Operation Emero: Prison bust targets 20 members of Mexican mafia - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Operation Emero: Prison bust targets 20 members of Mexican mafia

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) -  Twenty people are facing charges after a three year investigation targeted members of a Mexican mafia prison gang. 

The power of the operation reached far beyond prison walls, and into San Diego communities. The accusations include conspiracy to commit torture, extortion and possession of drugs for sale. 

The Mexican Mafia gang, also known as Eme or La Eme, operates inside and outside of prisons, ordering murders, assaults, extortion and drug trafficking, according to authorities.  

 The prison gang routinely sanctions murder and violent assault as a means of discipline for members, associates and rivals, authorities said.  

"This gang is extremely gruesome and calculated in their violence to inspire fear and intimidation," District Attorney Summer Stephan said. "This investigation has far-reaching implications across the organization and sends a message that law enforcement will protect the community from gang violence."   

The investigation revealed that incarcerated Mexican Mafia members were using facility phones, email, mail and contraband cell phones to communicate with associates who were ordered to extort victims, sell drugs and collect money on behalf of incarcerated members.  

 According to prosecutors, two key groups in the alleged criminal activity were identified as being led by Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate Jose "Bat" Marquez and California death row inmate Ronaldo Ayala.  

 As a result of Operation Emero, authorities seized $51,000 in cash as well as methamphetamine and heroin.  

 In addition, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Security Threat Group searched 39 prison cells and confiscated 23 contraband mobile phones and documents pertaining to Mexican Mafia business. The investigation also led to the seizure of six firearms, including an AK-47.  

 Defendants arrested in the takedown were arraigned Monday in Superior Court.

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