Operation Corridor: 22 indicted in Mexican Mafia prison gang sweep

SAN DIEGO - Criminal complaints unsealed in San Diego Wednesday as part of a crackdown on the Mexican Mafia prison gang in Southern California charge nearly two dozen people with offenses ranging from heroin and methamphetamine dealing to conspiracy to commit murder.

Six suspects were captured this week, and others were in custody already, according to prosecutors. With the latest arrests, 18 of 22 defendants named in grand jury indictments handed down last month in the case were in federal or state custody, authorities said.

The allegations -- which also include racketeering, assault with a deadly weapon, extortion and money laundering -- resulted from "Operation Corridor," a federal, state and local investigation that has led to the prosecutions of a total of 68 people since April 2012, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego.

Most of the defendants are alleged associates of the Mexican Mafia, operating primarily in Oceanside and Vista, as well as within area jails and state penitentiaries, including Donovan, Centinela and Ironwood prisons.

Investigators have used electronic surveillance, intercepted phone lines and other methods to target a broad criminal conspiracy to extort money and control the illegal narcotics trade on the streets and from inside detention facilities.

The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources against organized crime and major drug-trafficking organizations.

The following agencies have taken part in the operation: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Bureau of Prisons, Homeland Security Investigations; California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; California Highway Patrol; Carlsbad Police Department; Escondido Police Department; FBI; Marshals Service; Oceanside Police Department; and San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

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