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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Salvador Orozco Hernandez Mexican Mafia leader in the San Bernardino area pleaded guilty to attempted murder charge

08:56 |

Salvador Orozco Hernandez, 43, identified in federal documents as a Mexican Mafia leader in the San Bernardino area, agreed to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder charge and conducting the crime to benefit a criminal street gang. Tribal member Stacy Cheyenne Barajas-Nunez, 25, also pleaded guilty to attempted murder charge and admitting criminal gang activity. She also pleaded guilty to charges of transporting methamphetamine and possessing illegal substances in a jail. Her brother, Erik Barajas, 35, pleaded guilty to one charge of assault with a firearm and admitted gang membership. Both tribal members will receive probation when they return for sentencing Aug. 7. Two others also charged in the case, Janette Amaya, 51, and Alfred Orozco Hernandez, 39, brother of Salvador Hernandez, also pleaded guilty. Amaya pleaded guilty to one charge of transporting methamphetamine and the sentencing enhancement of criminal gang activity. She pleaded no contest to a forgery charge in a separate case. She will be sentenced to probation. Alfred Hernandez pleaded guilty to an attempted murder charge as well as admitting criminal gang activity. He will be sentenced to nine years in prison in August. The Hernandez brothers and Barajas siblings were initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder in September 2006. According to court records, the plot was to kill the manager of The Brass Key, a Highland bar. The business is owned by Greg Duro, son of former tribal Chairman Henry Duro. The pleas emerged after five hours of back-and-forth plea negotiations in San Bernardino County Superior Court before Judge Michael Dest. Defense attorneys said the agreements were better than going to trial, where the accused risked significantly longer sentences. Deputy District Attorney Doug Poston said the case helped keep criminal gangs away from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which own a huge and profitable casino near Highland. "We don't want the tribe members bringing the criminal element onto Indian lands or into Indian businesses," Poston said outside the courtroom. "We've done everything we can in this case to rid that problem from Indian land and Indian business." Today's convictions resulted from Dec. 12, 2006, law enforcement raids lead by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The raids targeted the drug trade in the San Bernardino area. Authorities made 19 arrests and seized more than $1 million in methamphetamine and cash as well as 56 guns. Reservation homes were also raided, documents show. DEA records included in the case file show that Hernandez was collecting "taxes" from Inland Hispanic gangs and making a methamphetamine deal at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino. Another DEA document said investigators fear the Mexican Mafia has infiltrated the reservation and is extorting money from tribal members, who receive $100,000 checks from casino profits each month.

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