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Operation Corridor” Targets North County Gangs Tied To Mexican Mafia

Aired 1/10/14 on KPBS News.

This phase of “Operation Corridor” focused on street gang members operating in Oceanside and Vista.

This phase of “Operation Corridor” focused on street gang members operating in Oceanside and Vista. With names like “Spanky,” “ Top Hat” and “Weasel,” the suspects are accused of extortion, money laundering, dealing heroin and methamphetamine, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit murder.

Sheriff's Sergeant Scott Miedecke, supervisor of the North County Regional Gang Task Force, said the defendants — indicted by a federal grand jury last month — are part of a sophisticated crime system that spreads throughout Southern California.

“Make no mistake about it, the prisons are running the streets,” said Miedecke, “and the street gangs don’t take any action, whether it’s hitting on somebody else or going after somebody else, they don’t do it without getting the green light that comes down from the prison. This was people who were funneling money into the prisons and up the chain to the Mexican Mafia.”

Almost a dozen law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and local law enforcement collaborated. Miedecke said they intercepted phone lines to target individuals they suspected of extortion and illegal drug trading, and traced connections to the Mexican Mafia in sheriff's detention facilities and state prisons like Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.

Eighteen of the 22 indicted are already in custody. Six were arrested this week. Four are still at large.

Miedecke said the arrests will serve to discourage and confuse the street gangs, but new, younger members are always ready to step up and take the place of those who have been taken off the streets.

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