Terry Goddard Announces Mexican Mafia Leader Gets 18 Years in Prison

(Phoenix, Ariz. – June 7, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced the sentencing of John Frederick Farinas, 39, of Phoenix to 18 years in prison for assisting a criminal street gang and possession of prison contraband. The State alleged at trial that Farinas was a lieutenant in the Mexican Mafia prison gang and had conspired to introduce prison contraband for the profit of gang members in the 4th Avenue Jail in Phoenix.

“This sentence ensures that another member of the Mexican Mafia will be off our streets,” Goddard said. “It shows our commitment to prosecuting organized crime. If you want to operate in Arizona, we will catch you, prosecute you and send you to prison for a long time.”  

In handing out the prison sentence, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers said that an aggravating consideration in his decision was that Farinas had recruited a former criminal defense attorney, Jason John Keller, to smuggle contraband into the jail.  Keller is currently serving a four-year prison term to be followed by seven years of probation for his role in the conspiracy.  Keller allegedly provided the smuggled items to inmates, some of whom are members of a violent criminal street gang, according to court documents.

Last October, Farinas was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and is awaiting sentencing.  He is also awaiting trial in two separate homicide cases from 2002.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Natalie Huddleston. The Phoenix Police Department’s Gang Squad conducted the investigation.

For additional information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at 602.542.8019.