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Federal officials move to bring down Mexican Mafia



Federal Law enforcement officials unsealed indictments Friday against 36 members of the Mexican Mafia. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The Mexican Mafia is the closest thing to Sopranos -style organized crime in San Diego.

Thirty two of the 36 indicted are already in State prison. U.S. Attorney Carol Lam says these are the men who give the orders and control drug deals both inside and outside the prison system.

Lam: "Controlling the activities of Hispanic street gangs through out southern California, expanding the power and scope of the Mexican mafia through intimidation, violence threats assaults and murders."

Law enforcement officials say the new federal racketeering charges will cripple the Mexican Mafia by transferring the bosses and their associates from state to federal prisons, where they won't have the same power to initiate criminal activities.

Operation "In The Hat" as the investigation was called, refers to a Mexican Mafia term, meaning "targeted for elimination."

Alison, St John KPBS news.

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