Indictment: Homicide victim sold drugs for O.C. gang

A homicide victim found in Newport Beach previously sold drugs for a gang tied to the Mexican Mafia, according to a federal grand jury indictment released Tuesday.

Nancy Hammour, whose body was found under the Newport Bay Bridge on Labor Day, sold methamphetamine for a gang that operated in Orange County between March 2011 and June 2012, according to the indictment.

Hammour, 28, of Santa Ana, was one of dozens of defendants swept up in a wide-ranging multiagency investigation targeting gangs operating in Orange County.

Federal and state authorities indicted 129 people after a 2 1/2-year investigation named Operation Smokin' Aces, the Orange County district attorney's office announced Tuesday.

The probe originally focused on gang crime in a southeast Santa Ana neighborhood but widened after investigators linked local operators to a chapter of the Mexican Mafia that controlled drug traffic on the streets and in Orange County prisons.

Hammour was allegedly involved in a crew that distributed meth and heroin.

In February, she sold meth to a police informant and was recorded calling a higher-level dealer to order more drugs, according to the indictment.

It also said law enforcement officials recorded two other phone calls during which she was heard ordering drugs from another defendant in the case.

Family members previously said Hammour was trying to turn her life around at the time of her death so that she could regain custody of her newborn son.

The man suspected of shooting Hammour to death was previously charged with gang-related crimes as far back as 1995. Charges for street terrorism were dropped against Jaime Rocha, 40, of Santa Ana, but he pleaded guilty to possession of meth, assault with a deadly weapon and more.

Rocha faces murder charges and is being held on $1-million bail. He is due back in court Friday.

— Emily Foxhall contributed to this report

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