Mexican Mafia Leader Arrested and Extradited to US
by Jim Kouri, CPP
A man alleged to be the second-highest ranking member of the Mexican Mafia's criminal enterprise in the Coachella Valley was arrested by law enforcement authorities in Mexico at the request of the FBI, announced Eric Velez, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.
Tony Gonzales-Rodriguez Jr., 37, of Indio, California, was one of 14 defendants charged in connection with Operation Clean House, an investigation into narcotics trafficking, the illegal sale of weapons and associated gang-related violence in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California.
According to the indictment, Gonzalez-Rodriguez and codefendants controlled the narcotics trade in the Coachella Valley by selling narcotics, primarily methamphetamine, and by collecting “taxes” from street gang members who were allowed to sell drugs in their territory.
Gonzalez-Rodriguez, who is believed to have fled to Mexico after he was charged earlier this year, had been residing in Mexico for several months. He was taken into custody on Friday, October 26, 2007, by officers with the Mexican State Preventive Police in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. Gonzalez-Rodriguez was living in Mexico in violation of Mexican immigration laws and was deported to the United States. Rodriguez is a citizen of the United States.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Gonzalez-Rodriguez on April 24, 2007, by the United States District Court, Central District of California, after he was charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute narcotics.
Rodriguez will be afforded an initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge in US District Court in Riverside, California.
The successful apprehension of Gonzales-Rodriguez is the result of a joint fugitive investigation by the Mexican State Preventive Police in Baja California, Mexico; the FBI’s Border-Liaison in San Diego, California, and Coachella Valley Gang Task Force in the Palm Springs area of California.
The Coachella Valley Gang Task Force is comprised of agents and investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement; the Riverside County Sheriff's Office; the Riverside District Attorney's Office; the Indio Police Department; the Palm Springs Police Department; the Desert Hot Springs Police Department; the California State Parole Board; and the Riverside County Probation Department.
Also participating in Operation Clean House were agents with the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.