California Federal Jury Convicts Three Men in Mexican Mafia-Linked Murder

California Federal Jury Delivers Murder Conviction

In a federal courtroom in Santa Ana, California, today, a jury convicted three Orange County men of murder in aid of racketeering, marking their association with the Mexican Mafia, a notorious prison gang.

Details of the Murder

According to court records and the evidence presented during the trial, the murder took place on August 21, 2017. The perpetrators, namely Mike Escobar, known as Risky (40), affiliated with the Little Hood gang in Anaheim; James Mendez, known as Buck (44), a member of the Sureño gang from Garden Grove; and Kevin Trejo, known as Minor (36), part of the Jeffrey Street gang in Anaheim, lured the victim from his Anaheim residence to a residential area near Orange, California.

There, they shot him seven times in the back and once in the head. This ruthless act was carried out on the orders of co-defendant Johnny Martinez, also known as Crow (47), a Mexican Mafia member.

The order to kill the victim stemmed from his theft of drugs and money controlled by Martinez on two separate occasions.

Conviction and Sentencing

The jury found Escobar, Mendez, and Trejo guilty of murder in aid of racketeering.

Their sentencing is scheduled for March 25, 2024, and each faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Justice Department’s Announcement

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, along with U.S. Attorney E. Martin Estrada for the Central District of California, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office, made the official announcement.

Collaborative Investigation

The investigation into this case involved multiple law enforcement agencies, including the FBI Los Angeles Field Office, Orange Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department, Anaheim Police Department, Fullerton Police Department, Placentia Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Orange County Probation Department, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Prosecution Team

Trial Attorneys Grace Bowen and Christopher Matthews of the Criminal Division’s Violent Crime and Racketeering Section, along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg Staples and Gregory Scally for the Central District of California, led the prosecution of this case.

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