Summary of the Mexican mafia case

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Summary of the Mexican mafia case

Post  Ty on Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:16 pm

Ramos raises safety stakes

Tribe's leader wary in light of court case
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/18/2008 11:10:30 PM PDT

SAN MANUEL INDIAN RESERVATION - With recent plea deals by Mexican Mafia-linked tribal members underscoring his ideas, the San Manuels' new chairman wants to bolster security and adopt new programs to deter gangs and other criminal activity vexing the tribe.
James Ramos, who is also the tribal unity and cultural awareness director, took office as chairman on April 1.

Among the changes he's proposing:

Installation of security gates at the entrance to the reservation's residential area.

Closed-circuit TV surveillance.

Youth and crisis intervention programs.

Tribe-hosted dinner receptions and awards ceremonies for successful students.

Enhancing the tribe's contract with the Sheriff's Department for patrols around San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino.

Although he will need approval from the tribe's general council before any new policies are adopted, Ramos feels confident change will come.

"The majority of the members on the reservation really want a safe environment. The majority really want to move forward and hold people accountable," Ramos said.

In recent years, a few of the tribe's members have created problems through their ties to the Mexican Mafia and local street gangs.

On Thursday, tribal members Stacy Barajas-Nunez, her brother Erik Barajas and two men reputed to be high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia were among several people who struck plea bargains with county

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prosecutors in a case tied to the Mexican Mafia's methamphetamine rackets in the San Bernardino area.
They pleaded guilty to various charges, including attempted murder, assault and drug possession. They will be sentenced in August.

Ramos has encountered problems of his own with the Barajas clan.

In November, he sought a restraining order against Barajas-Nunez and her father, Kenneth Barajas, alleging they threatened him during a tribal council meeting. The tribe was considering fining Barajas-Nunez for an unspecified incident in the casino.

Ramos said in court documents he feared for his life and the safety of his family following the incident.

A judge granted the restraining order against Kenneth Barajas in December, but his daughter was dropped from the matter as a compromise, Ramos' attorney, Patrick Silva, said at the time.

Ramos was so shaken by the incident that he hired a guard for his home.

He attributes the problems on the reservation to growing pains, which reflect growth outside the reservation.

Problems on the reservation became public in December 2006 when Drug Enforcement Administration agents and police raided dozens of homes across the county and on the reservation, capping a seven-month investigation into the Mexican Mafia's alleged methamphetamine dealings in the San Bernardino area.

Dozens of people were arrested, including Barajas-Nunez and her brother, Erik Barajas. Also arrested were brothers Salvador and Alfred Hernandez, reputed to be high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia.

Before their plea bargains with county prosecutors on Thursday, all four were charged with conspiring to kill a witness to the May 2004 shooting of a man outside the Brass Key, a bar in Highland owned by tribal member Greg Duro.

The victim in that shooting, James Seay, survived. The primary suspect was tribal member Robert "Lawie" Martinez III , reputedly a gang affiliate and son of tribe treasurer Audrey Martinez. He was never charged.

Salvador Hernandez, 43, of Bloomington has been identified in DEA documents and by county prosecutors as the Mexican Mafia's "shotcaller" for the San Bernardino area, meaning he has the power to authorize executions and collect "taxes" - a portion of profits from meth sales - from all Latino street gangs.

He has also been tied to the July 9, 2000, slayings of four men on San Bernardino's Westside, a highly publicized case that was dubbed "Dead Presidents" because two of the victims were leaders of local street gangs.

During opening statements in the murder trial of one suspect, John Ramirez, in January, prosecutor Cheryl Kersey said the gunmen were carrying out an execution order because one of the victims, Johnny Agudo, was suspected of talking to authorities about Salvador Hernandez. The other victims were killed because they were witnesses, according to prosecutors.

A mistrial was declared in March. Ramirez will be retried.

Another suspect in the shootings, Luis Mendoza, was the boyfriend of tribal member Valerie Gonzales at the time of the slayings. Her black BMW was used to transport the gunmen to and from the crime scene, Kersey said, adding that Gonzales is a known gang associate.

Gonzales declined comment, but her attorney, Reginald Alberts, said she is not a gang affiliate.

"She definitely has nothing to do with gangs up there, and she has no ties to the Mexican Mafia," Alberts said. "She denies anything like that."

Mendoza still awaits trial with codefendant Lorenzo Arias.

According to DEA documents, Barajas-Nunez is a close associate of the Mexican Mafia who has paid rent and bought cars for gang members.

Undercover DEA agents doing surveillance on Sal Hernandez spotted him driving a black Dodge Infinity work truck registered to Barajas-Nunez, court records show.

DEA agents also said they learned during their investigation of the growing concerns of gang presence on the San Manuel reservation.

In October 2006, tribal security officers, San Bernardino police officers and DEA agents met on the reservation.

Kevin Villalobos, then a lieutenant with the tribe's security force, told agents and police that gang members had infiltrated the reservation and were extorting some of the tribal members for money, according to DEA documents.

