Thursday, September 28, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Mexican Mafioso Sent Away for 35 Years

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The lead defendant in a federal RICO prosecution of the Mexican Mafia prison gang was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison.

Rudy Espudo was sentenced for conspiracy, crimes of violence, racketeering and extortion, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Espudo, 41, of Escondido, directed and oversaw crimes by gang members "who worked under his so-called protection," in North San Diego County.

His turf included the wealthy communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos and Escondido.

"Espudo's power over the gangs subservient to the Mexican Mafia was pervasive and dramatic," the U.S. attorney said in the statement. "To utter his name invoked celebrity status - but to get on his bad side was to run the risk of ending up beaten and bloodied from a 'green light' - an assault order from a Mexican Mafia member on a person or a gang. Under a 'green light' every Sureño gang member (which includes most Hispanic gangs in Southern California) must violently attack the person or gang that has been 'green lighted.' If they fail to do so, they risk being 'green lighted' themselves."

Espudo was convicted in August 2012 of RICO conspiracy, conspiring to distribute meth and cocaine, and brandishing a gun during a crime of violence.

Fifty other people have been convicted or pleaded guilty to eight related indictments charging them with gun violence, extortion, drug crimes, robbery and money laundering.

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