A San Pedro-area gang member who oversaw the group’s daily operations, arranged sales of oxycodone and heroin, and reported to incarcerated Mexican Mafia members about the gang’s activities, was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison.

Robert “Stretch” Messersmith, 34, of San Pedro pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

The gang operates under the control of the Mexican Mafia and often engages in violence and intimidation to protect its territory, collecting “taxes” from drug transactions. The cash was funneled to three Mexican Mafia members who are currently serving lengthy sentences in state prisons for murder convictions.

From August 2017 to May 2018, Messersmith sold dozens of oxycodone pills, discussed and arranged the sale of heroin and methamphetamine, and planned the smuggling of heroin and other narcotics into a prison. During one recorded telephone conversation in May 2018, Messersmith discussed a recent successful narcotics transaction, stating, “That’s a touchdown like Peyton Manning.”

Messersmith is the lead defendant in a 26-count federal grand jury indictment returned in June 2019 that alleges various narcotics and firearms offenses were committed by 13 gang members and associates. The indictment’s remaining defendants are scheduled to go to trial on April 27 in Los Angeles federal court.

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