His job was subsequently eliminated.

Villalobos declined comment for this report.

Deputy District Attorney Doug Poston, who is prosecuting the Mexican Mafia case, doesn't believe the reservation is being infiltrated by gang members and the Mexican Mafia.

"It is not my opinion, at this point, that La Eme has somehow completely infiltrated Indian gaming," said Poston. "My belief is that there are some tribal members that choose to affiliate themselves with members of La Eme."

La Eme, Spanish for the letter M, is another name for the Mexican Mafia.

Ramos said the new policies he's proposing will likely not be implemented overnight.

"It's a long-term approach," he said.

Some allege the biggest problem the tribe faces, aside from errant members, is governing itself. There are few degrees of separation among the tribe's 200 members. Each one gets a $100,000 monthly stipend from gambling profits.

When family ties mix with tribal politics, it can be a toxic brew, as illustrated in the incident between Ramos and the Barajas clan in November.

But Ramos said situations like that are a rarity and can be dealt with effectively.

"If you have a few bad oranges, you don't cut down the whole tree," he said.

Jacob Coin, spokesman for the tribe, said the recent problems developed over many years and will take time to fix.

In recent months, the tribe hired a 22-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department to serve on the tribe's gaming commission, which regulates and monitors activity in the casino.

Coin said safety and security on the reservation remain the "highest priority of the tribal government."

"I can tell you, as a tribal government, the tribe looks out for the welfare and safety of tribal members. That's what this government's primary responsibilities and obligations are."

I guess they reading the site because they hadn't tied the two cases before in the papers before we started choppin it up here. Look at the impact you having with the site. Keep doing your thing boys. (smile) Seriously though, I still can't believe the DA is leaving all this on the table. Especially the murder for hire of James Arthur Seay. It has to be something else in the works, cause if they just walk away from this one (and I don't care how big the check is that the San Manuel's write,) everybody in the DA's office has to go. If you going talk about cleaning up the streets then you have to deal with the high level crime as well. Don't just focus on the easy convictions (those defendants with court appointed attorneys) show us what you got in court. Fight some of these high priced attorneys. If you unwilling to stand up for the rights of all the citizens then maybe there needs to be a justice department investigation of the DA and the connections to the San Manuels. Tony ain't going to like that one bit though is he?

Ty
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Re: Summary of the Mexican mafia case

Post  TumbleWeed on Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:03 pm

Ty wrote:
Ramos raises safety stakes

Tribe's leader wary in light of court case
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/18/2008 11:10:30 PM PDT

SAN MANUEL INDIAN RESERVATION - With recent plea deals by Mexican Mafia-linked tribal members underscoring his ideas, the San Manuels' new chairman wants to bolster security and adopt new programs to deter gangs and other criminal activity vexing the tribe.
James Ramos, who is also the tribal unity and cultural awareness director, took office as chairman on April 1.

Among the changes he's proposing:

Installation of security gates at the entrance to the reservation's residential area.

Closed-circuit TV surveillance.

Youth and crisis intervention programs.

Tribe-hosted dinner receptions and awards ceremonies for successful students.

Enhancing the tribe's contract with the Sheriff's Department for patrols around San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino.

Although he will need approval from the tribe's general council before any new policies are adopted, Ramos feels confident change will come.

"The majority of the members on the reservation really want a safe environment. The majority really want to move forward and hold people accountable," Ramos said.

In recent years, a few of the tribe's members have created problems through their ties to the Mexican Mafia and local street gangs.

On Thursday, tribal members Stacy Barajas-Nunez, her brother Erik Barajas and two men reputed to be high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia were among several people who struck plea bargains with county

Advertisement

prosecutors in a case tied to the Mexican Mafia's methamphetamine rackets in the San Bernardino area.
They pleaded guilty to various charges, including attempted murder, assault and drug possession. They will be sentenced in August.

Ramos has encountered problems of his own with the Barajas clan.

In November, he sought a restraining order against Barajas-Nunez and her father, Kenneth Barajas, alleging they threatened him during a tribal council meeting. The tribe was considering fining Barajas-Nunez for an unspecified incident in the casino.

Ramos said in court documents he feared for his life and the safety of his family following the incident.

A judge granted the restraining order against Kenneth Barajas in December, but his daughter was dropped from the matter as a compromise, Ramos' attorney, Patrick Silva, said at the time.

Ramos was so shaken by the incident that he hired a guard for his home.

He attributes the problems on the reservation to growing pains, which reflect growth outside the reservation.

Problems on the reservation became public in December 2006 when Drug Enforcement Administration agents and police raided dozens of homes across the county and on the reservation, capping a seven-month investigation into the Mexican Mafia's alleged methamphetamine dealings in the San Bernardino area.

Dozens of people were arrested, including Barajas-Nunez and her brother, Erik Barajas. Also arrested were brothers Salvador and Alfred Hernandez, reputed to be high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia.

