|For Immediate Release
Case #s TBA
July 13, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
26 CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACIES TO COMMIT MURDER AND/OR ASSAULTS AT THE DIRECTION OF HISPANIC CALIFORNIA PRISON GANG
*This is part of Operation Black Flag involving 99 defendants; most of the defendants are inmates
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) has charged 26 defendants for their participation in conspiracies to commit murders and aggravated assaults on seven inmates in the Orange County jail at the direction of a violent, Hispanic California Prison Gang (hereafter “Prison Gang”).
These charges are part of a large multi-agency investigation, Operation Black Flag, which has netted a total of 99 defendants including 69 people in 57 federal indictments and the 26 people in seven Orange County criminal complaints. Of the 26 State defendants, 14 are ineligible to post a bail amount because each are already in custody serving sentences for unrelated felony cases in both the Orange County Jail and state prisons. The arraignment information pertaining to each of the seven Orange County cases is to be determined.
Operation Black Flag Investigation
In October 2008, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Santa Ana Police Department began investigating the Prison Gang. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) joined the investigation in April 2009 for violations originating in the Orange County Jail. Other agencies involved in the investigation or prosecution of these cases include the California Department of Corrections Special Services Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office, who will prosecute the federal cases, and the OCDA, who will prosecute the State cases.
For more information on the federal cases, please visit the Central District of California U.S. Attorneys Office at https://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/.
Background of the Prison Gang
The Prison Gang operates throughout California and exercises control over “Southern Hispanic” inmates within the State prison and jail systems. Southern Hispanics are defined as any Hispanic person from Southern California. The Prison Gang also controls criminal street gangs, whose members pay drug-sale “taxes” to the Prison Gang as a sign of respect and as an assurance that they will be viewed as loyal to the Prison Gang if and when they are arrested and incarcerated in jail or state prison.
The two primary functions of the Prison Gang are to incite fear in other inmates and control the prison drug trade. Drugs may be sold in prison at five to 10 times the price on the street.
Background of the Criminal Cases
Prior to April 2009, the Prison Gang was controlled in the Orange County Jail by Peter Ojeda, a 40-year member of the Prison Gang. In April 2009, Armando Moreno, a higher-ranking member of the Prison Gang, was transported to Orange County Jail from State prison and is accused of assuming control of the gang. Moreno is accused of maintaining control until July 2009, when he was transported back to State prison.