Case # 18ZF0002, 18ZF0003

Date: July 30, 2018


SANTA ANA, Calif. – Murder, extortion, robbery, drug sales, and kidnapping – these are some of the top crimes on the agenda for the Mexican Mafia of Orange County. Good morning and thank you for joining us. We are announcing two indictments aimed at stopping the criminal activities of this organized criminal street gang.

Unfortunately, putting these individuals in prison does not stop them from committing crimes. With a cellphone and a notepad, they continue to manage their criminal empire. This is an organized crime syndicate of the worst, most violent type.

Today, I am pleased to announce two indictments against Johnny Martinez, also known by his gang moniker “Crow.” Martinez is the current head of the Mexican Mafia in Orange County and at the time of these crimes, was already serving a term of 15-to-life in Salinas Valley State Prison for a murder charge and two counts of attempted murder.

Martinez is accused of directing the criminal activities of the Mexican Mafia by ordering such crimes as extortion, robbery, and murder, all while incarcerated in the Salinas Valley State Prison.

I am pleased our law enforcement partners from the Placentia Police Department could join us today. In just a few minutes, you will hear from Placentia Police Chief Darin Lenyi regarding the facts of the two cases.

The Mexican Mafia is an active and extremely violent gang with members operating on both sides of prison walls since the late 1950s. Their membership controls Southern Hispanic street gangs both in and out of the prison. They are extremely vicious, outwardly ruthless, and very resourceful.

To provide a little history on this gang; recently deceased Peter Ojeda, also known as “Sana,” ran the criminal organization for roughly 30 years until he was federally prosecuted. His demise led to Crow’s rise. Under Martinez’ rule, the Mexican Mafia has become much more active and Martinez has proven to be even more ruthless and violent than Ojeda ever was.

To exert power over Orange County criminal street gangs, the Mexican Mafia collects taxes, orders assaults to keep gang members in line, and targets non-compliant members by “green-lighting” them or putting them on the “hard candy list,” effectively signing their death warrants with an order to kill “on sight.”  

In the first case, Johnny Martinez is accused of communicating via cellphone with co-defendant Gregory “Lou/Snoopy” Munoz and ordering one of his crewmembers to collect money and drugs from Robert Rios. Munoz is accused of using a contraband cellphone to order Ysrael “Tripps” Cordova, Ricardo “Solo” Valenzuela, and Augustine “Boogie” Velasquez, to collect money from Rios as payment to the Mexican Mafia. You will hear more details from Chief Lenyi about Rios refusing to pay, fighting back, and getting shot and killed in his front yard.

This incident was captured on surveillance cameras. The Orange County Grand Jury indicted Martinez, Munoz, Valenzuela, Cordova, and Velasquez with murder and conspiracy to commit extortion, first-degree residential burglary, street terrorism, and various sentencing enhancements.

Approximately seven months after the Rios murder, Johnny Martinez is accused of ordering another hit on his former top associate, who directed the criminal activities of the Mexican Mafia in Orange County for Martinez. A jailhouse communication known as a “kite” authorized the murder.

Martinez is accused of contacting Omar “Cruz” Mejia via their contraband cell phones to execute a hit on Gregory “Lou/Snoopy” Munoz. At the time, Mejia was serving 25 to life in Calipatria State Prison for attempted voluntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit a crime, assault with a firearm, street terrorism, and a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a firearm.  

Acting on Martinez’ instructions, Mejia is accused of using a contraband cellphone and ordering and directing Mexican Mafia associates Robert “Lil Rob” Martinez and Frank “Demon/Pride” Mosqueda, who were both out of custody to kill Munoz. Chief Lenyi will speak to those details in just a moment.

The eight defendants each face a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole for the murder of Robert Rios and a minimum sentence of 75 years to life in prison for the attempted murder of the surviving victim, who was shot several times at point blank range.

Does anyone have any doubt as to the violence and the ruthlessness of the Mexican Mafia?  

This concludes the formal portion of our press conference and we have time to take a few questions. Before opening the floor, I want to remind you we are recording the question and answer period, so before asking your question, wait for the mic, and identify yourself by name and news agency.

That concludes the time we have available. Thank you again for joining us today.  

Please click here to watch the full video of the news conference, including the surveillance video from the indictment in case #18ZF0002.