The Mexican Mafia, a hit list, a swallowed note: Lawyer charged in murder plot

A criminal defense attorney was charged in a federal indictment unsealed last week with conspiring to murder a member of the Mexican Mafia who had fallen out of favor with the prison-based syndicate.

Gabriel Zendejas Chavez was first indicted in 2018, accused of using the confidentiality afforded by his bar license to relay messages between Mexican Mafia members held in far-flung prisons. Witnesses have testified that he helped the organization traffic drugs, collect extortion proceeds and unmask government informants.

Read more:The high school teacher turned lawyer accused of being a fixer for the Mexican Mafia

Chavez, who taught English at high schools in Pomona while studying to become a lawyer at night, has maintained his innocence. At his trial in federal court in 2022, he testified that after he won a longtime Mexican Mafia member’s release from prison in 2013, other inmates sought his representation.

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