|For Immediate Release
Case # 12ZF0149
October 29, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
NINE INDICTED DEFENDANTS TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR EXTORTION CONSPIRACY ON BEHALF OF HISPANIC PRISON GANG
*Two additional defendants indicted for the sale of heroin
SANTA ANA – Nine defendants will be arraigned tomorrow for their role in an extortion conspiracy to “tax” street gang members and drug dealers for the benefit of a Hispanic prison gang. The defendants were indicted by the Orange County Grand Jury Oct. 3, 2012, and are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
The case was jointly investigated by the Anaheim Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting these 11 defendants.
Nine defendants were indicted at the state level in the extortion conspiracy including Alberto Vargas, 49; Gloria Aguilar, 55; Joe Lara, 40; Raul Gonzalez Hernandez, 36; Edward Barela, 49; Richard Aguilar, 43; Ismael Esquivel, 33; Marvin Robles, 47; and Annette Gomez, 33.
Two defendants were indicted at the state level for the sale of controlled substances, as discovered during the extortion investigation, including Alejandro Maldonado, 34; and Eugenio Salazar, 41.
The charges against the nine extortion defendants vary and include conspiracy to commit a crime, extortion by force or threat, attempted extortion by threat, and street terrorism; sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity; and numerous prior strike and prison convictions. Each of these defendants is being held on $1 million bail and face a possible life sentence if convicted.
The charges against the two controlled substance defendants include sale or transportation of a controlled substance and transporting heroin from noncontiguous counties with sentencing enhancement allegations for possession for sale of over 14.25 grams of heroin. These defendants are being held on $250,000 bail and face a maximum sentence of 10 years and four months in state prison if convicted.
Circumstances of the Case
Between March 2010 and July 2011, defendants Vargas, Gloria Aguilar, Lara, Hernandez, Barela, Richard Aguilar, Esquivel, Robles, and Gomez were out of custody and are accused of working at the behest of a Hispanic prison gang.