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Local News

Fugitive Gang Member Arrested in Extortion Plot

Edgar Cordova

A suspected gang member wanted on a $1.7 million warrant stemming from an alleged extortion plot was arrested after he attempted to return to the U.S. from Mexico, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Edgar Cordova, 29, of Santa Barbara, who was being held in the San Diego County Jail, was extradited to Santa Barbara Wednesday, and will face charges of conspiracy to commit extortion for the benefit of a criminal street gang, said Sgt. Riley Harwood.

Cordova was was taken into custody on Sunday at a San Diego border crossing, Harwood said.

Cordova is suspected — along with four other men arrested earlier this month — of extorting money on behalf of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, Harwood said.

The arrests were the culmination of a 16-month investigation that began with the June 6, 2013, arrest of Raymond Macias for kidnapping, torture and solicitation of torture, Harwood said.

Macias, a member of the Santa Barbara-based Eastside Krazies, which authorities say is linked to the Mexican Mafia and the Sureño gang, faces a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole after being convicted of numerous charges.

Arrested Oct. 1 were Benjamin Ybarra, Jesse Martin Enriquez, Franco Eric Aguiniga, and Ruben Jose Regalado Jr.

"Investigation established that Cordova, along with the others, conspired to extort money from Santa Barbara County residents on behalf of the Mexican Mafia," Harwood said. "The victims were involved in both criminal and legitimate activities. This practice is colloquially referred to by gang members as 'collecting taxes.'"

Cordova was already a fugitive, having fled to Mexico after posting bail on three pending criminal cases in 2013, Harwood said.

The California Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation and the Policia Estatal Preventiva of Baja California, Mexico, assisted in efforts to locate Cordova in Mexico.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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