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38 gang members indicted for drug crimes and RICO charges

East Los Angeles was the scene of a particularly dramatic raid on Dec. 10 when over 800 federal and California law enforcement officers fanned out to arrest 38 members of a street gang reputed to be closely tied to a powerful prison gang. Members of the Big Hazard gang were indicted under the federal RICO criminal conspiracy laws. At the heart of the indictment was the allegation of a wide array of drug crimes and violent crimes that the gang carries out.

The gang allegedly does this at the behest of the notorious Mexican Mafia prison gang. The prison gang reportedly has ties to the Mexican drug cartels. It allegedly has decisive power to control various crime activities on the streets of Los Angeles and elsewhere. A small handful  of those indicted have not yet been apprehended.

The indictment accuses the gang members of distributing methamphetamine, crack cocaine heroin and other illegal drugs. Prosecutors allege that the gang uses acts of murder and other violent acts to keep control of other Latino forces on the streets. What is described is an intertwining network of violent crime and a massive drug distribution web, leading back in many ways to its sources in Mexico.

As distasteful as some of the alleged violence and drug crimes may appear, a criminal defense attorney in California has a clearly defined duty to provide the best legal representation possible to the accused. It is not unusual to find a criminal defendant in such circumstances who has been unfairly or wrongly identified. Some individuals arrested may exist on the periphery of the group, or may be relatives who are not active in the actual drug crimes or other alleged activities. Additionally, defense counsel must advise the client regarding the consequences of pleading guilty as opposed to demanding a jury trial. Every accused individual must therefore be given competent, vigorous representation to make sure that an injustice does not occur.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "25 arrested in sweeping indictment of L.A. gang tied to Mexican Mafia", Joseph Serna, Dec. 10, 2014

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