Three Arizona maximum security inmates were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of devising separate assassination plots that targeted Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a rival jailmate.
Two members of the Mexican Mafia, Marks Cons, 33, and Rudolfo Santos, 37, were served with arrest warrants at the Fourth Avenue Jail where they are currently incarcerated.
A member of a documented street gang, Samuel Matta, 29, was served with an arrest warrant at the state prison in Florence, where he is currently housed.
All three inmates are charged with conspiracy to commit the murder of another jail inmate.
An inmate tipped off sheriff's detectives earlier this year that Matta was allegedly planning to publicly assassinate Arpaio using a high-powered rifle.
Matta believed that Arpaio was personally responsible for the deportation of some of his family to Mexico from their home in El Mirage, MCSO said. He was allegedly planning to carry out the assassination plot once he was released from jail, according to sheriff's detectives.
MCSO said Matta shelved his plan to kill Arpaio when he was unsuccessful in being released on a $1,800 bond.
The investigation into the alleged Arpaio murder plot then led to the discovery of yet another plan, MCSO said. Audio surveillance uncovered a conspiracy by Cons, Santos and Matta to kill another inmate - a rival gang member, sheriff's investigators said. The alleged murder plot was also foiled by sheriff's detectives.
The entire investigation unfolded in April of this year, a month that saw higher than usual levels of gang and racial tensions inside Fourth Avenue Jail, according to sheriff's investigators.
One incident in April involving dozens of black and Hispanic inmates prompted Arpaio to order a near two-week lockdown of the maximum security jail in downtown Phoenix.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
While you were sleeping, the Internet never stopped… Here's what's trending today. ‘Exasperated' boy reacts to mom's pregnancy "What were you thinking? This makes no sense… This is exasperating!" AMore >
While you were sleeping, the Internet never stopped… Here's what's trending today.More >
Monday, September 1 2014 8:39 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:39:57 GMT
Search for missing boater underway at Lake Pleasant
A massive search involving divers, underwater robots and cadaver dogs ended Monday afternoon after the presumed drowning victim they were looking for was found alive near a marina at Lake Pleasant.More >
The boater, Bradley Johnson, 31, told Maricopa County sheriff's deputies that he was drunk and disoriented when he swam to shore on Sunday night following some sort of fight aboard the vessel.More >
Friday, August 29 2014 2:48 AM EDT2014-08-29 06:48:23 GMT
The cheerleaders' uniforms at Northwest Rankin High School do not fit with the school's dress code. Administrators say they are too short. The Rankin County School District says Northwest Rankin'sMore >
The cheerleaders' uniforms at Northwest Rankin High School do not fit with the school's dress code. Administrators say they are too short.More >