Before their plea bargains with county prosecutors on Thursday, all four were charged with conspiring to kill a witness to the May 2004 shooting of a man outside the Brass Key, a bar in Highland owned by tribal member Greg Duro.

The victim in that shooting, James Seay, survived. The primary suspect was tribal member Robert "Lawie" Martinez III , reputedly a gang affiliate and son of tribe treasurer Audrey Martinez. He was never charged.

Salvador Hernandez, 43, of Bloomington has been identified in DEA documents and by county prosecutors as the Mexican Mafia's "shotcaller" for the San Bernardino area, meaning he has the power to authorize executions and collect "taxes" - a portion of profits from meth sales - from all Latino street gangs.

He has also been tied to the July 9, 2000, slayings of four men on San Bernardino's Westside, a highly publicized case that was dubbed "Dead Presidents" because two of the victims were leaders of local street gangs.

During opening statements in the murder trial of one suspect, John Ramirez, in January, prosecutor Cheryl Kersey said the gunmen were carrying out an execution order because one of the victims, Johnny Agudo, was suspected of talking to authorities about Salvador Hernandez. The other victims were killed because they were witnesses, according to prosecutors.

A mistrial was declared in March. Ramirez will be retried.

Another suspect in the shootings, Luis Mendoza, was the boyfriend of tribal member Valerie Gonzales at the time of the slayings. Her black BMW was used to transport the gunmen to and from the crime scene, Kersey said, adding that Gonzales is a known gang associate.

Gonzales declined comment, but her attorney, Reginald Alberts, said she is not a gang affiliate.

"She definitely has nothing to do with gangs up there, and she has no ties to the Mexican Mafia," Alberts said. "She denies anything like that."

Mendoza still awaits trial with codefendant Lorenzo Arias.

According to DEA documents, Barajas-Nunez is a close associate of the Mexican Mafia who has paid rent and bought cars for gang members.

Undercover DEA agents doing surveillance on Sal Hernandez spotted him driving a black Dodge Infinity work truck registered to Barajas-Nunez, court records show.

DEA agents also said they learned during their investigation of the growing concerns of gang presence on the San Manuel reservation.

In October 2006, tribal security officers, San Bernardino police officers and DEA agents met on the reservation.

Kevin Villalobos, then a lieutenant with the tribe's security force, told agents and police that gang members had infiltrated the reservation and were extorting some of the tribal members for money, according to DEA documents.

His job was subsequently eliminated.

Villalobos declined comment for this report.

Deputy District Attorney Doug Poston, who is prosecuting the Mexican Mafia case, doesn't believe the reservation is being infiltrated by gang members and the Mexican Mafia.

"It is not my opinion, at this point, that La Eme has somehow completely infiltrated Indian gaming," said Poston. "My belief is that there are some tribal members that choose to affiliate themselves with members of La Eme."

La Eme, Spanish for the letter M, is another name for the Mexican Mafia.

Ramos said the new policies he's proposing will likely not be implemented overnight.

"It's a long-term approach," he said.

Some allege the biggest problem the tribe faces, aside from errant members, is governing itself. There are few degrees of separation among the tribe's 200 members. Each one gets a $100,000 monthly stipend from gambling profits.

When family ties mix with tribal politics, it can be a toxic brew, as illustrated in the incident between Ramos and the Barajas clan in November.

But Ramos said situations like that are a rarity and can be dealt with effectively.

"If you have a few bad oranges, you don't cut down the whole tree," he said.

Jacob Coin, spokesman for the tribe, said the recent problems developed over many years and will take time to fix.

In recent months, the tribe hired a 22-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department to serve on the tribe's gaming commission, which regulates and monitors activity in the casino.

Coin said safety and security on the reservation remain the "highest priority of the tribal government."

"I can tell you, as a tribal government, the tribe looks out for the welfare and safety of tribal members. That's what this government's primary responsibilities and obligations are."

I guess they reading the site because they hadn't tied the two cases before in the papers before we started choppin it up here. Look at the impact you having with the site. Keep doing your thing boys. (smile) Seriously though, I still can't believe the DA is leaving all this on the table. Especially the murder for hire of James Arthur Seay. It has to be something else in the works, cause if they just walk away from this one (and I don't care how big the check is that the San Manuel's write,) everybody in the DA's office has to go. If you going talk about cleaning up the streets then you have to deal with the high level crime as well. Don't just focus on the easy convictions (those defendants with court appointed attorneys) show us what you got in court. Fight some of these high priced attorneys. If you unwilling to stand up for the rights of all the citizens then maybe there needs to be a justice department investigation of the DA and the connections to the San Manuels. Tony ain't going to like that one bit though is he?


I wouldn't doubt that one bit, I;m sure forums like this definatley get there attention, obviously for other purposes though (That we should ALL already know about). It's the nature of these forums that attract like a magnet. I think you might just be right about that.
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