Boise, Idaho – Thirty members of the “Brown Magic Clica,” a Sureño street gang active in western Idaho and eastern Oregon, were indicted in federal and state courts last week. A federal grand jury in Boise indicted 13 people on March 9 in three separate indictments for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances, and unlawful possession of a firearm. Eleven defendants are charged in the racketeering indictment; two others are charged individually, one with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, the other with unlawful possession of a firearm. A state grand jury in Canyon County indicted 18 people on March 9 for recruiting criminal gang members. One of the state defendants was indicted federally.
The indictments, which were unsealed by the courts this morning, are the result of a three-year Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force investigation named “Operation Black Magic,” which focused on the criminal activity of members of the Brown Magic Clica gang over the past five years.
The defendants named in the three federal indictments are Salvador Apodaca, 24, and Amando Torres, 27, of Pendleton, Oregon; Alfredo Castro, 35, Adam Gomez, 23, Adelaido Gomez, 26, Juan Jimenez, 27, and Ruben Nungaray, 30, all of Boise, Idaho; Oscar Garcia, 24, of Umatilla, Oregon; Juan Gonzalez, 26, and Mathew Grover, 22, of Cottonwood, Idaho; Crista Lara, 23, and Samson Torres, 23, of Ontario, Oregon; and Jessie Rodriguez, 26, of Nyssa, Oregon.
The charge of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to five years supervised release. The charge of murder in aid of racketeering is punishable by up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to five years supervised release. The charge of attempted murder in aid of racketeering is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release. The charge of assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release. The charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance carry a minimum of five years imprisonment, up to 40 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $2,000,000, and not less than four years supervised release. The charge of unlawful possession of a firearm carries up to ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release.
The defendants named in the state indictment are Hector Almarez, 30, Adelaido Gomez, 26, Luis Nungaray, 24, and Isaac Villareal, 25, all of Boise; Michael Carrasco, 28, Jose Jimenez, 27, Martin Navarro, 28, and Cesar Salinas, 28, of Nyssa; Ulises Cisneros, 25, of Meridian, Idaho; Paul Espinoza, 20, Nicholas Gomez, 19, Ricardo Martinez, 24, and David Perales, 20, of Ontario; Miguel Gallegos, 26, and Javier Gomez, 26, of Vale, Oregon; Juan Esteban Gonzalez, 24, of Nampa, Idaho; Jonathan Lopez Villa, 25, of Caldwell, Idaho; and Gonzalo Garcia-Torres, 26, address unknown.
The charge of conspiracy to recruit gang members carries a maximum punishment of up to ten years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $25,000.
“These indictments underscore the collaborative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutor’s offices to combat gang crime in Idaho,” said U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. “We will continue to use every available resource and to work together to take down the violent street gangs that damage our communities.”
The federal racketeer influenced corrupt organizations (RICO) law prohibits individuals from participating, or conspiring to participate, in the conduct of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. An enterprise is defined as any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity. Racketeering activity is defined as specified criminal acts, including murder, arson, distribution of controlled substances, and intimidation and retaliation against witnesses.
The Idaho gang recruitment law prohibits individuals from knowingly soliciting, inviting, encouraging or otherwise causing a person to actively participate in a criminal gang; or from knowingly using force, threats, violence or intimidation directed at any person, or by the infliction of bodily injury upon any person, to actively participate in a criminal gang.
“Gang recruitment is an insidious crime that weaves its tentacles through our schools, our parks, and our neighborhoods,” according to Bryan Taylor, Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney. “Gangs succeed by distorting the values of our culture and by perverting the meaning of ‘family,’ and that’s a fight that law enforcement can only win by standing together in partnership with each other, and with the community.”
Operation Black Magic included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, the Boise Police Department, the Caldwell Police Department, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, the Fruitland Police Department, the Idaho Department of Corrections, the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, the Meridian Police Department, the Nampa Police Department, the Nyssa Police Department, the Ontario (Oregon) Police Department, the Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The United States Marshal’s Service and the Oregon State Police provided assistance in arresting the defendants named in the indictments. The investigation is ongoing.
Operation Black Magic is being prosecuted federally by Assistants U.S. Attorney and the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The state defendants are being prosecuted by the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southeast Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth. For more information, visit treasurevalleypartners.org.
An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.