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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Prison hunger strike leader named in crackdown

KCRA 3A gang leader who helped organize a massive hunger strike in California state prisons has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in federal indictments aiming to disrupt the Mexican Mafia prison gang and a Mexican drug cartel.

The documents unsealed this week call Arturo Castellanos a Mexican Mafia member and the undisputed leader of the Florencia 13 criminal street gang in south Los Angeles County.

Castellanos is accused of running the gang from inside his high-security cell at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Castellanos and three other gang leaders in the isolation unit organized the hunger strike that at one point last month included more than 30,000 of the prison system's 133,000 inmates.

More than 340 inmates were still not eating to protest prison conditions as of Wednesday, and 200 inmates have been on strike continuously since July 8. Prison officials declined, as a matter of policy, to say if Castellanos is still observing the hunger strike.

The indictment supports prison officials' argument that the strike is really about gang leaders' power.

Castellanos is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole and has been housed in the notorious Security Housing Unit since 1990. continue reading...

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