Crime & Justice

Jury convicts Mexican Mafia boss from Orange County

This image provided by Orange County Sheriff's Department in July 2011 shows Peter Ojeda. Ojeda, head of an Orange County wing of the Mexican Mafia and his onetime girlfriend, Suzie Rodriguez were convicted of federal charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit assault and murder on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.  Authorities claim Ojeda controlled Latino street gangs in the county for 30 years, even from behind bars in Pennsylvania after he pleaded guilty to other federal charges.
This image provided by Orange County Sheriff's Department in July 2011 shows Peter Ojeda. Ojeda, head of an Orange County wing of the Mexican Mafia and his onetime girlfriend, Suzie Rodriguez were convicted of federal charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit assault and murder on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Authorities claim Ojeda controlled Latino street gangs in the county for 30 years, even from behind bars in Pennsylvania after he pleaded guilty to other federal charges.
Orange County Sheriff's Department/The Orange County Register via AP

Listen to story

00:55
Download this story 0MB

A longtime member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang who exerted control over Latino street gangs in Orange County for three decades was convicted Wednesday of federal racketeering offenses.

The federal jury in Santa Ana found Peter Ojeda, 73, had ordered murders and assaults — even while incarcerated for a prior racketeering conviction. On the streets, Ojeda was known as “The Big Homie” and “Sana,” according to federal prosecutors.

The current case involved plots to murder other gangsters as part of a turf war with a rival Mexican Mafia member who attempted to assert control over the area after Ojeda was imprisoned at a federal lockup in Pennsylvania, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“Today’s verdict demonstrates our ongoing commitment to using all available tools to dismantle the Mexican Mafia,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker.

Ojeda’s girlfriend, Suzie Rodriguez, 53, was also found guilty. She acted as a messenger between Ojeda and local gang leaders – his “eyes, ears and voice on the streets of Orange County,” according to the statement from prosecutors.

Ojeda was one of 99 defendants charged in 2011 in relation to Operation “Black Flag,” an investigation conducted by the Santa Ana Gang Task Force.