In what has been described as a huge blow to the Mexican Mafia in San Diego County, a multi-agency task force arrested more than 100 alleged members from the major Mafioso groups based near the U.S./Mexico border.
The federal indictments filed by U.S. Attorney, Laura Duffy show those arrested are charged with multiple counts including, racketeering, drug trafficking and gun smuggling.
Perhaps the biggest fish netted by this multi-agency raid were high-ranking gangsters of a prison-based gang responsible for violent acts across the county. Duffy said eight arrestees were “shot callers” responsible for selling drugs and collection of protection/taxes bribes, gun trafficking and conspiracy.
Two of those “shot callers” taken off the streets were Rudy Espudo and Salvadore Colabella who were handcuffed on two separate indictments. It is alleged that Espudo and Colabella collected money that was then funneled to various Mexican Mafia bosses.
The criminal arrests were the culmination of year-long investigations called “Operation Notorious County” in North, East and Central San Diego County officials said. The North County Regional Gang Force ran an 18-month investigation called “Operation Carnalismo” and “Operation 12-Step” was under the helm of the East County Regional Gang Task Force.
Commanding LT. Hydar of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department said this Mexican Mafia roundup depended on multiple agencies working in concert. “We had a good day,” she said.
The grand jury indictments extended to 119 gang members, 104 of which were arrested and 13 remain at large.
“This is a major blow to more than 20 (Mexican Mafia) street gangs,” U.S. Attorney Duffy said.
The FBI also noted that this bust is one of San Diego’s largest and sent a strong message to all gang members doing business in San Diego County.
“San Diego is inherently safer today because of the cooperation between our agencies working together to disrupt and dismantle the criminal activities of these dangerous individuals,” said Keith Slotter, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI.
If convicted, the alleged Mexican Mafia members can be sentenced to at least five years behind bars, while other charges carry a life sentence.
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