PHOENIX -- A prison inmate and his wife, who also is his attorney, have been indicted along with four others on more than 250 criminal counts, including money laundering and solicitation to commit murder, after a two-year investigation into prison gang activities, police said Friday.
"This investigation centered on one individual, who while incarcerated was in control of an illegal enterprise and conspired to murder those in rival gangs," said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.
Angel Lopez Garcia, 35, faces 159 counts. Authorities say he is the leader of a large prison gang and that since at least 2007, has directed drug sales, extortion, money laundering, and efforts to kill members of opposing gangs, all from behind bars.
Carmen Lynn Fischer Garcia, a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix since the 1980s, was arrested Friday along with four others accused in the conspiracy.
Investigators say she has defended several previous gang-related clients before becoming Garcia's attorney and that in 2011, he persuaded her to marry him to help further his criminal activities from outside prison using her resources and access to information.
According to the indictment, Carmen Garcia had been depositing thousands of dollars into Angel Garcia's prison accounts. She faces 47 counts, including money laundering, assisting a criminal street gang and hindering prosecution by destroying evidence.
It wasn't clear if any of the suspects had attorneys late Friday.
Angel Lopez Garcia is currently at Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman, serving time for gang and drug-related offenses.
The four other women arrested in the case include his mother, sister and ex-wife.
``We continue to take the fight directly to those criminal organizations breeding perpetual violence and drug-related criminal activity,'' Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles said in a statement.
The operation was a partnership with the Phoenix Police Department, the Pinal County attorney's office, the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Arizona Department of Corrections.
KTAR's Sandra Haros contributed to this report.
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