JUST IN: 26 MEXICAN MAFIA Gangsters Arrested In State… Over 200 Illegal Guns SEIZED

Twenty-Six Charged and 228 Guns Seized in Crackdown on San Diego Street Gangs and Mexican Mafia

SAN DIEGO, CA – Twenty-six people, many of whom are alleged members and associates of criminal street gangs and the Mexican Mafia prison gang, are charged in complaints unsealed today with participating in drug- and gun-related conspiracies, including one that alleges a kidnapping and armed robbery that was prevented by law enforcement.

About 228 firearms were seized from a home in Lakeside during the investigation, and law enforcement officials who were listening in on conversations via court-approved electronic surveillance were able to thwart the attempted kidnapping of a gang member known as “Grizzly from Palm City.”

This morning before dawn, a contingent of more than 200 local, state and federal law enforcement officials searched dozens of locations around the county looking for defendants, guns and drugs. As of 3 p.m. today, 20 defendants are in custody. During searches today and over the course of the yearlong investigation, authorities have seized seven pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of over $150,000. Five federal defendants are still at large, including Marla Caniglia, Christina Tovar, Farren Alcoser, aka “Sweetpea,” Soledad Mota, aka “Negra,” Tony Kiryakoza, and Candice Apra, aka “Babydoll.”  Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI at 858-320-1800.

According to one complaint charging Robert Thomas Welsh, San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s Special Enforcement Division executed a search warrant at Welsh’s residence on Wildcat Canyon Road in Lakeside. They found multiple gun safes in various locations within the home, a total of 228 firearms including AR-15 assault rifles and guns with obliterated serial numbers, multiple high capacity magazines including a 50-round drum magazine, several firearm silencer devices, a “Glock switch” device that converts a semi-automatic pistol into an automatic pistol and multiple cases of ammunition.

According to another complaint, in June of 2018, agents participating in the investigation learned that defendants Fady Esho, Sergio “Shaggy” Sanchez and Jose “Chapo” Hernandez intended to assault, intimidate, rob at gunpoint and restrain the intended victim on behalf of the Mexican Mafia because they believed he stole  a laptop and other items from a gang associate.

Esho, along with fellow defendants Sergio “Shaggy” Sanchez and Jose “Chapo” Hernandez, set out to do the bidding of the prison gang leaders. However, the San Diego Police Department’s Gang Suppression Team conducted a traffic stop of their Hummer as the three defendants were en route to the “hit.” The trio was arrested and officers seized four firearms and zip ties.

According to the complaint, Esho was carrying a loaded Sig Saur .40-caliber handgun in a concealed holster on his waist, along with two filled magazines in separate holsters. Esho also had multiple zip ties in his rear pants pocket. A search of the Hummer resulted in the seizure of an additional three firearms, all of which were loaded: A Ruger 9mm handgun was located between the front passenger seat and the console; a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun was located in a black bag in the rear seat; and a Ruger .22-caliber revolver was located under the driver’s floor mat.

In total, the defendants were charged in six complaints with various crimes, including racketeering, methamphetamine trafficking, felon in possession of firearms and other drug and gun offenses. According to the complaints, the gang members come from the following gangs: Otay Rasta Locos, Logan Heights Rep Steps, Encanto, Lomita, Logan Heights 30, Eastside, East County Blood, Lakeside Gangsters, Varrio Chula Vista and Pinoy.

“The seizure of hundreds of firearms is a very significant strike against gang violence in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “Gang members live by a different set of norms, in a world where methamphetamine is a business and guns and violence are tools of the trade. Because of the strong partnerships between state, local and federal law enforcement, this operation is now closed.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John Brown stated, “Dismantling violent gangs is a continuing priority for the FBI. We share a long commitment with our law enforcement partners to address the dangerous threat facing our communities. Today’s takedown demonstrates our focus and determination to strike at gang related enterprises and to eliminate the violence these groups inflict on our neighborhoods.”

The defendants had their initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Nita L. Stormes this afternoon. All defendants entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.  Their next court appearance will be on September 25, 2018, for a hearing on the Government’s motion to have the defendants remain in custody pending trial.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

DEFENDANTS                                Case Number: 18mj4902                             

Robert Thomas Welsh


Title 18, U.S.C. § 922(o)(1) – Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun

Maximum Penalty is 10 years in custody

Title 18, U.S.C. § 922(k) – Possession of a Firearm with Manufacturer’s Serial Number Removed and Obliterated

Maximum Penalty is 5 years in custody

DEFENDANTS                                Case Number: 18mj4979                                         

Jesus Ramirez aka “Chuy”

Jorge Gonzalez aka “Lonely”

Chans Milstead

Christopher Risdon

Alan Rohrback Jr.

Brian Allen

Victoria Villa

Ricky Felizmena

Farren Alcoser

Soledad Mota aka “Negra”

Candace Apra aka “Babydoll”


Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Sections 841 (a)(1) and 846

Maximum Penalty, based on alleged drug amounts: Up to life in prison; 10 year mandatory minimum

DEFENDANTS                                Case Number: 18mj4978

Jesus Ramirez aka “Chuy”

Jose Hernandez aka “Chapo”

Fady Escho

Dale Chaney

Keleli Gaylord

Tony Kiryakoza

David Gautreau

Marla Caniglia

Christina Tovar

Sara Beamer


Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Sections 841 (a)(1) and 846

Maximum Penalty, based on alleged drug amounts: Up to life in prison; 10 year mandatory minimum

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number: 18mj4977

Fady Esho

Sergio Sanchez

Jose Hernandez


Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1959

Maximum Penalty, based on the underlying racketeering crimes: Up to three years in prison

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number: 14mj4972

Sammy Harold Baugues


Felon in Possession of a Firearm, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2)

Maximum Penalty is 10 years in custody

Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Section 841(a)(1)

Maximum Penalty is 20 years in custody

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number: 18mj4971

Veronica Ojeda

Aimee Chavira


Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Sections 841 (a)(1) and 846

Maximum Penalty, based on alleged drug amounts: Up to life in prison; 10 year mandatory minimum


Violent Crimes Gang Task Force

Task Force agencies include:

FBI, ATF, DEA, BOP, USPIS, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, San Diego District Attorney’s Office, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff’s Department, National City Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, La Mesa Police Department, El Cajon Police Department and Federal Bureau of Prisons- Joint Intelligence Sharing Initiative.

*A complaint is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged.  The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Robinson (619) 546-7994 and Kareem Salem (619) 546-8904


U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California




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