20 members of Riverside gang charged in federal court

RIVERSIDE — Authorities arrested six Riverside gang members named in a federal complaint alleging they trafficked in methamphetamine, committed hate crimes and had ties to the Mexican Mafia, authorities said.

The six suspects join 14 other defendants charged in a federal case that was unsealed this morning in United States District Court. Nine of the defendants charged in the federal cases are already in state custody, while five of the defendants are currently at large.

The federal criminal cases targets the Eastside Riva (ESR) gang, a decades-old street gang with about 500 members that claim the east side of the City of Riverside as their territory, the U.S. District Attorneys office reported.

Two of the federal complaints charge single defendants – one with drug trafficking, one with being a felon in possession of a firearm – while the third complaint charges 18 defendants, investigators said.

The investigation into ESR was started in November 2008 and conducted by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigators with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the Riverside Police Department, and special agents with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“Federal law enforcement authorities have partnered with local enforcement to take gang members off the streets of communities across Southern California,” said Acting United States Attorney George S. Cardona. “As this action targeting Eastside Riva demonstrates, we will continue to work with local authorities to go after the worst street gangs that traffic in narcotics and terrorize neighborhoods with their violence.”

Those named in the main criminal complaint are:


  • Salvador Orozco Hernandez, Jr. (aka “Toro” and “Tio”), 45, of Bloomington, a Mexican Mafia member currently in state prison on attempted murder charges

  • Robert Zavala Carrillo (aka “Pato”), 37, of Moreno Valley, accused of being the de facto leader of the ESR gang and the president of an ESR clique, who is a fugitive;

  • Christopher Nevarez (aka “Flako), 38, of Riverside, the alleged liason between the ESR and the Mexican Mafia, who is currently in state custody on a parole violation;

  • Ronnie Marquez (aka “Shadow”), 41, of Riverside, allegedly a senior member of ESR who is in custody awaiting trial on drug and weapons offense;

  • Ignacio Chavez (aka “Kartune”), 32, of Riverside, a senior member of ESR who is in custody awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder and drug traficking;

  • Mark Gil (aka “Papa” and “Little G”), 35, of Moreno Valley, a senior member of ESR, who is a fugitive;

  • Andrew Pacheco Moreno (aka “Drew”), 37, of Fontanam, who was arrested this morning;

  • Daniel Henry Padron (aka “Danny Boy” and “Sneaky”), 33, of Riverside, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted of drug trafficking;

  • Jose Arredondo (aka “Tony”), 40, of Hemet, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted of drug trafficking;

  • Johnny Gomez, 44, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

  • Nateno Moreno (aka “Shorty”), 32, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

  • Vanessa Garcia (aka “Pookie” and “Erica”), 22, of Riverside, who is in custody on a parole violation;

  • Allexxis Olonna Smith, 24, of Riverside, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted of carjacking;

  • Chris James Garcia (aka “Chuco”), 42, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

  • Rudy Tovar (aka “Dinky”), 30, of Riverside, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted on drug trafficking charges;

  • Paul Cortez (aka “Wiskers”), 22, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

  • Allan Patrick Staley (aka “Paya”), 37, of Riverside, who is a fugitive; and

  • Deanna Wagner, 33, of Riverside, who is a fugitive.

    Also charged in the federal complaint are David Martinez, 37, who was arrested this morning for suspicion of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and Ronnie Granado, 42, a fugitive who is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, officials said.

    The United States Attorney’s Office expects to file writs to have the nine defendants currently in state custody brought into federal custody. Authorities continue to search for the five fugitives.

    If convicted, each of the 19 defendants charged with narcotics violations faces a maximum statutory sentence of life without parole in federal prison. Granado faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the weapons violation.

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