News Releases

CDCR Helps Strike Serious Blow Against Prison Gangs Operating Organized Crime Rackets in Orange County

Intel from Security Housing Units (SHU) crucial in charging 99 with Mexican Mafia ties

Santa Ana – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Special Services Unit was instrumental in the recent arrests, new state charges, or federal indictments of 99 members or associates of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, or EME, during “Operation Black Flag.”

“One of the crucial elements of this operation was the intelligence that we received from the Secured Housing Units within California’s prisons,” said Senior Special Agent Dan Evanilla.

“That information led to known gang members who continue to operate from within prison by ordering their members on the outside to commit dangerous and often violent crimes in our communities. We are proud of our agents for taking part in the Santa Ana Gang Task Force and helping to disrupt the criminal activities of the Mexican Mafia (EME) prison gang.”

The 99 face various state felony charges and federal indictments, including murder, assault, extortion, racketeering, narcotics-trafficking and firearms charges. Some of the defendants were operating within Secured Housing Units (SHU) in California state prisons.

More than 500 law enforcement officers and agents executed arrest and search warrants during “Operation Black Flag” in the culmination of the multi-year investigation by the Santa Ana Gang Task Force.

“Working with our partners at the state and local level, we will bring gangsters to justice, whether they commit their crimes on our streets or in our prisons,” said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven Martinez praised the efforts of CDCR and the other partners. “The Santa Ana Gang Task Force put years of effort into this complex investigation to find those responsible for the gang violence plaguing Orange County communities, including two major criminal enterprises calling shots on the streets and from inside prison walls,” he said.

The Santa Ana Gang Task Force includes the CDCR Special Services Unit, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Santa Ana and Costa Mesa Police departments, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


JULY 14, 2011
CONTACT:  Luis Patiño 

(916) 445-4950