection of the Mexican Mafia while they serve their sentences.

Federal defendants arrested today will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles this afternoon.  The federal defendants will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office.

The investigation was conducted jointly by the Ventura Police Department; the Oxnard Police Department; and the FBI.  The following agencies provided support during today's arrests:

The Ventura Gang Task Force is one of many FBI Safe Streets Task Forces throughout the United States, funded for the purpose of assisting local police in identifying and addressing violent crime in America.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

(Source: Oxnard PD / Ventura PD)

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