Neil Derry left. James Ramos right.

By Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/01/2012 07:16:08 PM PST

Document: James Ramos Flier

San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry has launched an assault on the character of his major opponent, San Manuel tribal chairman James Ramos, in a campaign mailer tying Ramos to “gang members,” “drug dealers” and “killers for hire.”

The flier labeled Ramos a “Casino Boss” with ties to the Mexican Mafia. It was found plastered on hundreds of windshields outside Ramos’ campaign headquarters in Redlands on Tuesday night, where Ramos was hosting a campaign kickoff event at his headquarters, said Dave Gilliard, Ramos’ campaign manager.

In a statement Wednesday, Ramos
called Derry’s hit mailer a “false and pathetic attempt to smear me by my opponent and his campaign consultant.”

“I believe that voters want and deserve something better than these types of gutter politics,” Ramos said. He said he would run a positive campaign on real issues and the future of the county, and announced he had secured the endorsement of San Bernardino District Attorney Michael A. Ramos.

Derry stands by the flier. He said it was well sourced and the information is accurate.

“That’s what happened,” Derry said, referring to a case brought to the public’s attention in 2006, when police and DEA agents arrested dozens of people in a methamphetamine distribution ring orchestrated by the Mexican Mafia. Two San Manuel tribal members, siblings Stacy Barajas-Nunes and Erik Barajas, were implicated in a murder conspiracy plot involving members of the Mexican Mafia.

Information revealed in court documents and by former tribal employees showed that the San Manuel reservation had been infiltrated by the Mexican Mafia, whose members were believed to be extorting money from tribal members, who receive monthly stipends of roughly $100,000, generated from casino profits.

In an e-mail Tuesday, Derry’s campaign manager, Christopher Jones, said the Third Supervisorial District is a “conservative, law and order stronghold.”

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