About the Center for Investigative Reporting

CIR is a nonprofit journalism organization that reveals injustice and abuse of power through the tools of journalism. We pursue this mission by injecting in-depth investigative reporting into the mainstream media, providing citizens with the information they need to hold the powerful accountable. Visit www.muckraker.org for more information.


Oriana Zill de Granados

Ms. Zill de Granados is an investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker with extensive experience reporting on Latino communities in the U.S. and Latin America. Since joining CIR, she has developed and acted as Senior Producer on investigative documentaries for Frontline/World, ABC News - Peter Jennings Reporting and CNN Presents. She produced “The Lawless Sea,” which tells the inside story of an oil disaster caused by a broken tanker off the coast of Spain. It aired on PBS Frontline/World in January 2004. Previously, Zill de Granados produced segments for the weekly PBS series, Now with Bill Moyers, about terrorists from the United States and abroad purchasing U.S. guns, the tobacco industry’s involvement in international cigarette smuggling, and the Israel/Palestinian war and the Israeli settlers of the West Bank. Zill de Granados was a producer and writer on the PBS Frontline series “Drug Wars,” which aired in October 2000 and received the national Peabody award and an Emmy award. She has produced segments for ABC News Nightline; for Science Times, a National Geographic Channel program; and for The Travel Channel, among others.

Julia Reynolds
Co-Producer and Reporter

Ms. Reynolds is a staff writer for The Monterey County Herald, where she has investigated and reported on the influence organized prison gangs have on rural communities in central California. Previously, she covered criminal and social justice for CIR, where she started this investigation into Latino gangs, resulting in stories for the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, MotherJones.com and the Mexico City daily La Jornada. Reynolds also reported for stories on the topic for NPR and an hour-long radio documentary produced by American RadioWorks. Her other recent investigations include reporting for The New York Times and the Frontline/World Web site, which won the 2002 Investigative Reporters and Editors online reporting award, and led to the arrest of one of only two arms dealers ever charged with violating a U.N. arms embargo. She also is the editorial director of ElAndar.com, an online journal of Latino politics and culture that has won more than 16 awards for journalism and photography. She won the 2000 New California Media Award for investigative reporting and the 1996 World Affairs Council award for international reporting, and was a grantee of the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

George Sanchez
Associate Reporter

George Sanchez is currently a crime and courts reporter at The Monterey County Herald, where he has covered state prison issues and the justice system’s handling of Nuestra Familia and other gang cases. Previously, he covered the courts for The Californian, in Salinas, California. He was a 2002 fellow with CIR, reporting for this project and contributing to stories for the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, La Jornada, and NPR. He has freelanced for publications including the bilingual San Francisco newspaper El Tecolote, SF Weekly, and East Bay Express. During an editorial fellowship at Mother Jones, Sanchez was awarded a minority scholarship by the Independent Press Association. Sanchez has written about immigrant day laborers, community activism, punk rock and its subculture, and has written scores of record reviews for Punk Planet.

David Ritsher

David Ritsher is currently the Production Coordinator/Editor for Frontline/World. He has extensive experience in documentary production and editing. He was editor of “Lawless Sea,” CIR’s documentary about the 2002 sinking of the oil tanker Prestige off the coast of Spain, which aired on Frontline/World in 2004. Recent documentaries include Lou Harrison: A World of Music, GunShots, a CIR co-production for KQED’s Bay Window, and numerous documents and segments for Frontline, Fronline/World, and NOVA, among others. Ritsher was Associate Producer, Production Manager and AVID Consultant for Hiroshima: Why the Bomb Was Dropped, a 1995 Peter Jennings Special Report for ABC News, which won the Peabody Award and Overseas Press Club Award for Outstanding Journalism.

Production Credits

Real Life Cast

Armando R. Frias, Former gang member
Deborah Aguilar, Salinas mother's group
Mark Lazzarini, Salinas Police Department
Norteño Gang Member (“GQ”)
Armando Tizok Frias ("Lil' Mando") Former NF associate
Epi Cortina, Former NF member
George Collord, Retired Santa Rosa Police officer, NF investigator
Willie Stokes-Ramirez, Fomer NF associate
Fidel De La Riva, Former NF general
Devan Hawkes, CDC gang specialist
Elsa Sandoval, Salinas mother's group
Nancy Novoa, Salinas mother's group
Daniel Ortega, Salinas Chief of Police
Julian Soto, Salinas youth
Jose Castañeda, Staff Salinas Barrios Unidos
Antonio Avalos, Exec. Dir., Salinas Barrios Unidos

Producer and Director
Oriana Zill de Granados

Co-producer and Reporter
Julia Reynolds

David Ritsher

Julia Reynolds
David Ritsher
Oriana Zill de Granados

Pepe Urquijo

Additional Reporting
Dan Noyes
George Sanchez

Associate Producer/Assistant Editor
Rob Harris
Niall McKay
Francine Miller
Jorge Partida
Alison Pierce

Director of Photography
Luis Granados

Additional Camera
Janjaap Dekker
Josiah Hooper
Sigurdur Matthiasson
Niall McKay
Francine Miller
Julia Reynolds
George Sanchez
Oriana Zill de Granados

Luis Granados
Rob Harris
Niall McKay
Jorge Partida

Reporting and Research
Daffodil Altan
Michael Chandler
Justin Kane
David Montero
Michael Montgomery
Mara Reynolds
Marlena Telvick

Music Thanks
Gabriel "Gypsy" Avalos/Salad Bowl Music
Marcos Cabrera/Baktun 12
Doom the OriGinal
José Cuellar/Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band
Luis Granados
Juan Caipo/Orixa
John Reynolds
David Rocha
Armando Sarabia
Jorge Zamorano

Thanks to
Michael Montgomery
American RadioWorks
The Monterey Herald
San Francisco Chronicle
Rachel Raney, KQED Public Televison
Monterey County Sheriff's Department
Salinas Police Department
California Department of Corrections
Steven Perez and Devan Hawkes,
Pelican Bay State Prison
Jared Lewis, Know Gangs
California Correctional Peace Officers Association

Production Managers
Erika Baker
Zusita Bakker
Innbo Shim
Maryann Sargent

Communications Director
Christa Scharfenberg

Executive Producer for KQED
Sue Ellen McCann

Executive Producer for LPB
Luca Bentivoglio

Executive Producer for CIR
Burt Glass