Orange County Mexican Mafia chief sentenced to 180 months

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Orange County Mexican Mafia chief Peter Ojeda has been sentenced to 180 months in jail for racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder and assault with serious bodily injury.

Nicknamed "Big Homie," Ojeda, 74, was convicted in January and could have faced life without parole, but the judge said he imposed the sentence for humanitarian reasons given Ojeda's age and health.

"I did so for humanitarian reasons... I do not wish to diminish the seriousness of the conduct here... there was violence inflicted," U.S. District Judge James V. Selna said.

Prosecutors had asked for a 10 year sentence for Ojeda's latest sentencing.

Authorities claimed Ojeda controlled Latino street gangs in the county for 30 years - even from behind bars in Pennsylvania after he pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges.

Prosecutors said Ojeda, acting for the powerful and violent Mexican Mafia prison gang, ordered the local gangs to pay taxes for permission to sell drugs and commit other crimes.

Prosecutors also charged Ojeda with plotting from behind bars to kill a rival.

Ojeda only had about one year left to serve on his federal racketeering sentence.
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