Operation Dirty Thirds: a recent sweep by the FBI against members of the Mexican Mafia was “a bid to disrupt the gang’s control inside Los Angeles County jails,” according to LA Times writers Rubin and Lau. Hey, it only took 500 law enforcement officials and 3 years to perfect this raid! But wait, only 32 were actually arrested, yet 83 have been indicted (35 were already in custody) and another 16 are slated for arrest – including of course, a lawyer for the gang!
U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna states, “we’ve taken out the leader and associates in the L.A. County jails…” This blunts “the violent control the Mexican Mafia has been exerting inside the Los Angeles County jails and over Latino Street gangs in Southern California,” states writer for OCCRP. It also hopes to eliminate extortion, such as fines and disciplinary actions perpetrated on all Latinos in the jails who endure a ‘thirds’ surcharge on drugs and paraphernalia smuggled/sold in the prisons.
Furthering the Feds wedge to break-up the gangs in this raid, charges of federal racketeering (RICO) will be levied on gang members. This means they will be transferred to federal prisons – supposedly a ‘kinder’ lock-up versus the brutal state facilities. Is this punishment? Scratch your head on that! Here’s some more food for thought. Did you know there are about “140 full gang members – called carnales, or brothers” who divvy up control of the street gangs and the jail populations?
BTW, did you know the Mexican Mafia started in the 1950s by young Latinos at a juvenile detention facility? So, what makes the Feds think this raid is going to curb/end the gang’s illegal activities? Perhaps it will disrupt, but will it dismantle? Why would these transferees to the Federal system remain idle in their new environment given their structure and power? Time will tell.
By Sharla Esparza