A federal judge sentenced a Mexican Mafia member to life in prison for arranging a methamphetamine deal from his prison cell.

U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz sentenced Jose Alberto "Bat" Marquez today. He was convicted on narcotics trafficking charges March 11. Marquez, who was also a member of San Diego's Del Sol street gang, was extradited from Mexico in January 2007 on other charges. In April of that year, Marquez orchestrated a methamphetamine deal from his jail cell that involved several Mexican Mafia associates.

During a four-day trial, witnesses testified that Marquez used a telephone at the jail to contact multiple Mexican Mafia associates and soldiers to obtain and sell methamphetamine. Those calls were recorded.

Witnesses also testified that despite the fact that Marquez was in custody, he was able to get people on the outside to follow his orders due to the Mexican Mafia's reputation for violent acts against those who disobeyed. Jurors heard phone calls from Marquez to associates who were out of custody, during which he orchestrated the methamphetamine transaction. They also watched undercover video of the transaction.

Marquez had been convicted of two prior drug trafficking felonies, which made him eligible for a mandatory life sentence. He was initially recruited as an enforcer for the Arellano-Felix drug cartel.

The case was the result of an investigation into the illegal activities of the Mexican Mafia prison gang by the San Diego Violent Crimes Task Force: Gang Group.


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