Federal indictment charges Chino gang with drug distribution

Fifteen alleged members and associates of a Chino-based gang with suspected ties to the Mexican Mafia are accused of selling meth, coke, pot, heroin and guns throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to a federal indictment unsealed this week.

Federal, state and local police capped a two-year investigation on Wednesday after they arrested six members and associates of the Chino Sinners, said Steven M. Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.

Several others were already in custody on unrelated charges. Others are still being sought, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

"The focus of the federal investigation was based on the violence taking place that was believed to be fueled by the drug distribution," Eimiller said. "The name of the gang represents their brazen attitude."

The indictment charges 15 defendants with the distribution of controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and unlawful possession of firearms, Eimiller said.

Victor Hurtado of San Jacinto, is alleged to have directed the Sinners' operation throughout Southern California.

Jaime Banuelos, 29, and Michael Monsivais, 32, both of Chino, were allegedly responsible for distribution.

Agents worked with local police to identify the most violent gang.

"(Agents) focused on the upper echelon to prevent more violence," Eimiller said.

Investigators allege Chino gang members also established ties with the Mexican Mafia prison gang to smuggle drugs into the state prison system.

The indictment alleges Romeo Aranda conspired to attempt to transport heroin into the California Institute for Men in Chino under the direction of inmate Frederick Malgra Garcia, Jr., 42, who authorities believe to be the Mexican Mafia’s liaison for the Chino area.

If convicted of the conspiracy charges, the defendants potentially face life in prison.

"They clearly disrupted the community and were a menace to law enforcement," Eimiller said. "They are all facing life sentences because we targeted them with tough federal statutes."

The following defendants are charged in the main federal indictment with the drug distribution conspiracy:

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